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Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... the hedge and given an artist’s prospect of the countryside.28 August. T. Blair claims to the Hutton Inquiry that if the BBC had been right and the Iraq dossier had been ‘sexed up’ he would have resigned. This is presumably intended to pre-empt any calls for his resignation at the conclusion of the Inquiry, which, whether it reports so or not, has ...

Must they twinkle?

John Sutherland, 1 August 1985

British Literary Magazines. Vol. III: The Victorian and Edwardian Age 1837-1913 
edited by Alvin Sullivan.
Greenwood, 560 pp., £88.50, December 1984, 0 313 24335 2
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The Book Book 
by Anthony Blond.
Cape, 226 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 224 02074 9
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... that there is an apostolic link – however indirect – with Macaulay, Jeffrey, Lockhart, Lewes, Hutton, Stephen. When he reviews the academic can, with a little historical imagination, conceive himself as useful to civilisation in a way that he isn’t when merely adding unasked-for information to the store of human knowledge with his learned ...

Dark Knight

Tom Shippey, 24 February 1994

The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Malory 
by P.J.C. Field.
Boydell and Brewer, 218 pp., £29.50, September 1993, 0 85991 385 6
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... Malory of Newbold Revel in Warwickshire, but the Morte Darthur was written by Thomas Malory of Hutton Conyers in the North Riding, not a thief, not a rapist, but the soldier sent to besiege Alnwick and Bamborough in 1462, and the man excluded from pardon six years later for supporting his near-neighbour, Sir Humphrey Neville, in Lancastrian ...

He huffs and he puffs

John Upton: David Blunkett, the Lifers and the Judges, 19 June 2003

... of Section 29 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 with the Convention. ‘If a court,’ Lord Hutton said, ‘declares that an Act is incompatible with the Convention, there is no question of the court being in conflict with Parliament or of seeking to override the will of Parliament. The court is doing what Parliament has instructed it to do in Section 4 ...

John McEnroe plus Anyone

Edward Said: Tennis, 1 July 1999

The Right Set: The Faber Book of Tennis 
edited by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.99, June 1999, 0 571 19540 7
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... earliest prominent figure, the glamorous and elusive Baron Gottfried von Cramm, married Barbara Hutton and had an ambiguous relationship with the Nazis; his tenacity and panache had a lasting influence on the game, apparent not only in Boris Becker and Michael Stich (who resembles von Cramm in the sheer fluency of his strokes) but also in the remarkable ...

Staggering on

Stephen Howe, 23 May 1996

The ‘New Statesman’: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-31 
by Adrian Smith.
Cass, 340 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 7146 4645 8
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... given an important stimulus by the urgings of Keynes’s iconoclastic friend, the economist Graham Hutton. The fact that the early Statesman had no fixed party abode may have helped its fortunes at least as much as it harmed them. At the start, the Webbs, Shaw, Sharp and most contributors held firmly to the view that the Parliamentary Labour Party had little ...


W.G. Runciman: Exit Blair, 24 May 2007

... admiring, however reluctantly, of his unscrupulous cunning. But it emerged pretty clearly from the Hutton and Butler Reports that he had persuaded himself of both the practicality and the virtuousness of what he had made up his mind to do and had then arranged to be sheltered from any information that might have given him pause. (Alastair Campbell to John ...


David Goldie: Morecambe and Wise, 15 April 1999

Morecambe and Wise 
by Graham McCann.
Fourth Estate, 416 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 1 85702 735 3
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... of Jimmy James and his two stooges, the beautifully and bizarrely named Bretton Woods and Hutton Conyers. Some of their more absurd moments show the influence of the interwar Liverpudlian monologist Billy Bennett and the surreal braggadocio of Eddie Braben’s particular favourite, Dave Morris, the man who claimed to have successfully defended Crippen ...

Thatcher, Thatcher, Thatcher

John Gray: The Tory Future, 22 April 2010

The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 446 pp., £25, January 2010, 978 0 7456 4857 6
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Back from the Brink: The Inside Story of the Tory Resurrection 
by Peter Snowdon.
Harper Press, 419 pp., £14.99, March 2010, 978 0 00 730725 8
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... opportunist’. Howard’s hope that Iraq could be used against Blair was quashed when the Hutton Report proved to be a whitewash: ‘Blair had escaped condemnation,’ Snowdon writes, ‘while the episode rebounded on the Tories.’ The Conservatives’ failure was more significant than was apparent at the time, for it revealed the difficulties they ...


Chris Mullin: A report from Westminster, 25 June 2009

... talents aren’t urgently needed. Alan Johnson becomes home secretary. Bob Ainsworth replaces John Hutton at defence and Peter Hain returns as Welsh secretary. Not forgetting Alan Sugar, who has been appointed ‘enterprise tsar’ in place of the unlamented Digby Jones. Another classic piece of gimmickry which will inevitably backfire. Whatever next? Susan ...

More ‘out’ than ‘on’

Glen Newey: Chris Mullin’s Diaries, 27 August 2009

A View from the Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin 
by Chris Mullin.
Profile, 590 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84668 223 0
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... has sanctioned the killing of thousands in Iraq. He votes against the war but celebrates when Lord Hutton sandblasts the government’s slate clean. He is a diligent constituency MP but dislikes his constituents, at least en masse. They seem not to have registered that things have got better, as the song foretold. After the 2005 election victory, he sits ...

Sharks’ Teeth

Steven Mithen: How old is the Earth?, 30 July 2015

Earth’s Deep History: How It Was Discovered and Why It Matters 
by Martin Rudwick.
Chicago, 360 pp., £21, October 2014, 978 0 226 20393 5
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... significance of comet strikes on Earth’s development. In the 17th century, Descartes and James Hutton supported the idea of a steady-state system, or at least that the Earth goes through regular patterns of change such that its future state can be predicted, while others – such as Jean-André Deluc, who first introduced the term ...

Little Brits

Tom Shippey: Murder on Hadrian’s Wall, 19 November 2015

The Real Lives of Roman Britain 
by Guy de la Bédoyère.
Yale, 241 pp., £20, May 2015, 978 0 300 20719 4
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... de la Bédoyère quotes as fact, is also now thought to be ‘thoroughly insecure’, as Ronald Hutton explained in Blood and Mistletoe (2009), a book that also reminds us not to believe all that classical historians wrote about druids.* And though de la Bédoyère is suitably cagey about the disappearance of IX Legion Hispana, he does like the idea that it ...

Under the Steinway

Jenny Diski: Marco Roth, 7 March 2013

The Scientists: A Family Romance 
by Marco Roth.
Union Books, 196 pp., £14.99, January 2013, 978 1 908526 19 9
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... Princess Diana as their apotheosis. Biographies of unhappy and tragic heiresses such as Barbara Hutton, from the Woolworth family, and Christina Onassis, have been huge popular hits. There are wealthy hapless males, too – John Paul Getty III, for example, or Hans Rausing – who never find contentment. And Hamlet can stand for all the privileged sons born ...


Ferdinand Mount: British Weeping, 17 December 2015

Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears 
by Thomas Dixon.
Oxford, 438 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 19 967605 7
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... justice. Only this November, Mr Justice Dingemans, renowned as the remorseless counsel to the Hutton Inquiry, broke down in tears as he sentenced the stepbrother of Becky Watts for her murder. Eight members of the jury were in tears too. In this case, the crime was so peculiarly horrible that nobody thought the worse of any of them. In the Victorian age ...

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