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Crimewatch UK

John Upton: The Tabloids, the Judges and the Mob, 21 September 2000

... should serve, but recommended that they be kept in prison for ‘a very long time’. In 1985, Leon Brittan, then Home Secretary, decided, in the course of an administrative review, that a 30-year sentence was appropriate for Hindley’s part in the murders. She wasn’t told this. In 1987, she confessed to her involvement in the killing of two more ...


Thomas Jones: Alan Hollinghurst, 6 May 2004

The Line of Beauty 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Picador, 501 pp., £16.99, April 2004, 9780330483209
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... home secretary the ambitious Tories at Toby’s party were so eager to ingratiate themselves with: Leon Brittan was shuffled to the DTI in 1985, and resigned from the government the following year over the Westland affair.) Nick is having a secret affair with Wani: it’s secret inasmuch as the people they know don’t know, including Wani’s ...


R.W. Johnson, 2 December 1993

The Downing Street Years 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 914 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 255049 0
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... positions to catch flak intended for Thatcher herself. If they got wounded in the operation – as Leon Brittan did over Westland – they would be discarded with a cutting remark about their being clumsy or accident-prone. The important thing at every point was that Mrs Thatcher herself should never be seen to have been wrong about anything. Indeed, she ...

He huffs and he puffs

John Upton: David Blunkett, the Lifers and the Judges, 19 June 2003

... the continuity between the policies of the grotesque Home Secretaries of the Thatcher years – Brittan, Waddington, Howard et al – and those of the nominally left-wing incumbent. As a crime, murder is rarely examined with dispassion, and it will come as no surprise to discover that it involves complexities, ignored by the Home Secretary and the tabloid ...

Fear in Those Blue Eyes

David Runciman: Thatcher in Her Bubble, 3 December 2015

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. II: Everything She Wants 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 821 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 7139 9288 5
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... felt it touched on his personal authority as defence secretary. His main rival in this matter was Leon Brittan, newly arrived as secretary of state at the Department of Trade and Industry after his demotion from the Home Office. Brittan was feeling bruised; Heseltine was restless and looking for new worlds to ...

Soul to Soul

Ian Buruma, 19 February 1987

The Myth of Japanese Uniqueness 
by Peter Dale.
Croom Helm, 233 pp., £25, September 1987, 0 7099 0899 7
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... or Mrs Thatcher’s jingoistic talk about Victorian values. (These values can be shared by, say, Leon Brittan, even though his ancestors were hardly of ‘pure’ English stock.) The difference is precisely one of unquestioned and institutionalised racism: if Nakasone believes what he preaches, and there is no reason to assume that he does not, he is in ...


David Cannadine, 27 July 1989

The Social Politics of Anglo-Jewry 1880-1920 
by Eugene Black.
Blackwell, 428 pp., £35, February 1989, 9780631164913
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The Persistence of Prejudice: Anti-Semitism in British Society during the Second World War 
by Tony Kushner.
Manchester, 257 pp., £29.95, March 1989, 0 7190 2896 5
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The Club: The Jews of Modern Britain 
by Stephen Brook.
Constable, 464 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 09 467340 3
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... The Marconi Scandal, the resignation of Hore Belisha from the War Office, and the attacks on Leon Brittan at the time of the Westland affair, to say nothing of the Fascist and National Front disturbances in the East End, suggest that there was and is more political anti-semitism in Britain than most of us would like to think. The Jew as scapegoat is ...

One nation, two states

Richard J. Evans, 21 December 1989

... and order. Reunification in any case would be unlikely to take the form recently suggested by Sir Leon Brittan – that is, a simple extension of West German institutions to the East. Given their apparent commitment to some form of socialism, the citizens of the GDR would probably want to retain a substantial degree of autonomy. Even if the first stages ...

Big Fish

Frank Kermode, 9 September 1993

Tell Them I’m on my Way 
by Arnold Goodman.
Chapmans, 464 pp., £20, August 1993, 1 85592 636 9
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Not an Englishman: Conversations with Lord Goodman 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 237 pp., £17.99, August 1993, 1 85619 365 9
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... target. Selbourne, in one of his interviews, reminded Goodman of Denning’s description of Leon Brittan as a ‘German Jew’ interfering with ‘English law’. ‘Lord Denning,’ G. replied, ‘is an unfortunate example of a man who built up a reputation on sand.’ ‘That could be actionable,’ said I. ‘I do not care if it ...

That Man Griffith

John Griffith, 25 October 1990

Lord Denning: A Biography 
by Edmund Heward.
Weidenfeld, 243 pp., £15, September 1990, 9780297811381
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... interview, with the suggestion that the Guildford Four might be guilty and the description of Leon Brittan as ‘a German Jew telling us what to do with our English law’. In 1955 Lord Chancellor Kilmuir said that judges should be kept insulated from the controversies of the day: ‘So long as the judge keeps silent, his reputation for wisdom and ...

Send the most stupid

Anand Menon: In defence of the European Commission, 9 December 1999

... that a Frenchman should hold the competition policy portfolio in the new Prodi Commission. (And Leon Brittan needed no instructions from London to act as a champion of the free market.) Nationalist tendencies among Commissioners are encouraged by their political advisers (cabinet), most of whom tend to come from the home country and may even have ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian Hamilton: Watch your mouth!, 14 December 2000

Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... much to his up-struggling co-members. One by one, we find them written off: ‘Loathsome, oily Leon Brittan’, ‘the odious Heseltine’, ‘that prick John Patten . . . so ambitious that he squeaks when he walks’, ‘that lazy, greasy slob John Hunt’, ‘that toad John Major . . . who has always loathed me’ and so on. Only the blessed ...

Pound Foolish

Kit McMahon, 9 May 1996

Politics and the Pound: The Conservatives’ Struggle with Sterling 
by Philip Stephens.
Macmillan, 364 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 333 63296 6
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... the Foreign Secretary (Howe), the Home Secretary (Whitelaw), the Trade and Industry Secretary (Leon Brittan), the Party Chairman (Tebbit), the Chief Whip (Wakeham) and the Leader of the House of Commons (Biffen). All except Biffen supported Lawson, but Thatcher refused to give way. Stephens says this was the only occasion in her prime ministership ...

Is this successful management?

R.W. Johnson, 20 April 1989

One of Us: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 570 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 333 34439 1
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... only in Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinet – including, at its peak, Joseph, Lawson, Young, Rifkind and Brittan – but among those on whom Mrs Thatcher leant for private advice: Joseph, Lawson, Alfred Sherman and the Saatchi brothers. Able young Jewish MPs (and there are now quite a few on the Tory benches) were natural recruits to the Thatcherite cause, not only ...

During Her Majesty’s Pleasure

Ronan Bennett, 20 February 1997

... of Borstal training. The flexible and rehabilitative approach came under pressure after the speech Leon Brittan made to the Conservative Party Conference in 1983, when he was Home Secretary. In Brittan’s view too many prisoners were getting out too early; and as a result of his reforms, administrative procedures were ...

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