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Diary

Paul Laity: Henry Woodd Nevinson, 3 February 2000

... It was a remarkable time at the Slade – his other classmates included Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, David Bomberg and William Roberts – and a revolutionary moment in British art. Even to express support for Roger Fry’s Post-Impressionist exhibitions was daring and radical. Nevinson, having seen a contemporary art show in Venice, knew he was ‘bored with ...

Darling Clem

Paul Addison, 17 April 1986

Clement Attlee 
by Trevor Burridge.
Cape, 401 pp., £20, January 1986, 0 224 02318 7
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The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton 1940-1945 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape in association with the London School of Economics, 913 pp., £40, February 1986, 9780224020657
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Loyalists and Loners 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 315 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 00 217583 5
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... thoroughly effective leader of his party and an outstanding prime minister. Having reacted against Ramsay Mac-Donald, the argument runs, Labour stood in need of a personality who would put party above self, and Attlee fitted the bill. Yet in his quiet fashion he was skilful in managing the Party and holding it together. Hence Labour’s victory in the General ...

When Men Started Doing It

Steven Shapin: At the Grill Station, 17 August 2006

Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Butcher in Tuscany 
by Bill Buford.
Cape, 318 pp., £17.99, July 2006, 9780224071840
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... cook. Not just how to cook a mushroom risotto like Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson or Gordon Ramsay or Anthony Bourdain, but what it’s like to be Jamie or Nigella or Gordon or Tony: Happy Days with the Naked Chef, How to be a Domestic Goddess, In the Heat of the Kitchen, Kitchen Confidential. And then – as if we need to know still more – there are ...

No more pretty face

Philip Horne, 8 March 1990

Emotion Pictures: Reflections on the Cinema 
by Wim Wenders, translated by Sean Whiteside and Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 148 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 0 571 15271 6
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Scorsese on Scorsese 
by Martin Scorsese, edited by David Thompson and Ian Christie.
Faber, 178 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 9780571141036
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... bookshop, to see how thoroughly and interestingly the French cover the field. One new series, Ramsay Poche Cinéma, already has about seventy strong titles, including many judiciously chosen reprints. Perhaps Faber or Cambridge will pick up Bogdanovich’s Fritz Lang in America or Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Dreyer in Double Reflection, Rossellini’s ...

The Politics of Good Intentions

David Runciman: Blair’s Masochism, 8 May 2003

... chose to go to Berne to attend a convention of European socialists, whose delegates included Ramsay MacDonald and Arthur Henderson, and which produced nothing. The convention was designed as a continuation of the regular prewar gatherings of the Socialist International, at which various factions had squabbled and bickered before declaring their ...

#lowerthanvermin

Owen Hatherley: Nye Bevan, 7 May 2015

Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan 
by Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds.
I.B. Tauris, 316 pp., £25, October 2014, 978 1 78076 209 8
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... first-class people to semi-starvation.’ He had in mind the treatment of people like his father, David, who, as Bevan put it, was ‘choked to death’ by pneumoconiosis (a lung condition caused by long-term inhalation of coal dust) but received no compensation since the condition wasn’t classified as an industrial disease under the Workmen’s ...

A Time for War

Peter Clarke, 21 October 1982

The Rebirth of Britain 
edited by Wayland Kennet.
Weidenfeld, 275 pp., £12, October 1982, 0 297 78177 4
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Claret and Chips 
by Hugh Stephenson.
Joseph, 201 pp., £8.95, September 1982, 0 7181 2204 6
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... examining the origins of the Labour Party, entwined with the achievements of Keir Hardie and Ramsay McDonald, and appraising the fate of the New Liberalism, as it unfolded in the era of Asquith and Lloyd George, had served to open their minds to the historic frailty as well as the inherent strength of Labour’s position. In looking at the displacement ...

Living with Monsters

Ferdinand Mount: PMs v. the Media, 22 April 2010

Where Power Lies: Prime Ministers v. the Media 
by Lance Price.
Simon & Schuster, 498 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84737 253 6
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... enjoyed the confidence of prime ministers. He was in the private sitting room of Number Ten when Ramsay MacDonald returned from the palace on resigning. He belonged to Chamberlain’s magic circle of lobby men, lunching with him at St Stephen’s Club once a week. He saw Harold Wilson every week too, with the other members of the ‘White Commonwealth’, as ...

Olivier Rex

Ronald Bryden, 1 September 1988

Olivier 
by Anthony Holden.
Weidenfeld, 504 pp., £16, May 1988, 0 297 79089 7
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... The early chapters of Olivier’s Confessions are written in Dickensian pastiche, even borrowing David Copperfield’s opening speculation whether he would turn out the hero of his own life story. The object of this is to characterise the young Olivier as a Dickens child, a version of David, and his father, the widowed ...

A Whale of a Time

Colm Tóibín, 2 October 1997

Roger Casement’s Diaries. 1910: The Black and the White 
edited by Roger Sawyer.
Pimlico, 288 pp., £10, October 1997, 9780712673754
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The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement 
edited by Angus Mitchell.
Anaconda, 534 pp., £40, October 1997, 9781901990010
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... to Ireland by Harold Wilson’s government in February 1965. The first request had been made to Ramsay MacDonald’s government sometime between 1929 and 1931. This was refused, as were de Valera’s requests to Stanley Baldwin and Churchill, and Sean Lemass’s request to Harold Macmillan. In her account of the discussions between the two governments about ...

All Together Now

John Lloyd: The British Trade Union, 19 October 2000

British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. I: The Postwar Compromise, 1945-64 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 335 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. II: The High Tide of Trade Unionism, 1964-79 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 389 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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The TUC: From the General Strike to New Unionism 
by Robert Taylor.
Palgrave, 299 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 333 93066 5
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... employment. Aimed primarily at Asia and Central/Eastern Europe, the scheme was commended by David Blunkett as proof that the Government was ‘delivering nothing less than one of the world’s most flexible modern work permit systems. To maintain a buoyant economy we need to ensure employers can quickly fill key posts where shortages exist.’ This ...

Time for Several Whiskies

Ian Jack: BBC Propaganda, 30 August 2018

Auntie’s War: The BBC during the Second World War 
by Edward Stourton.
Doubleday, 422 pp., £20, November 2017, 978 0 85752 332 7
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... the operation that remained, there was almost no first-hand reporting. One freelance journalist, David Divine, made three trips in a small boat that was rescuing British troops, and the Royal Navy took a Pathé newsreel reporter-cum-cameraman; otherwise the BBC (and British newspapers) relied on the Ministry of Information. The consequences were a mixture of ...

Light Entertainment

Andrew O’Hagan: Our Paedophile Culture, 8 November 2012

... that surrounds discussions of sexual conduct, whether risky and deviant or not. When I spoke to David Attenborough he was amazed to hear that someone he knew might have been named by others as part of the scene surrounding Gamlin at All Souls Place. I don’t hesitate to believe him: he clearly knew nothing about it. Others saw much more than he did and can ...

Upper and Lower Cases

Tom Nairn, 24 August 1995

A Union for Empire: Political Thought and the Union of 1707 
edited by John Robertson.
Cambridge, 368 pp., £40, April 1995, 0 521 43113 1
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The Autonomy of Modern Scotland 
by Lindsay Paterson.
Edinburgh, 218 pp., £30, September 1994, 0 7486 0525 8
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... of Scottish post-Union society, Jacques Leruez’s L’ Ecosse: une nation sans état (1983) and David McCrone’s Understanding Scotland: The Sociology of a Stateless Nation (1992). He gives a more political twist to these important analyses, attempting what amounts to a general ideological reassessment of post-1707 history: ‘In effect, if not in ...

Belt, Boots and Spurs

Jonathan Raban: Dunkirk, 1940, 5 October 2017

... first and last British soldiers to embark on her.The Esk’s rescue of the Scotia is well told by David Divine in The Nine Days of Dunkirk, first published in 1959. The ship had been hit ‘abaft the engine-room on the starboard side and on the poop deck, and in the final attack one bomb went down the after-funnel. Scotia was heavily damaged and began to sink ...

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