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Thatcherism

Gordon Brown, 2 February 1989

Thatcherism 
edited by Robert Skidelsky.
Chatto, 214 pp., £18, November 1988, 0 7011 3342 2
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The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left 
by Stuart Hall.
Verso, 283 pp., £24.95, December 1988, 0 86091 199 3
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... ambition and postponed satisfaction, duty and patriotism.’ It is on this aspect that Anthony King and Ivor Crewe concentrate in the Skidelsky collection. Margaret Roberts moved from her Anglo-Poujadist origins via Oxford, the lab and the bar to eventual leadership and Gaullist ambitions, more honoured in rhetoric than in achievement. The ...

This Way to the Ruin

David Runciman: The British Constitution, 7 February 2008

The British Constitution 
by Anthony King.
Oxford, 432 pp., £25, November 2007, 978 0 19 923232 1
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... Does Britain need a written constitution? Of course it does, which is why, as Anthony King points out at the start of this readable and illuminating book, it has one already. Whatever its detractors might think, Britain is not some folkloric society governed according to immemorial custom on the nod and the wink of the people in the know ...

Famous Four

R.W. Johnson, 30 November 1995

SDP: The Birth, Life and Death of the Social Democratic Party 
by Ivor Crewe and Anthony King.
Oxford, 611 pp., £25, November 1995, 0 19 828050 5
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... sociology of the SDP, I later realised, lay before me a decade before the event.Crewe and King might not wholly agree with this, for their view of the SDP élite which triggered the schism (and it was definitely a revolution from above) is far too friendly for them to enter into such cold sociological calculation. They are open about the fact ...

Every inch a king

Antonia Fraser, 16 October 1980

Great Harry 
by Carolly Erickson.
Dent, 428 pp., £8.50, July 1980, 0 460 04366 8
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... In 1968, Professor Scarisbrick’s great work dramatically revised our thinking about the bloat King. Three years later appeared Lacey Baldwin Smith’s rich and racy study of the King’s character, taken from the viewpoint of old age and subtitled ‘The Mask of Royalty’: here Tudor history and modern psychology made ...

The King and I

Alan Bennett, 30 January 1992

... illness. He had an equerry, Colonel Manners, who, bringing him his dinner one day, discovered the King had hidden under the sofa. A Jeeves before his time, Manners imperturbably laid a place for His Majesty on the carpet and put down the plate. He was retiring discreetly when the King said (still sous bergère), ‘That was ...

King Cling

Julian Bell: Kings and Collectors, 5 April 2018

Charles I: King and Collector 
Royal Academy, London, until 15 April 2018Show More
Charles II: Art and Power 
Queen’s Gallery/London, until 13 May 2018Show More
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... Perched​ on one platform, KingCharles I; perched on another, the Dutch painter Daniel Mytens; lowered in between them, a canvas some two feet taller than the king, who was reportedly of small stature. If, as an inscription on the finished portrait insists, the likeness was painted ad vivum, then this might have been the way to do it ...

It’s as if he’d never existed

Anthony Pagden, 18 July 1985

The Transformation of Spain: From Franco to the Constitutional Monarchy 
by David Gilmour.
Quartet, 306 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 9780704324619
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... Spanish version of Le Canard Enchaîné, went as follows: the young prince Felipe asks the king, whether there will be a public holiday when Franco dies. Yes, he replies. And, papa, will there be a holiday when you are declared king? Yes, says the king. And, papa, will there be a ...

Bonté Gracieuse!

Mary Beard: Astérix Redux, 21 February 2002

Asterix and the Actress 
by Albert Uderzo, translated by Anthea Bell.
Orion, 48 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7528 4657 4
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... later as part of the celebrations of Caesar’s triumph in 46 BC. In modern French culture, as Anthony King has emphasised (in a recent supplement to the Journal of Roman Archaeology), Vercingetorix has become a national hero for both Left and Right. In World War Two, for example, he did double duty as ‘the first resistance fighter in our ...

A British Bundesrat?

Colin Kidd: Scotland and the Constitution, 17 April 2014

... the Act of Union the humble equal of the Dentists Act of 1878. The UK is, as Vernon Bogdanor and Anthony King have recently argued, halfway along the road to a written constitution. But there is still no special recognition of the Treaty of Union which created the British state; no guarantee respecting the status of the component nationalities of the ...

Cowboy Coups

Phillip Knightley, 10 October 1991

Smear! Wilson and the Secret State 
by Stephen Dorrill and Robin Ramsay.
Fourth Estate, 502 pp., £20, August 1991, 9781872180687
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... have been.’ That was the extent of the revelations. Needless to say, I wrote nothing, but when Anthony Blunt, Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures and her third cousin once removed, was finally publicly exposed three years later as a onetime Soviet spy, I wondered if the luncheon had not been some convoluted MI5 way of trying to get the Sunday Times interested ...

Collapses of Civilisation

Anthony Snodgrass, 25 July 1991

Centuries of Darkness 
by Peter James.
Chatto, 434 pp., £19.99, April 1991, 9780224026475
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... enough to wreck the modern chronological calculations. There is another obstacle, though – the king-lists. Those grim catalogues of dynasties used to intimidate the readers of old-fashioned history books. But how was this catalogue assembled? It was not merely a matter of adding up the lengths of the successive reigns. The fact is that we do not know how ...

Sideburns

Mary Warnock, 7 February 1980

Charles, Prince of Wales 
by Anthony Holden.
Weidenfeld, 336 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 297 77662 2
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... at Caernarvon came immediately after the joint BBC/IBA film of the Royal Family at home. Anthony Holden suggests that, when watching the Investiture, people were more aware of the domestic than of the ceremonial aspect. He may have got it slightly wrong. It is the combination of the two which is fascinating: not the thought that the hero of the ...

In Service

Anthony Thwaite, 18 May 1989

The Remains of the Day 
by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Faber, 245 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15310 0
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I served the King of England 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Paul Wilson.
Chatto, 243 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3462 3
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Beautiful Mutants 
by Deborah Levy.
Cape, 90 pp., £9.95, May 1989, 0 224 02651 8
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When the monster dies 
by Kate Pullinger.
Cape, 173 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9780224026338
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The Colour of Memory 
by Geoff Dyer.
Cape, 228 pp., £11.95, May 1989, 0 224 02585 6
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Sexual Intercourse 
by Rose Boyt.
Cape, 160 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 0 224 02666 6
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The Children’s Crusade 
by Rebecca Brown.
Picador, 121 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 330 30529 8
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... Hrabal’s little Prague waiter is a much more lightweight servant in every sense. I served the King of England is a freewheeling journey through Bohemia and Magical Realism, and also – in the most flippant and irreverent way – through Czech history, from pre-Munich to post-Communist-takeover times. The narrator begins as a busboy selling ...

The Sultan and I

Anthony Howard, 1 June 1989

By God’s Will: A Portrait of the Sultan of Brunei 
by Lord Chalfont.
Weidenfeld, 200 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 297 79628 3
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The Richest Man in the World: The Sultan of Brunei 
by James Bartholomew.
Viking, 199 pp., £12.95, April 1989, 0 670 82152 7
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... in flowing white, claims to advise a number of political figures around the world, including King Hussein of Jordan, President Mobutu, Rajiv Gandhi and Richard Nixon. He is currently on his way to visit ex-President Marcos in Honolulu. He has met Mrs Thatcher several times. Plainly a figure of some significance – and, no doubt, the Observer’s two ...

Villain’s Talk

John Bayley, 17 April 1986

The Fisher King 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 256 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 434 59926 3
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... he has if he were not immediately and locally real to the audience as he stands in black in the king’s presence chamber. After that moment he can be or become anything the reader or viewer fancies. Timon of Athens, on the other hand, seems to have been present only as an idea to Shakespeare from the very beginning, with the result that he never achieves ...

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