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Who Runs Britain?

Christopher Hitchens, 8 December 1994

The Enemy Within: MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair 
by Seumas Milne.
Verso, 352 pp., £18.95, November 1994, 0 86091 461 5
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... bare-faced Special Branch framing of two of my journalist colleagues (Crispin Aubrey and Duncan Campbell – two of the then-celebrated ABC defendants) and had written several editorials about torture in Ulster when Roy Mason was Callaghan’s minister for the Province and a Yorkshire area-sponsored NUM Member of ...

The Luck of the Tories

Ross McKibbin: The Debt to Kinnock, 7 March 2002

Kinnock: The Biography 
by Martin Westlake.
Little, Brown, 768 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 316 84871 9
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... book – the extent to which the modern Labour Party, New Labour, is Kinnock’s creation – Roy Hattersley wrote last year that ‘the Blair Project is not a continuation of Neil Kinnock’s reforms. Kinnock wanted to establish a new and improved form of socialism. Blair believes he has found an alternative’ (Tribune, 28 September). For ...

Short is sharp

John Sutherland, 3 February 1983

Firebird 2 
edited by T.J. Binding.
Penguin, 284 pp., £2.95, January 1983, 0 14 006337 4
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Bech is Back 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 195 pp., £6.95, January 1983, 0 233 97512 8
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The Pangs of Love 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 156 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 241 10942 6
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The Man Who Sold Prayers 
by Margaret Creal.
Dent, 198 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 9780460045926
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Happy as a Dead Cat 
by Jill Miller.
Women’s Press, 120 pp., £2.50, January 1983, 9780704338982
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... age-group (the first author is 22, the last 70 plus) and national category (the West Indian writer Roy Heath is represented), and gathers into the volume the famous and the published-here-for-the-first-time. Subtitled ‘Writing Today’, the anthology presumably aims to give the smell of what’s cooking. How well it succeeds is hard to say. But at least it ...
A Slight and Delicate Creature: The Memoirs of Margaret Cook 
Weidenfeld, 307 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 297 84293 5Show More
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... antipathy.’ Cook’s other antipathies are noted, against Bob Cryer, John Prescott and Roy Hattersley: ‘Try as I may, I cannot remember what the agony was all about.’ His failed ambitions are mulled over. After John Smith’s death he considered his options and decided he did not have enough support. ‘I did not believe, frankly, that he was ...

Insurrectionary Hopes

Matthew Kelly: Myths of 1916, 1 December 2005

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion 
by Charles Townshend.
Allen Lane, 442 pp., £20, September 2005, 0 7139 9690 0
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... by indecision when news of the Dublin outbreak came through. A recent monograph by Fergus Campbell convincingly shows that MacNeill’s order prevented a more formidable rising in the West of Ireland, which, Townshend argues, would have stretched the British forces severely.* But the actuality was a purportedly national insurrection that was ...

Coalition Monsters

Colin Kidd, 6 March 2014

In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government 
by Matthew D’Ancona.
Penguin, 414 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 670 91993 2
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... to participate on both sides of the debate. The cross-party Britain in Europe campaign was led by Roy Jenkins, then Labour home secretary, and supported by moderate consensus Tories such as Whitelaw and Maudling, the former Liberal leader Jo Grimond and middle-of-the-road Labour politicians like Cledwyn Hughes. On the other side of the argument were the ...

Easy-Going Procrastinators

Ferdinand Mount: Margot Asquith’s War, 8 January 2015

Margot Asquith’s Great War Diary 1914-16: The View from Downing Street 
edited by Michael Brock and Eleanor Brock, selected by Eleanor Brock.
Oxford, 566 pp., £30, June 2014, 978 0 19 822977 3
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Margot at War: Love And Betrayal In Downing Street, 1912-16 
by Anne de Courcy.
Weidenfeld, 376 pp., £20, November 2014, 978 0 297 86983 2
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The Darkest Days: The Truth Behind Britain’s Rush To War, 1914 
by Douglas Newton.
Verso, 386 pp., £20, July 2014, 978 1 78168 350 7
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... the military historians tend to underplay have to be taken into account. Asquith’s biographers, Roy Jenkins and Stephen Koss, both casually assert that Asquith ‘won’ three general elections. In our modern sense, he never won one. Campbell-Bannerman was the party leader at the Liberal landslide of 1906, and Asquith’s ...

The Breakaway

Perry Anderson: Goodbye Europe, 21 January 2021

... But although at least forty Conservative MPs were against joining the EEC, 69 Labour MPs led by Roy Jenkins were in favour. There was thus never any real risk of the government being defeated on the issue. When the decisive third reading of the European Communities Bill came in July 1972, it passed by 301 to 284 votes. Britain had finally made it into ...

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