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Thomas Jones: Politicians v. the press, 22 July 2004

... As if his status made it more rather than less acceptable for him to borrow money from Geoffrey Robinson without declaring it, or to put in a word at the Home Office to help Srichand Hinduja get a passport. Readers might be forgiven at times for thinking that a more accurate title for the book would have been ‘How the Media Are Being Unfair to Our ...

Diary

Ben Walker: ‘A test case for Corbynism’, 5 December 2019

... wife, Natalie Elphicke, a lawyer who in 2015 received an OBE for services to housing. In Burton, Andrew Griffiths, who resigned as the Tories’ small business minister after being caught sending two thousand texts ‘of a sexual nature’ to two female constituents in the space of 21 days, has endorsed his estranged wife, Kate Griffiths. ‘I have not ...

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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... Mowlam remain outside. David Trimble was astonished but that’s how it always is with New Labour. Andrew Rawnsley records how the momentous decision that Britain would not join the euro during the current Parliament was taken. Aware of the increase in Euroscepticism from Philip Gould’s focus groups and daily readings of the Sun and the Mail, Gordon ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... nothing happen, then the poetry anthology has no such self-effacing qualms. Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion knew this, as did the predecessor they were tussling with, A. Alvarez’s The New Poetry (which was tussling with its predecessor, Robert Conquest’s New Lines). ‘This anthology,’ they wrote in their preface to the Penguin Book of Contemporary ...

At Kettle’s Yard

Eleanor Birne: The Reopening, 22 March 2018

... spartan; it’s now a tiny staff room. Jim and Helen barely used it: one of their visitors, Duncan Robinson, remembered their ‘austere, almost invalid evening meal’, sometimes followed by their two indulgences: ‘very dark bitter chocolate, eaten in very small quantities’, and the occasional half bottle of burgundy or claret, kept in a cupboard under ...

Hedonistic Fruit Bombs

Steven Shapin: How good is Château Pavie?, 3 February 2005

Bordeaux 
by Robert Parker.
Dorling Kindersley, 1244 pp., £45, December 2003, 1 4053 0566 5
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The Wine Buyer’s Guide 
by Robert Parker and Pierre-Antoine Rovani.
Dorling Kindersley, two volumes, £50, December 2002, 0 7513 4979 8
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Mondovino 
directed by Jonathan Nossiter.
November 2004
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... others – sceptical of such fine and confident discriminations – have tried to hold out. Jancis Robinson won’t budge from the traditional 20-point scale, resisting the notion of a single standard of taste: ‘There’s no suggestion that Parker’s not being consistent, and following his taste. This is the whole point of wine – that there are different ...

Seventy Years in a Filthy Trade

Andrew O’Hagan: E.S. Turner, 15 October 1998

... Farewell, Plantagenet! And toll the bell For Mowbray and de Vere. A further knell For Smith and Robinson. Now meet Patel. There’s always a whole new set of things you’re not allowed to laugh at. And now you can’t laugh at newsagents. You can’t snigger at class, or Princess Diana, even if you’re the sort of person who might always have done so. Mr ...

Diary

Andrew Lowry: Pyongyang’s Missing Millions, 6 December 2018

... somebody unseen to yell at my guides. A great fuss was made of showing me the library’s Heath Robinson book-retrieval system. I pretended to be impressed but was momentarily dumbfounded by the set of books selected for me: a textbook on neonatal emergencies, The Complete Encyclopedia of Chickens and a copy of Gone with the Wind. I noticed they were all ...

I’m being a singer

Andrew O’Hagan: Dandy Highwaymen, 8 October 2020

Sweet Dreams: The Story of the New Romantics 
by Dylan Jones.
Faber, 663 pp., £20, October, 978 0 571 35343 9
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... got a hairdressing apprenticeship but was sacked after a few weeks for bunking off to go to a Tom Robinson gig. Boy George deliberately missed all his exams and then refused to join his father’s building firm (‘I painted and decorated myself instead’). In those days, ‘flamboyance and glamour,’ as the artist Nicola Tyson puts it, ‘were under ...

Unmistakable

Michael Rogin, 20 August 1998

Celebrity Caricature in America 
by Wendy Wick Reaves.
Yale, 320 pp., £29.95, April 1998, 0 300 07463 8
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... And Henry Major’s Ernst Lubitsch, Will Cotton’s Theodore Dreiser, Hirschfeld’s Bojangles Robinson, and more and more, all well-known and all made new. That shock of the familiar, the celebrity instantly recognisable by the trademark logo that the artist reinvents distinctively as his or her own, defines the genre that Reaves has discovered and ...

Rigging the Death Rate

Paul Taylor, 11 April 2013

... of state for health. The public inquiry was set up in 2010 by the then secretary of state, Andrew Lansley, to investigate further the findings of a previous inquiry, commissioned by the Labour health minister Andy Burnham and intended ‘primarily to give those most affected by poor care an opportunity to tell their stories’. Many such stories had ...

Restless Daniel

John Mullan: Defoe, 20 July 2006

The Life of Daniel Defoe: A Critical Biography 
by John Richetti.
Blackwell, 406 pp., £50, December 2005, 0 631 19529 7
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A Political Biography of Daniel Defoe 
by P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens.
Pickering & Chatto, 277 pp., £60, January 2006, 1 85196 810 5
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... as a writer, he was preoccupied with politics. He was almost 60 when he published his first novel, Robinson Crusoe, in 1719. If he had died a year or two earlier, his work would not be on any English literature syllabus. Given that A Tour Thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain was written even later than his novels, he would probably be entirely unknown to ...

Still Reeling from My Loss

Andrew O’Hagan: Lulu & Co, 2 January 2003

I Don't Want to Fight 
by Lulu.
Time Warner, 326 pp., £17.99, October 2002, 0 316 86169 3
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Billy 
by Pamela Stephenson.
HarperCollins, 400 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 00 711092 8
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Just for the Record 
by Geri Halliwell.
Ebury, 221 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 188655 4
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Learning to Fly 
by Victoria Beckham.
Penguin, 528 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 14 100394 4
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Right from the Start 
by Gareth Gates.
Virgin, 80 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 1 85227 914 1
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Honest 
by Ulrika Jonsson.
Sidgwick, 417 pp., £16.99, October 2002, 0 283 07367 5
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... to levels that make Billy Connolly’s childhood seem like a chapter from The Swiss Family Robinson. They may be right to feel hunted by the press, but feeling hunted by the press is an aspect of self-hunting too: their famousness is an occasion for grief, and their grief is a constituent part of their fame. The newspapers love abuse stories and they ...

Flat-Nose, Stocky and Beautugly

James Davidson: Greek Names, 23 September 2010

A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Vol. V.A Coastal Asia Minor: Pontos to Ionia 
edited by T. Corsten.
Oxford, 496 pp., £125, March 2010, 978 0 19 956743 0
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... I was surrounded by boys with what I still think of as normal classic names: Simon, Mark, Peter, Andrew, Paul, Martin, Michael, Stephen, Richard, Robert, David. Girls’ names remained more modish: some Sarahs, Anns and Elizabeths and even some residual Marys, but also plenty of Janets, Jackies, Lisas and Debbies, who soared and plummeted through the ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... of the Bank of England, having just been involved in that same capacity in seeking a successor to Andrew Large as chairman of SIB in its existing form, when Brown rang him up and put it to him. All very good news, both because we (the SIB board) had been trying without success to persuade the last government to give legislative time to reform the manifestly ...

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