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There’s Daddy

Michael Wood, 13 February 1992

Flying in to Love 
by D.M. Thomas.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 0 7475 1129 2
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directed by Oliver Stone.
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... but continued with the motorcade, had lunch as planned at the Trade Mart, went on to Austin and Johnson’s ranch; went shooting with Johnson the following morning. For various reasons, this story is more real than anything else in the novel; an eloquent and moving representation of our disbelief. For the rest, in the ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... on Remembrance Day? Would he kneel to the queen when he was admitted to the Privy Council (see Martin Loughlin’s piece on p. 29)? On the day after he was elected, he spoke at a mental health trust fun day in his constituency instead of going on the Andrew Marr Show. Later that day he was filmed as he hurried along the pavement outside Westminster in ...

In Praise of Barley Brew

E.S. Turner: Combustible Belloc, 20 February 2003

Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc 
by Joseph Pearce.
HarperCollins, 306 pp., £20, July 2002, 0 00 274095 8
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... most especially metre. On his death the Tablet devoted an entire issue to ‘the Catholic Dr Johnson’ (Father Martin d’Arcy). Pearce feels Belloc is entitled to the epitaph he proposed for himself fifty years earlier in ‘The Prophet Lost in the Hills at Evening’: I challenged and I kept the Faith, The bleeding ...


Chris Mullin: A report from Westminster, 25 June 2009

... by the Prince of Wales. Fellow guests included a number of Tory grandees. The fate of Speaker Martin was much discussed. A definite mood on the Tory side that he must go. I strolled back through the park with Kate Hoey. ‘A pity you are standing down,’ she said. ‘You’d make an excellent Speaker.’  To my dismay, today’s roll-call of The Fallen ...

Ruthless and Truthless

Ferdinand Mount: Rotten Government, 6 May 2021

The Assault on Truth: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and the Emergence of a New Moral Barbarism 
by Peter Oborne.
Simon and Schuster, 192 pp., £12.99, February 2021, 978 1 3985 0100 3
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Political Advice: Past, Present and Future 
edited by Colin Kidd and Jacqueline Rose.
I.B. Tauris, 240 pp., £21.99, February 2021, 978 1 83860 120 1
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... feature.The new arrangements got off to a sticky start. No sooner was the chamber unveiled than Johnson abandoned his scheme for Allegra Stratton, his chief spokesman, to give daily televised press conferences, suddenly realising that a badly managed press conference could blow any passing contretemps up into a scalding embarrassment. Instead, the lectern ...

Doctor Feelgood

R.W. Johnson, 3 March 1988

Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home 
by Garry Wills.
Heinemann, 488 pp., £14.95, February 1988, 0 434 86623 7
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... to pouring hundreds of billions of dollars towards Lockheed, Boeing, Rockwell, General Dynamics, Martin Marietta and so on. Even though there’s no money to pay for it. Even though this means a huge budget deficit, means cutting back on education and social spending, means borrowing abroad, means becoming a debtor nation, means the collapse of the ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour, 5 April 2001

Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... of groups stretching from Ian Paisley’s branch of the Unionists through to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and whoever they officially or unofficially represent. Typically, this ‘peaceful solution’ seems to involve shuffling Northern Ireland into a closer relationship with the Irish Republic and trying to get the spectrum of political groups to ...


Jeremy Harding: Hitchens, 31 March 2011

... and Paine was manhandled. According to Hitchens, Part Two was produced partly to explain to Dr Johnson the need for a written constitution, and partly to endorse Ricardo’s views on commerce and free trade, but when it was written Johnson had been dead for seven years and Ricardo, not yet 20, had published no views that ...

High on His Own Supply

Christopher Tayler: Amis Recycled, 11 September 2003

Yellow Dog 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 340 pp., £16.99, September 2003, 0 224 05061 3
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... Reviewing a new edition of Ulysses in 1986, Martin Amis had a few reservations about the book’s popularity with scholarly intermediaries. James Joyce, he concluded, ‘could have been the most popular boy in the school, the funniest, the cleverest, the kindest. He ended up with a more ambiguous distinction: he became the teacher’s pet ...

Good dinners pass away, so do tyrants and toothache

Terry Eagleton: Death, Desire and so forth, 16 April 1998

Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture 
by Jonathan Dollimore.
Allen Lane, 380 pp., £25, April 1998, 0 7139 9125 9
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... to divest yourself for the sake of others, you will be trapped like William Golding’s Pincher Martin in a hell which is the inability to die. By the end of Golding’s novel, Martin has dwindled to a pair of huge, lobster-like claws tenaciously protecting his dark centre of selfhood from the ‘black lightning’ of ...

Lend me a fiver

Terry Eagleton: The grand narrative of experience, 23 June 2005

Songs of Experience: Modern American and European Variations on a Universal Theme 
by Martin Jay.
California, 431 pp., £22, January 2005, 0 520 24272 6
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... Oscar Wilde called experience the name one gives to one’s mistakes, while for Samuel Johnson it was what hope triumphed over for those who married a second time. Emerson thought all experience was valuable, an opinion not shared by the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay. Plato and Spinoza saw it as a realm of illusion, to be contrasted with the pure light of reason ...

Wright and Wrong

Peter Campbell, 10 November 1988

Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright 
by Brendan Gill.
Heinemann, 544 pp., £20, August 1988, 0 434 29273 7
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... demonstrate. Even if the owners’ enthusiasm was misplaced, and the loyalty of patrons (like the Johnson Wax company who still proudly maintain their no-longer functioning research lower) mere sentimentality, the clarity of design which makes the best houses or the Guggenheim Museum so memorable would speak. Few other architects, working through into the ...


Peter Pomerantsev: European Schools, 16 June 2016

... for everything from food to biofuels. In 1974 a second school was opened in Brussels (Boris Johnson, whose father was working in the Environment Sub-Directorate, attended for two years). After the UK joined the EEC a school was opened in 1978 in Culham in Oxfordshire, where research was taking place into nuclear fusion. In each new school the mission ...

When students ruled the earth

D.A.N. Jones, 17 March 1988

1968: A Student Generation in Revolt 
by Ronald Fraser.
Chatto, 370 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 7011 2913 1
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Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties 
by Tariq Ali.
Collins, 280 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 9780002177795
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Sixty-Eight: The Year of the Barricades 
by David Caute.
Hamish Hamilton, 464 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 241 12174 4
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Nineteen Sixty-Eight: A Personal Report 
by Hans Koning.
Unwin Hyman, 196 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 9780044401858
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... magazines considered left-wing – Tribune, under Michael Foot, and the New Statesman, under Paul Johnson. It was a different world. In those distant days, Harold Wilson was the Prime Minister. He was being assailed by ‘left-wingers’, people like me, for being too subservient to the United States Government, with particular reference to the American war ...


Michael Neve, 17 October 1985

Hamlet Closely Observed 
by Martin Dodsworth.
Athlone, 316 pp., £18, July 1985, 0 485 11283 3
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edited by Philip Edwards.
Cambridge, 245 pp., £15, June 1985, 9780521221511
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The Renaissance Hamlet: Issues and Responses in 1600 
by Roland Mushat Frye.
Princeton, 398 pp., £23.75, December 1983, 0 691 06579 9
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... only if long enough to mourn his own life. Of course, he will do more than that, and it is part of Martin Dodsworth’s task in Hamlet Closely Observed to examine the code of conduct, and the place of honour, in the life of the Prince and others, to bring out what might be called the under-examined social history of the play. But Hamlet, one way or ...

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