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Mandelson’s Pleasure Dome

Iain Sinclair, 2 October 1997

... Newsletter of the Millennium Experience), a kind of ersatz theatre programme, features Sir Cameron Mackintosh on one cover and the reservoir dogs of the Labour front bench on the other. Uniform dark grey suits (no pinstripes), blue plastic helmets, heavy-duty wellies and – apart from John Prescott – full zip millennial grins. Showcased by a ...
... about the SNP’s fitness to ‘lead’ Scotland, I’ve been called a Stilton-eating, Cameron-loving surrender-monkey often enough to wonder if this is the reasoned debate I’d hoped for. I do believe that Scotland (like any supposed democracy) should be independent of the following: a) the whims of American billionaires with grandiose plans for ...

Cityscrape

Kathleen Burk, 9 July 1992

The Barlow Clowes Affair 
by Lawrence Lever.
Macmillan, 278 pp., £17.50, February 1992, 0 333 51377 0
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For whom the bell tolls: The Lesson of Lloyd’s of London 
by Jonathan Mantle.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 358 pp., £18, June 1992, 1 85619 152 4
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The City of London: Continuity and Change, 1850-1990 
by Ranald Michie.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £30, January 1992, 0 333 55025 0
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... of the Government trying to wriggle out of any responsibility is especially interesting. (Norman Tebbit cuts an unedifying figure in both this and the Lloyd’s book.) The Barlow Clowes investors cleverly organised themselves into a political lobby, keeping up the pressure on their constituency MPs, who then kept up the pressure on the Government, as ...

Even Uglier

Terry Eagleton: Music Hall, 20 December 2012

My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall 
by John Major.
Harper, 363 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 00 745013 8
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... could imitate his true identity as a bluff, plain-speaking Yorkshireman to perfection. David Cameron once worked for a public relations agency and looks as though he was assembled by one. From Reagan to Schwarzenegger, the line between politics and performance has become increasingly blurred: during the US presidential debates, a soi-disant scientist ...

Diary

Chris Mullin: A report from Westminster, 25 June 2009

... No one talking about anything else. The Speaker gave a right bollocking to Kate Hoey and Norman Baker for allegedly colluding with our oppressors in the media. A good five minutes’ worth. I’ve never seen him so worked up. Actually, it was way over the top. Gave the impression he is rattled, which I imagine he is.  Then to a jam-packed meeting ...

What are they after?

William Davies: How Could the Tories?, 8 March 2018

... thinking drove Thatcher through the vicious recession of the early 1980s. It was encapsulated by Norman Tebbit in his conference speech in 1981, often misquoted: ‘I grew up in the 1930s with an unemployed father. He didn’t riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking till he found it.’ That would imply that economic hardship should ...

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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... put this together. And now she was going to be gone.’ Some of Bush’s generals were blunter. Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander of the US forces, accosted his British counterpart, General de la Billière: ‘Hey Peter, what sort of country have you got there when they sack the prime minister halfway through a war?’It was not a coup, not even a very ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007, 3 January 2008

... of American Bases. Before I agreed (and in an effort to get out of going, I suspect) I consulted Norman Dombey who (as readers of the LRB know) is well versed in nuclear politics. Not that Menwith Hill – RAF Menwith Hill, as it is euphemistically called, though it’s almost wholly American – is (yet) a nuclear base, only a satellite warning and ...

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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... campaign, when her increasing crankiness drove those around her to the brink of despair. (‘Norman, listen to me, we’re about to lose this fucking election, you’re going to go, I’m going to go, the whole thing is going to go,’ David Young, the secretary of state for employment, memorably told the then party chairman, ...

Vuvuzelas Unite

Andy Beckett: The Trade Union Bill, 21 October 2015

Trade Union Bill (HC Bill 58) 
Stationery Office, 32 pp., July 2015Show More
Trade Union Membership 2014: Statistical Bulletin 
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, 56 pp., June 2015Show More
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... had eaten into union membership and self-confidence. In late 1981 she made her move, appointing Norman Tebbit as employment secretary. Tebbit believed, as many Conservatives always have, that unions should be subservient organisations: ‘Their prime role,’ he lectured Len Murray, the general secretary of the TUC, in 1983, ‘should be to help improve the ...

Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity

James Meek, 18 February 2016

... This budget helps hardworking people keep more of the money they have earned. His boss, David Cameron, criticising Labour in Parliament last month: They met with a bunch of migrants in Calais, they said they could all come to Britain. The only people they never stand up for are the British people and hardworking taxpayers. The former Conservative prime ...

Why are you still here?

James Meek: Who owns Grimsby?, 22 April 2015

... now be seen as a rather New Labour move. He took the Murdoch shilling, signing up as the leftie to Norman Tebbit’s Tory on Sky’s 1990s Crossfire knockoff, Target.Mitchell’s successor will almost certainly be one of two women, Labour’s Melanie Onn, or Ukip’s Victoria Ayling. The polls have Onn edging it, but it looks close. Though Mitchell is stepping ...

Warmer, Warmer

John Lanchester: Global Warming, Global Hot Air, 22 March 2007

The Revenge of Gaia 
by James Lovelock.
Allen Lane, 222 pp., £8.99, February 2007, 978 0 14 102597 1
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Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis Summary for Policymakers: Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
IPCC, February 2007Show More
Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning 
by George Monbiot.
Allen Lane, 277 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 0 7139 9923 3
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The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies 
by Richard Heinberg.
Clairview, 320 pp., £12.99, October 2005, 1 905570 00 7
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The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review 
by Nicholas Stern.
Cambridge, 692 pp., £29.99, January 2007, 978 0 521 70080 1
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... more in favour of conservation, and environmentalism in general was a cause of the right. David Cameron is clearly trying to remake this connection in the UK, in the belief that this is the main issue where he can clearly and definitively distinguish himself from New Labour. The option isn’t available to the Republicans, since they abandoned science in ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London, 19 June 2008

... quite relieved to be getting out unscathed.’ Gill has another nice capture: Lord Coe and David Cameron, flaccid ties matching the blue of the coming fence, dark suits, hands in pockets, cardinals of capital strolling through the ruins of a captured city. It was in that moment I realised the game was up for Gordon Brown: he doesn’t stroll, he doesn’t do ...

NHS SOS

James Meek, 5 April 2018

... Labour and the Conservatives have encouraged; and the inept restructuring carried out under David Cameron in the early 2010s, sometimes called the Lansley reforms after their patron, the erstwhile Conservative health secretary Andrew Lansley. The Lansley reforms left seven local organisations responsible for healthcare in Leicestershire. Five are part of the ...

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