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Militias, Vigilantes, Death Squads

Charles Tripp: Iraq’s Shadow State, 25 January 2007

... At a Downing Street meeting in November 2002 attended by Tony Blair, Jack Straw and six academics familiar with Iraq and the Middle East, two things became clear. The first was that Straw thought post-Saddam Iraq would be much like post-Soviet Russia and could thus be easily pigeonholed as that strange creature, a ‘transitional society ...

Can’t Afford to Tell the Truth

Owen Bennett-Jones: Trouble at the BBC, 20 December 2018

... influence, I have never believed it since conducting an interview with the then foreign secretary Jack Straw in 2004. Our interaction came at a moment when there was a slight difference in the line being taken by the Foreign Office and Number Ten about the various inquiries into Iraq – exactly the sort of thing BBC journalists were paid to niggle away ...

Peroxide Mug-Shot

Marina Warner: Women who kill children, 1 January 1998

... two heroes.) It is possible that the extension of Myra Hindley’s sentence by the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, will be deemed to contravene her human rights as defined by the European Convention that the Government is pledged to adopt as law. She may be released. Straw’s decision to reject her appeal for parole casts ...

The Enemy

Marian FitzGerald: The Great Prison Disaster, 18 December 2003

Prisongate: The Shocking State of Britain’s Prisons and the Need for Visionary Change 
by David Ramsbotham.
Free Press, 267 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 7432 3884 2
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... very badly on Howard. Ramsbotham’s departure six years later was less publicly acrimonious – Jack Straw simply announced his retirement without his having agreed to it – but Prisongate will make uncomfortable reading for ministers. It is a vivid and at times idiosyncratic account expressive in equal measure of personal frustration and moral ...


Melanie McFadyean: In the Wrong Crowd, 25 September 2014

... after meeting the parents of Ben Kinsella, murdered at the age of 16, that the then home secretary Jack Straw extended the mandatory sentence for murder involving a knife to 25 years. Kinsella and his friends went out to celebrate after finishing their GCSEs. One of his friends had a disagreement with some men in a bar; one of the men, Jade ...

What Works Doesn’t Work

Ross McKibbin: Politics without Ideas, 11 September 2008

... and crime it would be much easier: James Purnell could continue to privatise everything and Jack Straw to build dozens of gigantic prisons. That at least has coherence. But the Labour Party has a history and an institutional memory, even to those who seem most oblivious of it. The fact is that Labour’s social-democratic past won’t go away, and ...

The Precautionary Principle

David Runciman: Taking a Chance on War, 1 April 2004

... are a price worth paying for the possibility of long-term benefits. It is not enough to argue, as Jack Straw did following the Madrid bombings, that ‘al-Qaida will go on and would have gone on irrespective of the war in Iraq, until they are firmly stopped.’ Nor is it enough to say, as he also said: ‘We did it for the best of motives.’ This is the ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... circumstances; next week for instance she is accompanying the Italian president to London to meet Jack Straw and she also translated for Bush on his visit to Italy last year. The library at the British Council is busy and full of students who only leave when it closes at 8 p.m., and seeing these young Italians reading English books and ...

Finding an Enemy

Conor Gearty: Sixty Years of Anti-Terrorist Legislation, 15 April 1999

Legislation against Terrorism: A Consultation Paper. CM 4178. 
by Home Office and Northern Ireland Office.
70 pp., £9.95, December 1998, 0 10 141782 9
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... of terrorism, we think merely of evil and condemn all suspects by association. The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, recently described the Home Office as having so vast a remit that it was impossible to keep fully abreast of all its work, and that political dynamite could emerge without warning at any time. This consultation paper belongs in that ...

No Ordinary Law

Stephen Sedley: Constitution-Makers, 5 June 2008

... resting on someone else to respect it. When, in his recent Mackenzie-Stewart Lecture in Cambridge, Jack Straw, the minister of justice, quoted Tom Paine’s stirring remark, in Rights of Man, that ‘A Declaration of Rights is, by reciprocity, a Declaration of Duties also. Whatever is my right as a man, is also the right of another, and it becomes my duty ...

Feeling Right

Will Woodward: The Iowa Straw Poll, 16 September 1999

... We’re waiting on the front porch of Jack and Sonia Hatch’s three-storey home in Sherman Hill, a desirable district of Des Moines, Iowa. Pillars, parquet flooring, leftish middle-class clutter. It’s a fantastic, warm evening. About sixty of us, a handful of journalists, but mostly Sherman Hill residents, have come to see Bill Bradley, the former New Jersey senator, New York Knicks professional basketball star and Rhodes scholar who wants the Democrats’ nomination for President of the United States ...

Who will get legal aid now?

Joanna Biggs: Legal Aid, 20 October 2011

... Tony Blair (called to the Bar 1976) wanted to ‘derail the gravy train of legal aid’ and Jack Straw (called to the Bar 1972) complained of ‘BMW-driving civil liberties lawyers’. But New Labour’s attack wasn’t on the gravy train: it was on the ‘good’ lawyers, the ones who earn £25,000 a year helping the poorest, and the ones who ...

£ … per incident

Melanie McFadyean: Suicides in immigration detention, 16 November 2006

Driven to Desperate Measures 
by Harmit Athwal.
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... danger of paying . . . the massive legal costs that would ratchet up against them.’ In 1995 Jack Straw described prison privatisation as ‘morally repugnant’ and said: ‘It is not appropriate for people to profit out of incarceration. This is surely one area where the free market does not exist.’ Shortly after taking office he gave the ...

Gloves Off

Glen Newey: Torture, 29 January 2009

Death by a Thousand Cuts 
by Timothy Brook, Jérôme Bourgon and Gregory Blue.
Harvard, 320 pp., £22.95, March 2008, 978 0 674 02773 2
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Standard Operating Procedure: A War Story 
by Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris.
Picador, 286 pp., £8.99, January 2009, 978 0 330 45201 4
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Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law 
by Philippe Sands.
Allen Lane, 315 pp., £20, May 2008, 978 1 84614 008 2
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... by the Red Cross about them in March; on his return to London, as the then foreign secretary Jack Straw admitted in a statement to the Commons that June, Rammell had briefed senior figures in the FCO. Then there was the government’s admission that it had made Diego Garcia available as a pit stop for extraordinary rendition flights after denials ...

Adventures at the End of Time

Angela Carter, 7 March 1991

by Iain Sinclair.
Paladin, 407 pp., £14.99, March 1991, 0 586 09074 6
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... hair, intent on a game of billiards. They are Africans. And here are twenty-odd white men, in straw boaters, surrounding a prone crocodile. Joblard, Sinclair’s friend, arranges the cards so that they tell a story. At once they become scrutable: they are images of imperialism. Joblard titles this picture story, what else, ‘Heart of Darkness’. But the ...

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