R.I.P. Janet


The Squires are sad to report the death of our esteemed colleague Janet Girsman who, after a long fight against cancer, died at the Princess Alice Hospice in Esher last week.

From her obituary:

Janet Girsman was a freelance journalist, providing stories and leads for national newspapers including The Times, the Mail, the Guardian and Country Squire Magazine. She worked until a few months before her death.

She was born at Queen Charlotte’s hospital in West London in 1947.

Janet began her career on She Magazine then on the Shoe and Leather News. She also ran her own PR company with accounts which included Startrite Shoes. She worked as a political journalist at the Today newspaper for several years, based in the press lobby of the Houses of Parliament, before going onto work as a Researcher for both Conservative and Labour MP’s – the latter for the Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld until his death in 2008.

Her publicity and marketing skills found Janet working with several well-known figures in entertainment such as Tony Newley, Hughie Green, and the Icelandic musicians, Gardar Cortes and Robert Sund.

Janet is survived by her daughter Elizabeth (Liz) Saul – a BBC broadcast journalist – and dozens of cousins in the UK and worldwide.

Janet will be much missed by the CSM team. Her daily calls to the Editor were replete with useful data. Up until the very end she was on the phone having a pop at Tom Watson and delivering her traditional “I hear through the grapevine” anecdotes, which almost always turned out to be true. A few days before she died she woke for a brief moment to be told Dominic Raab was on television giving the daily briefing and she summoned the energy to blow a raspberry at the TV screen.

A shrewd political commentator, Janet lived Westminster and was a larger than life personality with an ability to talk nonstop for hours, making it almost impossible to get her off the phone. She was well-travelled – having worked in New York and Reykjavik – experienced and knowledgeable. She stood in 1987 for the Conservatives in the Labour seat of Glasgow Govan, winning a creditable eleven percent. She was a formidable Tory – happy to man phone banks even for lost causes and always keen as mustard to offer her opinions on party strategy even if that meant tailing Boris Johnson through the mud and rain at a constituency fête.

Janet was a generous soul, often showing up at CSM HQ with opera tickets or invites to political dinners. She was also a very brave lady, happy to pin down Jeremy Corbyn with tough questions from the front of a crowd full of Corbynite zombies and often – as a proud Jew – facing down Labour anti-Semites and recording their reactions on her phone. Investigating a council back in 2018, fearless Janet told one bullyboy corrupt official that she knew he was guilty and when he denied all knowledge of any misdemeanours she relished telling him that he had been stupid enough to detail a bribe in one of the clauses of his written contracts.  

Our world has lost a fighter – an illuminator of truth – and we are the poorer for it. We have learnt a lot from Janet. Rest in peace, dear friend. Our deepest sympathies to Liz and family.