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Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011, 5 January 2012

... me.‘Aren’t you famous?’‘Well I can’t be, can I, if you don’t know my name.’‘It’s Alan something.’‘Yes.’‘From Scarborough?’‘No.’‘So which Alan are you?’‘I’m another Alan.’‘Are you just a lookalike?’‘Well, you could say so.’He pats my arm ...

Dirty Money

Paul Foot, 17 December 1992

A Full Service Bank: How BCCI stole millions around the world 
by James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz.
Simon and Schuster, 381 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 671 71133 4
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Bankrupt: The BCCI Fraud 
by Nick Kochan and Bob Whittington.
Gollancz, 234 pp., £4.99, November 1991, 0 575 05279 1
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The BCCI Affair: A Report to The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 
by Senators John Kerry and Hank Brown.
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 800 pp., September 1992
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Inquiry into the Supervision of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International 
by Lord Justice Bingham.
HMSO, 218 pp., £19.30, October 1992, 0 10 219893 4
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... of course, but the two men were firm friends for life. Another much more distinguished convert was Clark Clifford, the beautifully-spoken lawyer who had been a friend of the Kennedys and Defence Secretary to Lyndon Johnson. When Abedi first met him Clifford was looking for a cause – especially if it had a few million dollars attached to it. Adams and Frantz ...

Miss Dior, Prodigally Applied

Ian Patterson: Jilly Cooper, 18 May 2017

Mount! 
by Jilly Cooper.
Corgi, 610 pp., £7.99, February 2017, 978 0 552 17028 4
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... in her novels is the most dominant of males, a character created from a mixture of Mr Rochester, Clark Gable, Casanova, the late Alan Clark MP, and – apparently – various dashing and extant English aristocrats, including Andrew Parker Bowles. Rupert Campbell-Black, wealthy landowner, sometime world champion ...

Fear in Those Blue Eyes

David Runciman: Thatcher in Her Bubble, 3 December 2015

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. II: Everything She Wants 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 821 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 7139 9288 5
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... Then he fell back upon the rhetorical generalities for which he was well known.’ In the words of Alan Clark: ‘For a few seconds Kinnock had her cornered, and you could see fear in those blue eyes. But then he had an attack of wind, gave her time to recover.’ Moore also quotes Tony Blair, who was sitting in the chamber as a young MP, taking ...

Tory History

Alan Ryan, 23 January 1986

English Society 1688-1832 
by J.C.D. Clark.
Cambridge, 439 pp., £30, November 1985, 0 521 30922 0
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Virtue, Commerce and History 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 321 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 521 25701 8
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... is a case in point. Herbert Butterfield slew it in 1931, and here come John Pocock and Jonathan Clark to slay it again. There is next to nothing in common between them, save their opposition to the Whig Interpretation and its offspring: but it is that opposition which provides both of them with the structure of their argument and the dramatic purpose of ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1998, 21 January 1999

... through rubbing shoulders as a young man with the more well-spoken Ben Nicholson, say, or Kenneth Clark. But I would have thought that in the Thirties he needed to get rid of it (or at least knock the edges off it) in order to be taken seriously, whereas thirty years later, in Hockney’s day, a sculptor from a similar background would have been well-advised ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1995, 4 January 1996

... the most appealing a beaker on a dish with a rose belonging to the Saltwood Bequest and so to Alan Clark who is somewhere about, though I don’t see (or hear) him. Then there are lots of terrible flower paintings before some wonderful Goyas in the last room, including a heap of dead fish. The look in the eye of one of the dead bream seems familiar ...

Grit in the Oyster-Shell

Colin Burrow: Pepys, 14 November 2002

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 499 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 670 88568 1
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... girl into doing things with what he euphemistically calls his chose, he can crow as loudly as Alan Clark. When his unfortunate wife, Elizabeth, finally discovers him with his hand up the skirt of her companion Deborah Willet, he is duly remorseful about being caught, but is rather pleased with himself for being able with perfect truthfulness to deny ...

Let them cut grass

Linda Colley, 16 December 1993

The Downing Street Years 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 914 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 255049 0
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... of government glimmers of far less savoury right-wing popularists from the recent past. It was Alan Clark (he of the dog called Eva Braun) who drooled over her ‘personality compulsion, something of the Führer Kontakt’. And it George Younger, then Secretary of State for Scotland, who remarked of her post-Falklands address to the Scottish ...

Palmerstonian

Bernard Porter: The Falklands War, 20 October 2005

The Official History of the Falklands Campaign. Vol. I: The Origins of the Falklands War 
by Lawrence Freedman.
Routledge, 253 pp., £35, June 2005, 0 7146 5206 7
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The Official History of the Falklands Campaign. Vol. II: War and Diplomacy 
by Lawrence Freedman.
Routledge, 849 pp., £49.95, June 2005, 0 7146 5207 5
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... nearly everyone on the British side (not so much to the Americans). Even ‘poor old Notters’ (Alan Clark on the defence secretary John Nott) comes out of it quite well. This is a highly empathetic account of the British campaign, but Freedman doesn’t pretend otherwise. ‘It has expressly not been my task,’ he writes at the start of the second ...

Declinism

David Edgerton, 7 March 1996

The Lost Victory: British Dreams, British Realities, 1945-50 
by Correlli Barnett.
Macmillan, 514 pp., £20, July 1995, 0 333 48045 7
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... technology or the capacity of the nation to fight a war. The book had an extraordinary impact. Alan Clark records approvingly that Mrs Thatcher herself read it, and many of her ministers made public reference to it – which is surprising since Barnett is not a Thatcherite historian, but an economic nationalist. He believes that Britain’s problem ...

Poor Hitler

Andrew O’Hagan: Toff Humour, 15 November 2007

The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Fourth Estate, 834 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 84115 790 0
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... of India a wise and unburdened fellow, just as such lines allowed people to forgive the diarist Alan Clark any number of horrors so long as he raised a smile when he wrote them down. The talent to write poshly is quickly taken as the talent to write well. It remains a kind of honesty that English readers – or English readers of English writers ...

Who Runs Britain?

Christopher Hitchens, 8 December 1994

The Enemy Within: MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair 
by Seumas Milne.
Verso, 352 pp., £18.95, November 1994, 0 86091 461 5
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... the Somme that formed the inspiration of Joan Littlewood’s Oh, What a Lovely War. Its author was Alan Clark. He at least did not pretend that Generals Haig and French, unlike Privates Scargill and Heathfield, were not responsible for a million dead.) To all this invocation of high and evasive metaphor, Milne opposes one hard and fast, earthy ...

It’s raining, so I’ll take an umbrella

Andy Clark: The Birth of the Computer, 1 December 2005

Alan Turing: Life and Legacy of a Great Thinker 
edited by Christof Teuscher.
Springer, 542 pp., £46, February 2004, 3 540 20020 7
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... bridge link mathematics, physics and the biology and chemistry of life and mind? The interests of Alan Turing were remarkably various. In the 21 essays gathered here by Christof Teuscher, there is the mathematical biologist in search of new explanations of the emergence of patterns in nature; the proto-connectionist investigating neurally-inspired models of ...
... or we would just be left with the cathedrals and a few other ‘viable places of worship’.​Alan Bennett, 5 December 1985 What makes things even worse for radical, progressive spirits is that the ultra-right appears to be even more in control of the Conservative Party this year than it has been previously. Mrs Thatcher clearly regards herself as a dea ...

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