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Every club in the bag

Michael Howard, 10 September 1992

The Chiefs: The Story of the United Kingdom Chiefs of Staff 
by Bill Jackson and Dwin Bramall.
Brassey, 508 pp., £29.95, April 1992, 0 08 040370 0
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... big book about it. With trained military skill they camouflage their identity on the dust-jacket: Bill Jackson and Dwin Bramall they call themselves, for all the world as if they were just reporters on the sunday Times. Then on the title-page they unmask their batteries, and we find that we are actually in the hands of General Sir William ...

On Bill Gates

Thomas Jones, 4 March 2021

... was only a partial truth. ‘Today seems to be a good day to remind everyone,’ tweeted Dominique Jackson, a (Democratic) Colorado state representative, ‘that the electrical grid in Texas was deregulated, privatised, and then removed from interconnected networks to avoid federal regulation or renewable energy options and to increase profits to a small ...

Capitalism’s Capital

Jackson Lears: The Man Who Built New York, 17 March 2016

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York 
by Robert Caro.
Bodley Head, 1246 pp., £35, July 2015, 978 1 84792 364 6
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... State Park Commission and chair of the newly created State Parks Council. Moses had drafted the bill establishing the commission: he made the president’s term longer than the governor’s, and also made it impossible to remove the president from office without detailed charges of misconduct and a formal public hearing. He was learning how to be ‘the ...

Dye the Steak Blue

Lidija Haas: Shirley Jackson, 19 August 2010

Shirley JacksonNovels and Stories 
edited by Joyce Carol Oates.
Library of America, 827 pp., $35, May 2010, 978 1 59853 072 8
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... In Shirley Jackson’s best-known story, ‘The Lottery’, the residents of a small New England village get together on a summer morning to draw lots. The sun shines, the children play, the villagers chat: it takes a few pages to figure out that they’re deciding who should be stoned to death this year. The New Yorker published the story in 1948, and got more calls and letters and cancelled subscriptions than ever before or since ...

A Book of Evasions

Paul Muldoon, 20 March 1980

Visitors Book 
Poolbeg Press, 191 pp., £5.50, November 1979, 0 905169 22 0Show More
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... activist, rushes off to a political meeting in Galway, leaving her disenchanted English husband, Jackson, to potter about the house and environs. He has a dream in which she appears with a fork stuck in her forehead, and delivers herself of the legend: ‘It was yourself sank down the fork till it came into the flesh of my head: and I have come to bring it ...

Rat-Catchers, Dog-Butchers

Jessie Childs: England under Siege, 6 January 2022

Devil-Land: England under Siege, 1588-1688 
by Clare Jackson.
Allen Lane, 682 pp., £35, September 2021, 978 0 241 28581 7
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... that fear is the chief driver of man. Hobbes would have recognised the England depicted in Clare Jackson’s Devil-Land, a country in danger of ‘popish’ encirclement, beset by disaster, and suffering from rebellion and religious extremism. ‘To contemporaries and foreigners alike,’ she writes, ‘17th-century England was a failed state.’ Far from ...

Just about Anything You Want

Ben Jackson: Guerrilla Open Access, 6 October 2016

The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz 
by Aaron Swartz.
Verso, 368 pp., £15.99, February 2016, 978 1 78478 496 6
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... which led to one of his most successful campaigns: the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill giving the authorities sweeping powers to shut down whole websites in the interest of intellectual property holders; thanks to an internet-wide protest, the bill was voted down in 2012. Movements like this, in Swartz’s ...

Don’t talk to pigeons

Ben Jackson: MI5 in WW1, 22 January 2015

MI5 in the Great War 
edited by Nigel West.
Biteback, 434 pp., £25, July 2014, 978 1 84954 670 6
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... the attorney general claimed in the House of Commons that there was ‘nothing novel’ in the bill, Alpheus Morton, MP for Sutherland, rose and snapped: ‘It upsets Magna Carta altogether.’ Finally, the proponents of the bill were reduced to denying that it created any precedent, to which Byles ...

Anti-Party Party

Ben Jackson: The Greens, 7 May 2015

Honourable Friends? Parliament and the Fight for Change 
by Caroline Lucas.
Portobello, 281 pp., £14.99, March 2015, 978 1 84627 593 7
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... Keep It in the Ground, which calls on the world’s two biggest charitable funds – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust – to divest from fossil fuel companies, represent an attempt to bring about change by circumventing politics. ‘The divestment campaign is not arguing for an end of all fossil fuel use starting ...

After Leveson

Stephen Sedley, 11 April 2013

... appearance of independence. The last-minute consensus in the Commons has liberated the Defamation Bill, which has the quite separate purpose of rationalising the law of libel, from the amendment which the Lords, in desperation at the Commons’ inertia, had attached to the bill as it left for the Commons in an attempt to ...


Jackson Lears: On Chomsky, 4 May 2017

Why Only Us: Language and Evolution 
by Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky.
MIT, 215 pp., £18.95, February 2016, 978 0 262 03424 1
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Because We Say So 
by Noam Chomsky.
Penguin, 199 pp., £9.99, August 2016, 978 0 241 97248 9
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What Kind of Creatures Are We? 
by Noam Chomsky.
Columbia, 167 pp., £17, January 2016, 978 0 231 17596 8
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Who Rules the World? 
by Noam Chomsky.
Hamish Hamilton, 307 pp., £18.99, May 2016, 978 0 241 18943 6
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Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals 
by Neil Smith and Nicholas Allott.
Cambridge, 461 pp., £18.99, January 2016, 978 1 107 44267 2
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... Putin might be ‘a killer’, ‘There are a lot of killers.’ ‘What do you think?’ he asked Bill O’Reilly. ‘Our country’s so innocent?’ Defenders of conventional wisdom were livid at any hint that ‘the indispensable nation’ might be as imperfect as any other. Chomsky’s universalist perspective has enabled him to develop a powerful critique ...

Thou shalt wage class war

Gareth Stedman Jones, 1 November 1984

Proletarian Philosophers: Problems in Socialist Culture in Britain 1900-1940 
by Jonathan Rée.
Oxford, 176 pp., £15, February 1984, 0 19 827261 8
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... Sometime in the late Sixties, I was invited, along with some senior socialist historians, to meet Bill Craik, a veteran and pioneer, so I was told, of independent working-class education. The intention was to find a practical means of honouring his work. I was taken to a tiny North London council flat, and there sitting in the middle of its cramped living-room, I encountered a very ancient and frail-looking man, striking mainly for the large and antique ear-trumpet which he applied when straining to catch remarks addressed to him ...

Obama v. Clinton: A Retrospective

Eliot Weinberger: A Tale of Two Candidates, 3 July 2008

... On the final night of the relentless presidential primary campaign, Jesse Jackson compared Barack Obama’s victory to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Erica Jong compared Hillary Clinton’s defeat to watching Joan of Arc burning at the stake. Obama was in St Paul, Minnesota, pointedly in the very arena where the Republicans will hold their convention in September, at times barely audible over the nearly continual cheering of 17,000 fans (with another 15,000 listening outside ...


Jackson Lears: Ralph Nader’s novel, 8 April 2010

Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 
by Ralph Nader.
Seven Stories, 733 pp., $27.50, September 2009, 978 1 58322 903 3
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... Max Palevsky (computer software), Sol Price (big-box retailing), Barry Diller (mass media) and Bill Gates Sr (corporate law). It is a New Deal coalition (Irishmen, Anglos, Italians, Jews) updated with one African-American man, Bill Cosby, and one Asian-American woman, Yoko Ono. (The supporting cast includes a host of ...

Short Cuts

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Plainly Unconstitutional, 21 October 2021

... early in the court’s history, the chief justice reached a decision that President Andrew Jackson disliked, Jackson is said to have remarked: ‘John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.’) If the court’s decisions are not seen as legitimate, its power could fade.Stephen Breyer, a Supreme Court ...

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