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Credibility Brown

Christopher Hitchens, 17 August 1989

Where there is greed: Margaret Thatcher and the Betrayal of Britain’s Future 
by Gordon Brown.
Mainstream, 182 pp., £4.95, May 1989, 1 85158 233 9
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CounterBlasts No 3: A Rational Advance for the Labour Party 
by John Lloyd.
Chatto, 57 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0 7011 3519 0
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... that impends in 1992. A rather candid reply to a Parliamentary question, given early last year by Alan Clark, summarises the whole position neatly. Mr Clark had been invited to say which OECD countries spent either more or less of their gross product on fixed investment than did the United Kingdom. He responded: Comparisons for most OECD countries are ...

You can’t build a new society with a Stanley knife

Malcolm Bull: Hardt and Negri’s Empire, 4 October 2001

Empire 
by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Harvard, 478 pp., £12.95, August 2001, 0 674 00671 2
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... in, or of their willingness to work, has a long history on the Right. In the early 1960s, Milton Friedman came out in favour of one form of the idea, and in Britain it has circulated at the margins of Conservative politics for half a century, being espoused most recently by William Hague’s friend Alan Duncan. Support for ...

The Case of Agatha Christie

John Lanchester, 20 December 2018

... worked in fashion, as we learn in The Fashion in Shrouds (great title). Val marries a good man, Alan Dell, with the following deal: he will take ‘full responsibility for her’, but he demands in return ‘your independence, the enthusiasm which you give your career, your time and your thought’. She is delighted to accept. This is joltingly hard to read ...

That Disturbing Devil

Ferdinand Mount: Land Ownership, 8 May 2014

Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership 
by Andro Linklater.
Bloomsbury, 482 pp., £20, January 2014, 978 1 4088 1574 8
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... C.B. Macpherson was to dub it three centuries later. In the argument between Macpherson and Milton Friedman, both sides recognised, as Marx had, its explosive power. They differed as to whether its social effects were malign or benign. In this argument, Linklater is always an impartial and insightful referee. In becoming disillusioned with the commune, he does ...

Document Number Nine

John Lanchester: Chinese Cyber-Sovereignty, 10 October 2019

The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet 
by James Griffiths.
Zed, 386 pp., £20, March 2019, 978 1 78699 535 3
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We Have Been Harmonised: Life in China’s Surveillance State 
by Kai Strittmatter.
Old Street, 328 pp., £9.99, May 2019, 978 1 913083 00 7
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... as an informational form of manifest destiny. In the words of the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, the internet is a ‘nutcracker to open societies’. This view has adherents in China too. Liu Xiaobo – the first Nobel laureate to die in prison since Carl von Ossietzky in Nazi Germany – said the internet was ‘God’s gift’ to a democratic ...

The European Coup

Perry Anderson, 17 December 2020

... from England before its accession to the Common Market, in the pioneering reconstruction of Alan Milward.This has finally changed. In the last decade Europe has generated a set of thinkers about its integration who command the field, while the US, increasingly absorbed in itself, has largely vacated it. Among these, one stands out. By reason of both the ...

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