Chris Patten was a cradle Catholic (hence the title), became one of the most prominent Tory 'Wets' of the 1980s and 1990s, and went on to hold a series of prominent public offices - Chairman of the Conservative Party, the last Governor of Hong Kong, European Commissioner for External Affairs, Chancellor of Oxford University, Chairman of the BBC, advisor to the Pope - as he self-deprecatingly puts it 'a Grand Poo-bah, the Lord High Everything Else'. He writes with wry humour about his time in all these offices, taking us behind the scenes and showing us unexpected sides of many of the great figures of the day. In exploring his own identity he also examines the dangers of identity politics, which he encountered in several of his jobs, from Northern Ireland to Asia and the Middle East. No politician now writing is so purely enjoyable as Chris Patten.
Chris Patten is currently Chancellor of Oxford University. As a British MP (1979-92) he served as Minister for Overseas Development, Secretary of State for the Environment and Chairman of the Conservative Party, being described afterwards as 'the best Tory Prime Minister we never had' (Observer). He is well known for being the last Governor of Hong Kong (1992-7), about which he wrote in East and West (1998). Both that and his most recent book, Not Quite the Diplomat: Home Truths about World Affairs (2005), were No. 1 international bestsellers. In 2008 he wrote What Next? Surviving the Twenty-First Century. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1998 and a life peer in 2005.