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Righteous Turpitudes

Basil Davidson, 27 September 1990

British Intelligence in the Second World War. Vol. V: Strategic Deception 
by Michael Howard.
HMSO, 266 pp., £12.95, July 1990, 0 11 630954 7
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... which so far runs to four volumes by F.H. Hinsley and three collaborators, and now this volume by Michael Howard, the astonishing record is clear and long but also – strangely for a subject of such encrusted deviousness – entirely believable. With admirable skills of exposition and a truly awesome mastery of deception’s dodgy ambience and ...

Tearing up the Race Card

Paul Foot, 30 November 1995

The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker 
by Nigel Harris.
Tauris, 256 pp., £25, October 1995, 1 85043 956 7
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The Cambridge Survey of World Migration 
edited by Robin Cohen.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £75, November 1995, 0 521 44405 5
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... Minister to ‘play the race card’. The hawks on this subject are the two Michaels, Portillo and Howard, whose fathers were both immigrants, and Peter Lilley, whose holidays in his house in France enabled him to break into colloquial French in the course of a ludicrous comic turn about foreigners coming to this country to partake of the social services which ...

Tribute to Trevor-Roper

A.J.P. Taylor, 5 November 1981

History and Imagination: Essays in honour of H.R. Trevor-Roper 
edited by Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Pearl and Blair Worden.
Duckworth, 386 pp., £25, October 1981, 9780715615706
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... the answer is decisive: Chamberlain knew and persistently deceived the House of Commons. Finally Michael Howard on ‘Empire, Race and War in Pre-War Britain’. This shows alarmingly, but convincingly, that the Edwardians took much the same view of the British Empire as the Germans took of the Reich; that they had much the same views on Race, thinking ...


A.J.P. Taylor: What on earth should I talk about? , 4 March 1982

... formidable figures have recently announced their unshakable faith in nuclear armoury. Professor Michael Howard tells us in the columns of the Times that the peace of the world will be imperilled if we relinquish nuclear weapons. Field-Marshal Lord Carver, I hear, is writing a book preaching the same doctrine. These are authorities whom I much ...

Professional Misconduct

Stephen Sedley, 17 December 2015

... power of dismissal out of the hands of two political assemblies before the habit (inaugurated by Michael Howard as home secretary in the 1990s and energetically adopted by some of his Labour successors) of publicly attacking judges whose decisions upset the government moves towards a replication of the Donaldson episode – or, just as ...

Rules of the Game

Jon Elster, 22 December 1983

by Raymond Aron.
Julliard, 778 pp., frs 120, September 1983, 9782260003328
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Clausewitz: Philosopher of War 
by Raymond Aron, translated by Norman Stone and Christine Booker.
Routledge, 418 pp., £15.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9009 9
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by Michael Howard.
Oxford, 79 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 19 287608 2
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... from Clausewitz are not taken from what is now the standard English translation of On War, by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. I suspect that they have been translated from the French, but would hope that my fears are unfounded. In any case, the translation of the text is turgid, and full of mistakes. Where Aron comments on the view that ...

Short Cuts

Stephen Sedley: Equality Legislation, 7 February 2019

... a high hurdle. At the newly established Employment Appeal Tribunal, the government’s counsel, Michael Howard, later home secretary, argued that, had she been prepared to make the necessary sacrifices or arrangements, any woman in Price’s situation could have returned to the labour market in her twenties and thereby met the age requirement. It was ...


Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty, 11 December 1997

... were warm, gentle, determined people, unlikely parents of a man who had been convicted of shooting Michael Gregsten dead in a lay-by off the A6, raping his girlfriend Valerie Storie and then shooting her, leaving her for dead before driving off in the couple’s car. Among the guests at the wake were Jean Justice, who told me he was a (rather elderly) law ...

Do your homework

David Runciman: What’s Wrong with Theresa May, 16 March 2017

Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister 
by Rosa Prince.
Biteback, 402 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 78590 145 4
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... disastrous tenure as leader was brought to an end a year later, she was moved on by his successor, Michael Howard, who restored her to the ranks of heavy-lifters rather than heavy-hitters by making her shadow secretary of state for transport and the environment. In 2004 two members of the intake of 2001, Cameron and George Osborne, joined her in the ...


Geoffrey Best, 2 July 1981

British Military Policy between the Two World Wars 
by Brian Bond.
Oxford, 419 pp., £16, October 1980, 0 19 822464 8
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... in this part of his argument along the main line already famously laid down by Professor Michael Howard (The Continental Commitment, 1972) and followed by the official historian (Gibbs, 1976), Mr Bond fills in some of the gaps, remarking that although some generals did not want to accept such a commitment, most politicians were desperate to ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman, 5 March 2015

... main rival for the Tory Party leadership and the man long considered the favourite to succeed Michael Howard. Davis flopped. He spoke woodenly from behind a lectern without any of Cameron’s natural ease, looking and sounding like someone who would rather have been almost anywhere else. The final peroration fell so flat that Davis had to signal with ...

Like Unruly Children in a Citizenship Class

John Barrell: A hero for Howard, 21 April 2005

The Laughter of Triumph: William Hone and the Fight for a Free Press 
by Ben Wilson.
Faber, 455 pp., £16.99, April 2005, 0 571 22470 9
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... In a speech given early last month, Michael Howard shared his thoughts on education with the Welsh Conservative Party Conference in Cardiff. He was mainly concerned with the problem of discipline. ‘Guess which class children are most likely to misbehave in?’ The answer turned out to be Citizenship. And which subject would best teach children ‘respect for authority and the importance of discipline in school’? History ...

Why did it end so badly?

Ross McKibbin: Thatcher, 18 March 2004

Margaret Thatcher. Vol. II: The Iron Lady 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 913 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 224 06156 9
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... to reposition the party, and his two successors have been Thatcherites of the purest water. Michael Howard, of course, was not elected simply because he was a Thatcherite: he was elected because he is a bruiser who the party assumed could do more damage to the government than anyone else. In this sense, his election is purely cynical and ...

Thinking the unthinkable

John Naughton, 4 September 1980

... in the Times of 30 January 1980 from the Chichele Professor of the History of War at Oxford, Michael Howard. In his letter, Professor Howard criticised current government policy on civil defence, and argued that ‘Civil Defence on a scale sufficient to give protection to a substantial number of the population in ...

Who speaks for the state?

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Brexit in Court, 1 December 2016

... Since the early 1990s ministers have been more willing to criticise judges’ decisions: Michael Howard, David Blunkett and Theresa May are prominent examples. As home secretary, May falsely claimed that a judge had refused to deport someone on the grounds they were very attached to their cat. This increase has been matched by a decline in the ...

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