Phillip Whitehead

Phillip Whitehead is the Labour MP for Derby North.

Images of Violence

Phillip Whitehead, 17 September 1981

As the sullen summer of ’81 ends, we know that we shall remember it for images of violence: a soldier writhing aflame on the streets of Belfast, rioters on British streets using petrol bombs, and two images of the British bobby – bruised and frightened men cowering in a blinded phalanx under riot shields, and the kicked-in doors and sore heads of Railton Road. It has all been glimpsed through the looking-glass world of television, which many have been tempted to enter. The debate about ‘copycat’ riots has been joined: it follows long and anguished argument about the extent to which violent or aberrant behaviour seen on the box replicates itself among the viewers.

Born Again

Phillip Whitehead, 19 February 1981

When a young man who has thrust himself to the centre of the political stage writes a book on politics, he will suffer the condescension of his seniors, the condemnation of his critics, and the faint sniggers of academics offstage. David Owen has had his prescription for Britain patronised by Grimond and Powell, dissected by Ken Coates, and treated like a first-year undergraduate’s essay by Professor Peter Townsend. With his publishers bringing its publication forward to catch the crisis, the book might look like a hastily-written manifesto for the alliance of born-again social democrats and ancient political re-treads among whom he may be doomed to reside. He deserves better, and so does the book. It is written by a socialist, and for socialists.

Labour Pains

Phillip Whitehead, 8 November 1979

Great parties are born and not made, and they endure for a long time. The Labour Party came into existence less than eighty years ago. With the tumult of Brighton scarcely over, it may seem unfair to ask if it is still, and can continue to be, a mass party. A party, that is, which has a large and enthusiastic membership of individuals, agreed on the road they are taking even if they differ about the speed of the journey; a party with an accepted forum for debating, refining and presenting policy, enabling it to look outward both to the domestic electorate and to fellow socialist parties abroad. Such a party would have devoted its annual conference not to a struggle for internal control, but to the move ahead, asking not only why so little was achieved by the 1974-9 government, but also why it was in a minority almost from the beginning.


Paul Addison, 23 January 1986

Some decades coincide with historical periods, give or take a year or two. The Twenties were self-contained as the era between the Great War and the world slump, and the Thirties a loaded pause...

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