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Falklands Retrospect

Hugo Young, 17 August 1989

The Little Platoon: Diplomacy and the Falklands Dispute 
by Michael Charlton.
Blackwell, 230 pp., £14.95, June 1989, 0 631 16564 9
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... and depicted by one of them as the man who might have solved the problem. Within months of David Owen taking over on Crosland’s early death, yet another solution – cession of sovereignty followed by leaseback – is being trotted round Whitehall. The ‘Hong Kong solution’, as this was termed in the late Seventies, sounds a less winning ...

Believing in the Alliance

Keith Kyle, 19 November 1981

... We have defied the laws of arithmetic,’ declared a buoyant David Steel after he had heard the result of the Croydon, North-West by-election, ‘One plus one really does equal three.’ It is now apparent that the public opinion polls were consistently correct in showing that, while support for the Liberal Party as such remained of a traditionally modest order and support for the Social Democrats alone was a similar or even smaller percentage, backing for the two-party alliance as a third force in British politics was a wholly different matter, and promised the chance of a complete breakthrough under the existing electoral system ...

Up the avenue

Peter Clarke, 11 June 1992

Election Rides 
by Edward Pearce.
Faber, 198 pp., £5.99, April 1992, 0 571 16657 1
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... when, with its own poll showing a 6 per cent Labour lead, it leads the front page instead with David Owen’s long-expected endorsement of the Tories. Ha, ha. He quips: ‘And indeed David Owen may have found a last role as hired mute at a Conservative funeral.’ But whose was the last laugh? Pearce still ...

Fame

Ian Hamilton, 2 July 1981

Charles Charming’s Challenges on the Pathway to the Throne 
by Clive James.
Cape, 103 pp., £4.95, June 1981, 0 224 01954 6
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... are on Royals. The others include Barbra Streisand, Bianca Jagger, F.R. Leavis, Lord Lambton, David Owen and other famous ...

Umpteens

Christopher Ricks, 22 November 1990

Bloomsbury Dictionary of Dedications 
edited by Adrian Room.
Bloomsbury, 354 pp., £17.99, September 1990, 0 7475 0521 7
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Unauthorised Versions: Poems and their Parodies 
edited by Kenneth Baker.
Faber, 446 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 0 571 14122 6
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The Faber Book of Vernacular Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 407 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 571 14470 5
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... a prophylactic distance. The SDP/Liberal Alliance is judged to have ‘foundered on the pique of David Steel and the pride of David Owen’: it is not clear why a note to this effect had to be appended to this other parody of Woddis’s, for the parody itself implies as much. Or as little, since there are those of us ...

Hobsbawm Today

Ross McKibbin, 22 June 1989

Politics for a Rational Left: Political Writings, 1977-88 
by Eric Hobsbawm.
Verso, 250 pp., £29.95, May 1989, 0 86091 246 9
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... become increasingly significant in Hobsbawm’s argument. He has no particular affection for David Owen or the old SDP, nor does he think that the educated classes are likely to be much attracted by socialism, but he clearly believes that the educated classes are an essential element in an anti-Thatcher majority. He makes the point that the ...

Gangs

D.A.N. Jones, 8 January 1987

The Old School: A Study 
by Simon Raven.
Hamish Hamilton, 139 pp., £12, September 1986, 0 241 11929 4
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The Best Years of their Lives: The National Service Experience 1945-63 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 7181 2459 6
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Murder without Conviction: Inside the World of the Krays 
by John Dickson.
Sidgwick, 164 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780283994074
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Inside ‘Private Eye’ 
by Peter McKay.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 947795 80 4
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Malice in Wonderland: Robert Maxwell v. ‘Private Eye’ 
by Robert Maxwell, John Jackson, Peter Donnelly and Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 191 pp., £10.95, December 1986, 0 356 14616 2
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... prints interviews with them, as if they were as respectable as the Shah of Iran. Dickson mentions David Bailey, who published a handsome photograph of the Twins, with an eloquent caption by Francis Wyndham, comparing them with Humphrey Bogart. It was the little public-school gang of Private Eye that broke through the hype: larger journals seemed awed by the ...

Keeping Left

Edmund Dell, 2 October 1980

The Castle Diaries 
by Barbara Castle.
Weidenfeld, 778 pp., £14.95, September 1980, 0 297 77420 4
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... of her civil servants, and of a political spectrum of Junior Ministers from Michael Meacher to David Owen. It now appears that she was often less loyal to them in her thoughts. But we must leave God to try her for these. It was by her actions that she led them, and from out in front. She lived in the shadow of ‘In Place of Strife’, which looms ...

The Importance of Being Ernie

Ferdinand Mount, 5 November 2020

Ernest Bevin: Labour’s Churchill 
by Andrew Adonis.
Biteback, 352 pp., £20, July, 978 1 78590 598 8
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... turned it into an unrivalled instrument of British policy and won their lasting adoration (which David Owen sourly put down to ‘inverted snobbery’). As minister of labour between 1940 and 1945, Bevin achieved with remarkably little agony the greatest mobilisation and demobilisation in British history. Churchill deserves every credit for seeing that ...

Corbyn’s Progress

Tariq Ali, 3 March 2016

... candidate from the minuscule parliamentary left. This strategy had worked before: last time round David Miliband nominated Diane Abbott as a candidate. In 2015 they hoped a left candidate would take away support from Andy Burnham, who was what passed for leftish, leaving the door open for Liz Kendall or Yvette Cooper. Enter Jeremy Corbyn stage left. He may ...

Nigels against the World

Ferdinand Mount: The EU Referendum, 19 May 2016

... Eurosceptic ministers and former ministers, such as Iain Duncan Smith, Nigel Lawson and David Owen. Then there’s Grassroots Out, which was supposed to bring the other two lots together. But the prospectus on offer has been muddied because the spokesmen within each organisation have had different ideas. Johnson in particular changes his ideas ...

Who will stop them?

Owen Hatherley: The Neo-Elite, 23 October 2014

The Establishment and How They Get Away with It 
by Owen Jones.
Allen Lane, 335 pp., £16.99, September 2014, 978 1 84614 719 7
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... Part​ of what makes Owen Jones such a phenomenally successful figure by left-of-Labour standards is his ability to be several things at once. He is both insider, reporting back to ‘us’ about what ‘they’ think, and outsider, as shocked and angry about it as ‘we’ might be. He was brought up in Sheffield, Falkirk and Stockport and speaks in a sharp Mancunian accent, but he is also an Oxford graduate, with all the connections that can entail ...

Socialism without Socialism

Peter Jenkins, 20 March 1986

Socialist Register 1985/86: Social Democracy and After 
edited by Ralph Miliband, John Saville, Marcel Liebman and Leo Panitch.
Merlin, 489 pp., £15, February 1986, 9780850363395
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... form of a polemic against the idea of social democracy. The target is not the social democracy of David Owen and the SDP, an explicitly non-socialist politics of the left, but social democracy used in its proper historical sense to encompass all the non-revolutionary and non-Communist socialist parties of the industrial world, or what in the classical ...

Hattersley’s Specifics

Michael Stewart, 19 March 1987

Choose freedom: The Future for Democratic Socialism 
by Roy Hattersley.
Joseph, 265 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 7181 2483 9
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Power, Competition and the State. Vol. I: Britain in Search of Balance, 1940-61 
by Keith Middlemas.
Methuen, 404 pp., £25, October 1986, 0 333 41412 8
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... what Mr Hattersley thinks they ought to think), and in spite of a few ritual swipes at the SDP and David Owen, there is nothing in the book to preclude the idea of a Labour-Alliance coalition after the next election. But there is, in fact, one troublesome matter. Mr Hattersley denounces with passion and eloquence the appalling way that – despite the ...

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