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What sort of traitors?

Neal Ascherson, 7 February 1980

The Climate of Treason 
by Andrew Boyle.
Hutchinson, 504 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 9780091393403
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... of reconciliation with his friends. Newspapers are ‘they’ and we, after all, are ‘we’. As Andrew Boyle relates, it turned out that a great many old acquaintances of Burgess and Maclean were much more horrified – felt, indeed, much more betrayed – by the fact that the late Goronwy Rees gave a version of their flight to the People than by the flight ...

Dear Mohamed

Paul Foot, 20 February 1997

Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... by the Tory Whips office, in particular by two young MPs, David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts and Andrew Mitchell, whose father, David Mitchell, is also a Tory MP, and once chose Neil Hamilton to be his Parliamentary Private Secretary. The Guardian had told a bit of the story. Parliament had uncovered none of it. And that might have been an end to ...

In Pyjamas

R.W. Johnson: Bill Deedes’s Decency, 17 November 2005

Dear Bill: A Memoir 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 451 pp., £14.99, July 2005, 9781405052665
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... rise to an executive level where they only boss around those who write – and particularly about Andrew Knight, the former Economist editor brought in as chief executive of the Telegraph by Conrad Black. Part of the deal was that Hastings should replace Deedes as editor, a changing of the guard that led Thatcher to throw a party for him at Number Ten. Knight ...

Who’s the real cunt?

Andrew O’Hagan: Dacre’s Paper, 1 June 2017

Mail Men: The Unauthorised Story of the ‘Daily Mail’, the Paper that Divided and Conquered Britain 
by Adrian Addison.
Atlantic, 407 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 78239 970 4
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... High Street Kensington – he lives on carpets. The Mail’s biggest human story, the murder of Stephen Lawrence, turned out to be one of the very rare instances in which the editor showed fellow-feeling. It wasn’t difficult: the father of the murdered boy was a plasterer who had worked at Dacre’s house. But there was more to it than that: Dacre hates ...

Making Money

Andrew Cockburn: The Chalabis, 1 December 2011

Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family 
by Tamara Chalabi.
Harper, 352 pp., £12.99, July 2011, 978 0 06 124039 3
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From Dictatorship to Democracy: An Insider’s Account of the Iraqi Opposition to Saddam 
by Hamid al-Bayati.
Pennsylvania, 347 pp., £23, February 2011, 978 0 8122 4288 1
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... rapidly once he entered into close partnership with the British shippers and grain dealers Andrew Weir & Co. Another son, Muhammad Ali, prospered as the chief executive of the government-owned Rafidain bank. The Chalabis were now comfortably established at the top of Baghdadi commerce and society. The city was undergoing a renaissance after centuries ...

At Tottenham Court Road

Andrew O’Hagan, 24 September 2015

... has risen by 30 per cent since 2000. ‘It is plain that lights have an important role to play,’ Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC, told the Evening Standard in 2011. ‘But with ever more congested streets they need to be very finely tuned to ensure they are not doing more harm than good – and that means they must react to changing traffic ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels, 23 August 2001

... the perennial murmur swelling to a growl – is currently in crisis (again). Earlier this year, Andrew Marr certified it dead. (He was announcing the shortlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction at the time. His verdict may prove to be no less premature than Johnson’s pronouncement on Sterne: ‘Nothing odd will do long. Tristram Shandy did not ...

Lenin Shot at Finland Station

Slavoj Žižek: Counterfactuality and the conservative historian, 18 August 2005

What Might Have Been: Imaginary History from 12 Leading Historians 
edited by Andrew Roberts.
Phoenix, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2005, 0 7538 1873 6
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... Marxists, who allegedly believe in historical determinism. Take this latest instalment, edited by Andrew Roberts, who has himself contributed an essay on the bright prospects that would have faced Russia in the 20th century had Lenin been shot on arriving at the Finland Station. One of Roberts’s arguments in favour of this kind of history is that ...

Diary

Sean French: Fortress Wapping, 6 March 1986

... and, in retrospect, boring and pointless: all that matters is that the management and our editor, Andrew Neil, told us nothing of their true intentions. By contrast, the crisis itself was simple. Rupert Murdoch demanded a level of compulsory redundancies of his Sogat 82 and NGA employees that he knew they would not accept. The two unions took the bait and on ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... combat zones – ‘and turned into an area known to us as “India”,’ says Lance Sergeant Stephen Phipps. ‘We then made our way through the al-Mukatil al-Araby district. I’m not sure if we drove to Green 5 – the streets were getting quieter.’ The patrol was about forty kilometres from Camp Abu Naji and the vehicles trundled along a dimly lit ...

Rites of Passage

Anthony Quinn, 27 June 1991

The Elephant 
by Richard Rayner.
Cape, 276 pp., £13.99, May 1991, 0 224 03005 1
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The Misfortunes of Nigel 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Peter Owen, 176 pp., £12.95, June 1991, 0 7206 0830 9
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Famous for the creatures 
by Andrew Motion.
Viking, 248 pp., £14.99, June 1991, 0 670 82286 8
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Double Lives 
by Stephen Wall.
Bloomsbury, 154 pp., £13.99, June 1991, 0 7475 0910 7
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... a reception evidently forgotten by Viking, who call it ‘acclaimed’ on the dust-wrapper. Andrew Motion was perhaps compromised in that novel by the uncommon difficulties of hooking our attention while leaving us unsatisfied: he had to whet our appetite for the long haul. This second book should have given him an opportunity to write at a more ...

Ever so comfy

James Wood, 24 March 1994

Collected Poems 1953-1993 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 241 00167 6
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Dante’s Drum-Kit 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 145 pp., £6.99, November 1993, 0 571 17055 2
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Old Men and Comets 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 64 pp., £6.99, November 1994, 0 19 283176 3
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Plato’s Ladder 
by Stephen Romer.
Oxford, 79 pp., £6.99, November 1992, 0 19 282986 6
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The Country at My Shoulder 
by Moniza Alvi.
Oxford, 56 pp., £6.99, September 1993, 0 19 283125 9
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British Subjects 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, July 1993, 1 85224 248 5
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Night Photograph 
by Lavinia Greenlaw.
Faber, 54 pp., £5.99, October 1993, 0 571 16894 9
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Nil Nil 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 53 pp., £5.99, April 1993, 0 571 16808 6
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Out of Danger 
by James Fenton.
Penguin, 103 pp., £7.50, December 1993, 0 14 058719 5
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... In general, the closer he is to epigram the funnier and neater. But Enright is always likeable. Stephen Romer’s self-presentation is not. Certainly, one comes away from Plato’s Ladder with a powerful sense of the Platonic Form of The Poet. The Poet dedicates poems to friends, has other artist friends, like a painter called Caroline (‘You are my ...

Flat-Nose, Stocky and Beautugly

James Davidson: Greek Names, 23 September 2010

A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Vol. V.A Coastal Asia Minor: Pontos to Ionia 
edited by T. Corsten.
Oxford, 496 pp., £125, March 2010, 978 0 19 956743 0
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... peaked in the 1880s and 1890s. Orthography became important: Geoffrey or Jeffrey, Ann or Anne, Stephen or Steven. Girls’ names were especially given to whim and proliferation. In the 1930s, my mother was christened Doreen because a Russian acquaintance of my grandfather said that was the name of the nicest girl he had ever known. This nice Doreen seems ...

SH @ same time

Andrew Cockburn: Rumsfeld, 31 March 2011

Known and Unknown: A Memoir 
by Donald Rumsfeld.
Sentinel, 815 pp., £25, February 2011, 978 1 59523 067 6
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... their way to the crash site, but there are more interesting lapses. According to the note his aide Stephen Cambone made of the conversation, at 2.40 p.m., still in the command centre, Rumsfeld told General Richard Myers, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to find the ‘best info fast … judge whether good enough [to] hit SH @ same time – not only ...

Turning on Turtles

Stephen Sedley: Fundamental values, 15 November 2001

Fundamental Values 
edited by Kim Economides et al.
Hart, 359 pp., £40, December 2000, 1 84113 118 0
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... even if it costs their client the case; or that justice and not law should have the last word? Andrew Tettenborn’s essay addresses the last of these in pithy and discomfiting terms, inspecting the impasse into which the law has been backed by the expanding range of claims for damages for negligence, each increment predicated on the previous one, and ...

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