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The Crumbling of Camelot

Peter Riddell, 10 October 1991

Kennedy v. Khrushchev: The Crisis Years 1960-63 
by Michael Beschloss.
Faber, 816 pp., £18.50, August 1991, 0 571 16548 6
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A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy 
by Thomas Reeves.
Bloomsbury, 510 pp., £19.99, August 1991, 0 7475 1029 6
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... In his memoirs Roy Jenkins describes John Kennedy as the best President of the USA in the past four decades. It is a curious, not to say unfashionable verdict. The demolishers of the Kennedy legend have been carrying all before them in the past few years. So battered is the Kennedy reputation that it is almost time for a new school of revisionist historians to rehabilitate the myth of Camelot on the Potomac ...

What can be done

Leo Pliatzky, 2 August 1984

Government and the Governed 
by Douglas Wass.
Routledge, 120 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 7102 0312 8
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... every year. BBC Television has, each year, a single Dimbleby Lecture. It was one of these which Roy Jenkins used to put forward the ideas which led to the creation of the Social Democratic Party and the SDP-Liberal Alliance. One cannot imagine his lecture being spread over six broadcasts. The effect of doing so would have been to reduce, not ...
The Dons 
by Noël Annan.
HarperCollins, 357 pp., £17.99, November 1999, 0 00 257074 2
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A Man of Contradictions: A Life of A.L.Rowse 
by Richard Ollard.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 7139 9353 7
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... Director of Covent Garden and so on; ‘a fine exemplar of the civilisation he portrays’, as Roy Jenkins wrote in a review of author and book together. What made Our Age so arresting was its combination of self-promotion and self-flagellation, and Annan’s wistful reflections on the failures, as well as the successes, of his own generation. Put ...


Ben Pimlott: Anthony Crosland, 3 September 1998

Crosland’s Future: Opportunity and Outcome 
by David Reisman.
Macmillan, 237 pp., £47.50, October 1997, 0 333 65963 5
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... school, Highgate, and thence to Oxford, where he began a lifelong friendship and rivalry with Roy Jenkins, a steadier if equally ambitious intellectual, but one who always conceded Crosland’s superior brain. The Second World War interrupted and leavened his student politics, active service providing its own kind of filter. Afterwards, he returned ...

Real Things

Barbara Wootton, 5 April 1984

McNee’s Law: The Memoirs of Sir David McNee 
by David McNee.
Collins, 256 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 00 217007 8
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Police and People in London. Vol. I: A Survey of Londoners 
by David Smith.
Policy Studies Institute, 386 pp., £7.40, November 1983, 0 85374 223 5
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Police and People in London. Vol. II: A Group of Young Black People 
by Stephen Small.
Policy Studies Institute, 192 pp., £4.60, November 1983, 0 85374 224 3
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Police and People in London. Vol. III: A Survey of Police Officers 
by David Smith.
Policy Studies Institute, 216 pp., £6.20, November 1983, 0 85374 225 1
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Police and People in London. Vol. IV: The Police in Action 
by David Smith and Jeremy Gray.
Policy Studies Institute, 368 pp., £7.40, November 1983, 9780853742265
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... Constable of this now greatly enlarged Strathclyde force. Within a few days of this appointment, Roy Jenkins, the then Home Secretary, accompanied by the Home Office Permanent Secretary, descended upon Strathclyde. McNee immediately spotted that they had not come for ‘any ordinary piece of police business’. Their real purpose was to form an opinion ...

Poor Stephen

James Fox, 23 July 1987

An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward 
by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy.
Cape, 268 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 224 02347 0
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Honeytrap: The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward 
by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79122 2
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... letter to the Times, Lords Hailsham, Drogheda, Carrington, Goodman and Weinstock, and Messrs Roy Jenkins and James Prior, said they felt it was a good time, in view of the new publicity about the Ward case, to place on record their sense of admiration for the dignity and courage displayed by Mr and Mrs John Profumo and their family in the ...

The Illiberal Hour

Mark Bonham-Carter, 7 March 1985

Black and White Britain: The Third Survey 
by Colin Brown.
PSI/Heinemann, 331 pp., £22.50, September 1984, 0 435 83124 0
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... by Nicholas Deakin in Colour and Citizenship as ‘the liberal hour’. The then Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, accepted the demand made by the Board, but, very reasonably, requested evidence that discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or national or ethnic origin was prevalent in the areas of employment, housing or the provision of public ...

Labour’s Beachmaster

Peter Clarke: Jenkins, Healey, Crosland, 23 January 2003

Denis Healey: A Life in Our Times 
by Edward Pearce.
Little, Brown, 634 pp., £28, June 2002, 0 316 85894 3
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Friends and Rivals: Crosland, Jenkins and Healey 
by Giles Radice.
Little, Brown, 376 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 316 85547 2
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... The sudden death of Roy Jenkins took us all by surprise. He was over eighty, of course, and with a heart problem that had required major surgery. This latterly gave him a good excuse to sit down at receptions: all the better to conduct vigorous conversational campaigns while maintaining eye-contact, not least, at suitable intervals, with the wine waiter ...


W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... I don’t think scrapes signify to a government in their first year.’ 8 February. At lunch with Roy Jenkins, I take the opportunity to ask what he would feel if I were to publish his telling me his surprise (and mild disapproval) at hearing Derry Irvine address the Prime Minister to his face as ‘young Blair’ at a Chequers weekend. ...

Europe or America?

Ian Gilmour, 7 November 2019

... the White House. Heath is the nearest thing This Blessed Plot has to a politician hero; apart from Roy Jenkins, the other heroes are the usually unsung civil servants: Lee, O’Neill, Robinson, Butler, Palliser etc, who shepherded us into the Community with a skill and persistence which almost made up for the visionless complacency of their predecessors ...

You’re only interested in Hitler, not me

Susan Pedersen: Shirley Williams, 19 December 2013

Shirley Williams: The Biography 
by Mark Peel.
Biteback, 461 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 1 84954 604 1
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... that she let her new party down and damaged her own career by not fighting Warrington – which Roy Jenkins narrowly lost and Williams could certainly have won – in a by-election in spring 1981, when the SDP was riding high, and she had to be persuaded to fight Crosby a few months later. But once she agreed, she was remarkable: stumping door to ...


Robert Morley, 7 July 1983

Downing Street in Perspective 
by Marcia Falkender.
Weidenfeld, 280 pp., £10.95, May 1983, 0 297 78107 3
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... warfare of Fleet Street than to the battle-lines of politics. In her view, demobilisation loomed. Roy Jenkins is capable of generous and spontaneous gestures: he once gave Harold a gramophone record of Asquith making a political speech. To give a present like that, she notes, is true generosity. She quotes a colleague as saying ‘that the only thing ...


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

... to North London. Capital punishment had been abolished the previous year. The Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, had decreed that convicted murderers, whose bodies had by ancient barbarian law been consigned to quicklime in the prison yard, could be buried in consecrated ground. ‘There may be trouble there,’ the news editor beamed. ‘This chap Alphon ...


Dick Taverne, 21 February 1980

by Jo Grimond.
Heinemann, 316 pp., £7.95, October 1980, 0 434 30600 2
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... must face is their attitude to any social democrats who ‘break out’ from the Labour Party. If Roy Jenkins means what he said in his Dimbleby Lecture, and if his lead for a radical centre is followed by even a handful of Labour MPs, will the Liberals spurn an electoral pact? Grimond himself has few kind words for the social democrats today. But when ...


Simon Hoggart, 24 April 1997

Michael Heseltine: A Biography 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 496 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 241 13691 1
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... hadn’t been insulted for their intellectual shortcomings. One (possibly apocryphal) story about Roy Jenkins illustrates the point. He’d been persuaded by a Welsh colleague to hobnob with some of the lads. ‘Buy ’em a drink, Roy. They’ll always remember your kindness and they’ll be flattered you sought them ...

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