Peter Clarke

Peter Clarke is an emeritus professor of modern British history at Cambridge, where he was master of Trinity Hall. His books include a Life of Stafford Cripps, several studies of Keynesianism and A Question of Leadership: From Gladstone to Blair.

John Enoch Powell was an eminent classical scholar, as his entry in Who’s Who proclaimed: Craven Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1931; First Chancellor’s Classical Medallist; Porson Prizeman; Browne Medallist, 1932; fellow of Trinity, 1934-38; professor of Greek at the University of Sydney, 1937-39. He was 25 when he was appointed to the chair at Sydney. There was a classicist called...

The two most influential economists of the 20th century must surely be Keynes and Schumpeter. Influential, at any rate, in the English-speaking world, where Keynes fine-tuned his rhetoric with a good ear for what would carry with his different audiences (though he sometimes lapsed in appearing to patronise Americans, from President Roosevelt down). It was, too, primarily among anglophones...

At any rate, he had a happy death. Just over 80, in good health if a little deaf, well known and well liked, dignified and distinguished, he had addressed the House of Lords on Thursday 21 October 1993, choosing to intervene in a debate on a favourite topic: employee share ownership. His argument was double-edged or at least ambivalent. He did not object to the effect of 14 years of...

Knights’ Moves: The Treasury View

Peter Clarke, 17 March 2005

The Institute of Economic Affairs is approaching its 50th birthday, and has much to celebrate. It was founded in the heyday of the so-called Keynesian consensus that dominated British political economy for about thirty years after World War Two. The mission of the IEA was to challenge that consensus through an intellectual assault on its foundations and to proselytise instead for free-market...

It’s an odd job with an odd title. When the G7 meet there is only one chancellor of the exchequer in the room – other countries make do somehow with a finance minister or a secretary of the treasury – so a nod towards history is plainly needed by way of explanation. It seems that the present definition of the office was established through a process long characterised by...

Gosh, how civilised it was. ‘At last, without convulsion, without tremor and without agony, the great ship goes down.’ The ‘great ship’ was the British Empire; the words...

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Non-Party Man: Stafford Cripps

Ross McKibbin, 19 September 2002

Stafford Cripps is perhaps the only major figure of 20th-century British politics to have had no full biography – one based on the whole range of scholarly sources. His political...

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How We Got to Where We Are

Peter Ghosh, 28 November 1996

In 1987, David Cannadine concluded an essay on what he saw as the dark and doubtful state of British history with a call to ‘fashion a new version of the national past which can regain its...

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What difference did she make?

Eric Hobsbawm, 23 May 1991

The ‘question of leadership’ which is the subject of both these books is the question of how much difference leadership in politics can make. Contrary to what is held by believers in...

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Extravagance

Ross McKibbin, 2 February 1989

A few years ago the present director-general of NEDO, Mr Walter Eltis, told me that in due course Keynes would simply be a footnote in the history of economic theory. If so, it will be a...

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