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Keynesian International

David Marquand, 5 July 1984

Controlling the Economic Future: Policy Dilemmas in a Shrinking World 
by Michael Stewart.
Harvester, 192 pp., £18.95, November 1983, 0 7108 0182 3
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In Defence of the Mixed Economy 
by Andrew Shonfield, edited by Zuzanna Shonfield.
Oxford, 231 pp., £15, February 1984, 0 19 215359 5
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The Welfare State in Crisis: Social Thought and Social Change 
by Ramesh Mishra.
Harvester, 208 pp., £15.95, December 1983, 0 7108 0240 4
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... of the past. And so, for a time, it proved. But, as we have now discovered, only for a time. For Ramsay MacDonald and Philip Snowden in 1931, read Callaghan, Carter and Mitterrand in our own day. National economic sovereignty is once again an illusion. The huge, unprecedented growth in world trade which was one of the main engines of the long boom of the ...


David Cannadine, 21 March 1985

Elgar, the Man 
by Michael De-la-Noy.
Allen Lane/Viking, 340 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 7139 1532 3
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Edward Elgar: A Creative Life 
by Jerrold Northrop Moore.
Oxford, 841 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 315447 1
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Spirit of England: Edward Elgar in his World 
by Jerrold Northrop Moore.
Heinemann, 175 pp., £10.95, February 1984, 0 434 47541 6
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The Elgar-Atkins Friendship 
by E. Wulstan Atkins.
David and Charles, 510 pp., £15, April 1984, 0 7153 8583 6
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... potency. In London, Elgar shuffled from club to club, but he resigned from the Athenaeum when Ramsay MacDonald was elected; and in the country he shuffled from house to house, accompanied by his devoted dogs and dogged devotees. He recorded his works for the gramophone, but at the concert halls the public stayed away in droves. They wanted Façade, not ...

Queen Croesus

David Cannadine, 13 February 1992

Royal Fortune: Tax, Money and the Monarchy 
by Phillip Hall.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7475 1133 0
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... at the private papers of many of the figures most closely involved, such as Lloyd George and Ramsay MacDonald, and by combing the available official documents, Hall has managed to put together the first serious financial history of the monarchy in the modern period. Inevitably, there are parts of his account which are sketchy and speculative, his broader ...

Drinking and Spewing

Sally Mapstone: The Variousness of Robert Fergusson, 25 September 2003

‘Heaven-Taught Fergusson’: Robert Burns’s Favourite Scottish Poet 
edited by Robert Crawford.
Tuckwell, 240 pp., £14.99, August 2002, 1 86232 201 5
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... this editorial attitude had hardened: Kinghorn and Law’s 1974 edition of the poems of Allan Ramsay and Fergusson included only two of Fergusson’s English poems (and none of Ramsay’s); James Robertson’s Selected Poems, published in 2000, and the most accessible edition of Fergusson’s poetry in print, contains ...

Little England

Patrick Wright: The view through a bus window, 7 September 2006

Great British Bus Journeys: Travels through Unfamous Places 
by David McKie.
Atlantic, 359 pp., £16.99, March 2006, 1 84354 132 7
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... tradition of Tory thinking about public transport. It was in the same genre as the rumour – even David McKie has been unable to turn up a precise source – that Margaret Thatcher once remarked that anyone who rode a bus after reaching the age of 26 was a failure. It also reminded me of a story Ken Livingstone liked to recite when he was leader of the ...


W.G. Runciman: On Trade-Unionism, 5 May 1988

... Government. All this may be familiar and even obvious. But it is not seen as quite so obvious by David Marquand, whose newly-published The Unprincipled Society* tells the history of 20th-century Britain in terms of the rise and fall of a ‘Keynesian’ consensus in which, for a few short, happy years, the unions collaborated with everybody else in seeking ...
Dance till the stars come down 
by Frances Spalding.
Hodder, 271 pp., £25, May 1991, 0 340 48555 8
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Keith Vaughan 
by Malcolm Yorke.
Constable, 288 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 09 469780 9
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... make of his sailors, like the one who leans on a table spread with good things in Elizabeth David’s Book of Mediterranean Food. The housewives doubtless thought they were nice lads; in life and art the physical types which attracted Minton were butch. The boys in Hockney’s Cavafy illustrations would not have stepped so easily or so politely onto Mrs ...


Ian Aitken: Party Fairy-Tales, 22 March 1990

... of the Victorian Liberal Party, many of whose members were much nearer to Mrs Thatcher than to David Lloyd George. But it is the Labour Party, and specifically its left wing, which suffers most severely from myths about a golden past now lost in the mists of time. Even quite well-read Labour politicians are prone to the belief that This Great Movement of ...
The Struggle for Civil Liberties: Political Freedom and the Rule of Law in Britain 1914-1945 
by K.D. Ewing and C.A. Gearty.
Oxford, 451 pp., £50, February 2000, 0 19 825665 5
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... reproof. Governments and police were virtually unfettered. As early as 1926, the Labour leader Ramsay MacDonald complained about what he saw as ‘this extraordinary drift’ towards ‘a police state’. Traditionally educated lawyers will no doubt smile at this, but Ewing and Gearty don’t. In Northern Ireland, under a bigoted Ascendancy of which ...

It was worse in 1931

Colin Kidd: Clement Attlee, 17 November 2016

Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee 
by John Bew.
Riverrun, 668 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 1 78087 989 5
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... made sport with the superficial similarity. The British Lenin might all too easily have become the David Cameron of his generation, blessed with born-to-the-purple public school assumptions and a casual, unimaginative indifference to the everyday struggles of the masses. Not that there was ever any ‘swank’ about Attlee, but at Oxford between 1901 and 1904 ...

Coalition Phobia

Brian Harrison, 4 June 1987

Labour People, Leaders and Lieutenants: Hardie to Kinnock 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Oxford, 370 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 19 822929 1
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J. Ramsay MacDonald 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 276 pp., £19.50, June 1987, 0 7190 2168 5
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Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical 
by Patricia Romero.
Yale, 334 pp., £17.50, March 1987, 0 300 03691 4
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Sylvia and Christabel Pankhurst 
by Barbara Castle.
Penguin, 159 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008761 3
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... progress from workhouse to Westminster. This brings us to Austen Morgan’s new biography of Ramsay MacDonald, more sympathetic to its subject than a biography written ‘out of an intellectual commitment to Marxism’ leads one to expect. While disclaiming originality, Austen Morgan makes a real effort to understand MacDonald, and is only occasionally ...

Dunbar’s Disappearance

Sally Mapstone: William Dunbar, 24 May 2001

The Poems of William Dunbar 
edited by Priscilla Bawcutt.
Association for Scottish Literary Studies, £70, May 1999, 0 948877 38 3
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... known as ‘The Thrissill and the Rois’, a title devised, in anglicised form, by Allan Ramsay in 1724; subsequent editors have Scotticised it). The poem deals with the marriage of James IV and Margaret Tudor in 1503, and makes careful use of national heraldic symbols. It is framed, however, as a dream vision in which the narrator, addressed as ...

Cowboy Coups

Phillip Knightley, 10 October 1991

Smear! Wilson and the Secret State 
by Stephen Dorrill and Robin Ramsay.
Fourth Estate, 502 pp., £20, August 1991, 9781872180687
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... and MI5 they will remain a threat to any Labour government and thus a threat to democracy. As David Cornwell – the spy writer John le Carré, who was in the security forces himself – said in the Independent earlier this year, if a Labour government were to win the next election, ‘the secret services would be cuddling up with the Conservative Party ...

Modest House in the Judengasse

C.H. Sisson, 5 July 1984

Random Variables 
by Lord Rothschild.
Collins, 238 pp., £12.50, May 1984, 0 00 217334 4
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... about the lepidoptera. The second is an anecdote about Professor Stanley Gardiner and Inspector David of the Cambridge Police. The third records a moment in 1944 when Rothschild just happened to be the senior British officer in Paris and had a delicate passage with the Préfet and our ambassador Duff Cooper about the latter’s relations with Madame Louise ...

Happy Bunnies

John Pemble: Cousin Marriage, 25 February 2010

Incest and Influence: The Private Life of Bourgeois England 
by Adam Kuper.
Harvard, 296 pp., £20.95, November 2009, 978 0 674 03589 8
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... Kuper zooms in for a closer look, he selects areas already well investigated. If you’ve read David Newsome, Annan himself, Michael Holroyd and Hermione Lee on the Wilberforces, Leslie Stephen, Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf, you’re likely to know what’s coming before you’ve turned the page – and there’s a limit to the appeal even of Clapham ...

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