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Lotus and Seed Corn

Austin Mitchell, 5 March 1981

Downing Street Diary: The Macmillan Years 1957-1963 
by Harold Evans.
Hodder, 318 pp., £9.95, February 1981, 0 340 25897 7
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... gear – permanently. Perhaps we were tired after our historic effort to make the world safe for Austin-Morris cars to break down in, but living on our diet of lotus and seed corn we complacently ignored the warning chorus of Schonfields, Shankses and Croslands. BSA profits supported Lady Docker. ‘British Achievements Speak for Britain,’ said the ...

Labour Pains

Phillip Whitehead, 8 November 1979

Arguments for Socialism 
by Tony Benn.
Cape, 206 pp., £5.95
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Socialism without the State 
by Evan Luard.
Macmillan, 184 pp., £3.95
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Can Labour Win Again? 
by Austin Mitchell.
Fabian Society, 30 pp., £75
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Enemies of Democracy 
by Paul McCormick.
Temple Smith, 228 pp., £7.50
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... for socialism as a liberating force, capable once more of converting men and women to its cause. Austin Mitchell, one of the few MPs with some training in political science, has described how urgent the task of expanding the Party now is. Mr Mitchell, like Mr Benn, is a populist, for whom no good ever comes out of ...

Short Cuts

James Meek: Anglospheroids, 21 March 2013

... the Better Off Out group, supported by such luminaries as Frederick Forsyth, Norman Tebbit and Austin Mitchell. What is it, though? Lovers of the Anglosphere can’t agree on its constituent parts. The cultural Anglosphere, those countries and regions where English is a literary language, is seldom coterminous with the geopolitical one. Sometimes ...

Trouble at the Fees Office

Jonathan Raban: Alice in Expenses Land, 11 June 2009

... I really, really struggle because I know we do have some decent MPs. Strangely, I don’t think Austin [Austin Mitchell, Grimsby’s MP since 1977] has done anything hugely wrong, but he’s an idiot about it. In the UK press’s coverage of the public mood, too little has been heard from ‘the lady up there on the ...

Bevan’s Boy

John Campbell, 20 September 1984

The Making of Neil Kinnock 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 571 13266 9
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Neil Kinnock: The Path to Leadership 
by G.M.F. Drower.
Weidenfeld, 162 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 297 78467 6
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... Benn’s losing his seat at the General Election. But to rehearse again these murky events in what Austin Mitchell (with remarkable fatalism for one who is still a Labour MP) has called ‘four years in the death of the Labour Party’ is only to emphasise how inward-looking his career has been. He won the Labour Party by careful years of ...

Staying in power

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 7 January 1988

Mrs Thatcher’s Revolution: The Ending of the Socialist Era 
by Peter Jenkins.
Cape, 411 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 224 02516 3
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De-Industrialisation and Foreign Trade 
by R.E. Rowthorn and J.R. Wells.
Cambridge, 422 pp., £40, November 1988, 0 521 26360 3
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... the Conservatives 43. Notwithstanding the new blue suits and roses, it is increasingly clear, as Austin Mitchell wrote in July, that Labour is ‘being relegated to the peripheries of British life, because our structures, ethos and attitudes tie us to a world that is dying’. In Britain, as elsewhere, we may be seeing, in Jenkins’s own ...

Why are you still here?

James Meek: Who owns Grimsby?, 23 April 2015

... about politics and abdication in Grimsby is, for most people, to assume you’re talking about Austin Mitchell, the 80-year-old Labour MP who will step down in May after almost four decades. Mitchell won the seat in a by-election in 1977 after Crosland died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage. Muriel Barker, a veteran ...

Emily v. Mabel

Susan Eilenberg: Emily Dickinson, 30 June 2011

Lives like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Virago, 491 pp., £9.99, April 2011, 978 1 84408 453 1
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Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 535 pp., £25.95, September 2010, 978 0 674 04867 6
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... the ‘fiery mist’ in which he said she ‘enshrouded’ herself. She puzzled her brother, Austin. He complained he could not ‘comprehend’ her letters to him and demanded ‘a simpler style’. He thought she ‘posed’. And he was right. She could manage plainness well enough when it suited her. But sometimes plainness did not suit her, and she ...


Richard Jenkyns: George Grote’s ‘A History of Greece’, 9 August 2001

A History of Greece: From the Time of Solon to 403 BC 
by George Grote, edited by J.M. Mitchell and M.O.B. Caspari.
Routledge, 978 pp., £60, September 2000, 0 415 22369 5
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... faith, Grote’s spiritual home is among the philosophical radicals; he belongs with Bentham, Austin and the Mills in a world of religious scepticism and high-minded striving for the public good, the milieu from which Utilitarianism sprang, and the ‘godless college in Gower Street’. These influences were to inform his History, and can be seen ...

I’m a Surfer

Steven Shapin: What’s the Genome Worth?, 20 March 2008

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life 
by Craig Venter.
Allen Lane, 390 pp., £25, October 2007, 978 0 7139 9724 8
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... wants more, for possessions distract him from doing his beloved work. He is content with an Austin instead of a Packard; with a table model TV set instead of a console; with factory rather than tailor-made suits. . . . To boil it down, he is primarily interested in what he can do for science, not in what science can do for him. Around the same ...

Not in My House

Mark Ford: Flannery O’Connor, 23 July 2009

Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor 
by Brad Gooch.
Little, Brown, 448 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 316 00066 6
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... Gone with the Wind.”’ O’Connor’s Georgia could hardly be further from the Tara of Margaret Mitchell. O’Connor has much fun mocking elegant diction and manners, and the Southern obsession with bloodlines: ‘I know you’re a good man,’ the Grandmother tells the psychotic Misfit, who is on the run from the federal penitentiary, in ‘A Good Man Is ...

The Ground Hostess

Francis Wyndham, 1 April 1983

... and decided the thing to do was get out of the house by hook or by crook so I rang up an Austin Princess and took it to Hampstead and told it to wait outside for twenty minutes while I went to this creepy party. Of course the whole thing turned out to be a total failure and the party was a complete nightmare, but never mind, I was introduced to this ...

I am a knife

Jacqueline Rose: A Woman’s Agency, 22 February 2018

Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus 
by Vanessa Grigoriadis.
Houghton Mifflin, 332 pp., £20, September 2017, 978 0 544 70255 4
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Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus 
by Laura Kipnis.
HarperCollins, 245 pp., £20, April 2017, 978 0 06 265786 2
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Living a Feminist Life 
by Sara Ahmed.
Duke, 312 pp., £20.99, February 2017, 978 0 8223 6319 4
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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body 
by Roxane Gay.
Corsair, 288 pp., £13.99, July 2017, 978 1 4721 5111 7
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Difficult Women 
by Roxane Gay.
Corsair, 272 pp., £13.99, January 2017, 978 1 4721 5277 0
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... he is reformed or, to use the current term, ‘woke’. This is how a student at the University of Austin, Texas described his new ethos to Grigoriadis: ‘Shave with the grain the first time, always buy tools you don’t have to replace, don’t aim a gun at someone unless you intend to shoot them. Don’t have sex with anyone who doesn’t want to have sex ...

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