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W.G. Runciman: Dining Out

4 June 1998
... than later? 15 July 1997. To St Paul’s for the memorial service for Lord Chief Justice Peter Taylor. The first and best address is given by Humphrey Potts, a lifelong friend of Peter’s from their time together at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle and now himself Hon. Mr Justice Potts of the Queen’s Bench Division. It’s not long after Derry ...


Seamus Perry: Southey’s Genius for Repression

26 January 2006
Robert Southey: Poetical Works 1793-1810 
edited by Lynda Pratt, Tim Fulford and Daniel Sanjiv Roberts.
Pickering & Chatto, 2624 pp., £450, May 2004, 1 85196 731 1
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... On 15 June 1794, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, prodigious, garrulous and chubby, his brilliant undergraduate career in tatters, set out from Cambridge in the company of a steady companion called Hucks, picturesquely intent on a walking tour of North Wales. Their route took them through Oxford, where they looked up one of Coleridge’s old schoolmates, who took the visitors to see a notorious democrat at Balliol called Robert Southey ...

A Terrible Thing, Thank God

Adam Phillips: Dylan Thomas

4 March 2004
Dylan Thomas: A New Life 
by Andrew Lycett.
Weidenfeld, 434 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 297 60793 6
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... poetry – the ‘innumerable exercise books of poems’ that Thomas referred to in a letter to Geoffrey Grigson in 1933 – came from is no clearer. He began writing seriously around the age of 16, and there were, it seems, ten books of which four survived. The biography tells us nothing substantive about what made for the poems, or what we might make of ...
9 March 1995
... in running newly privatised services, such as the prison escort service for the East Midlands. Sir Geoffrey Howe’s departure from government in November 1990 was followed on 8 January 1991 by appointment to a nonexecutive directorship at BICC, the international cable and construction group, for which it was reported that he was to receive an annual salary of ...

Conspire Slowly, Act Quickly

David Runciman: Thatcher Undone

2 January 2020
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. III: Herself Alone 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 1072 pp., £35, October 2019, 978 0 241 32474 5
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... her predated Major’s rise. Its origins lay in her troubled relationship with Nigel Lawson and Geoffrey Howe, the two most important members of her government. It turned, as did so much about her fall, on the question of Europe. Both Howe, who was foreign secretary (until Major replaced him), and Lawson, who was chancellor (until Major replaced him a few ...

What was it that drove him?

David Runciman: Gordon Brown

4 January 2018
My Life, Our Times 
by Gordon Brown.
Bodley Head, 512 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 1 84792 497 1
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... career, and he often succeeded. His closest colleagues from his time at the Treasury, including Geoffrey Robinson, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband, remained remarkably loyal. But there was​ , inevitably, a downside. The higher he rose, the more political these friendships became. Being part of Gordon’s band was not a costless enterprise – it deeply alienated ...

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