“You must go and study under Hennessy,” said Ben Pimlott on the day I graduated from his Masters course in politics and public administration at Birkbeck. “You’ve a lot in common – he’s a journalist, likes tweed jackets, loves the Queen, and he’s conservative in the best sense.” Not long after I ran into Peter Hennessy outside Parliament and, having never met him before, went up to him and introduced myself. I started but did not complete a PhD under his supervision, but the friendship has blossomed – for which enduring thanks to Ben are due.