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Short Cuts

Chris Mullin: Anonymous and Abuse, 21 November 2019

... on the political figures who opposed the war, prominent among them Robin Cook, Clare Short, Charles Kennedy and the UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. The accompanying text read: ‘You can aim your own missiles at the cowards and traitors who opted to support Saddam Hussein rather than the brave troops who laid down their lives for freedom.’ At ...

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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... and 1979-97. There is a basic failure to understand a key question of political sociology here. Charles Kennedy bemoans the fact that the turnout in elections is falling, pointing out that the 71.4 per cent turnout in 1997 was the lowest in any general election since 1945 and was followed by a further slump in the 1999 Euro-elections, when fewer than ...

Swearing by Phrenology

John Vincent, 3 February 2000

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism 
by Conrad Russell.
Duckworth, 128 pp., £12.95, September 1999, 0 7156 2947 6
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... reasonably intrude here. The Liberals today, as always, are nothing if not fissiparous. Besides Charles Kennedy’s Lib Dems, there is another Liberal party: the Liberal Party, properly so called. Its lineage is impeccable. It exists nationwide, if patchily, it fights elections, it is entirely unsuccessful. The media never mention it. Its relevance ...

The Stamp of One Defect

David Edgar: Jeremy Thorpe, 30 July 2015

Jeremy Thorpe 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 606 pp., £25, December 2014, 978 0 316 85685 0
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Closet Queens: Some 20th-Century British Politicians 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 320 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 4087 0412 7
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... the editor of the Times) for the Union presidency. Like one of his successors as Liberal leader, Charles Kennedy, he became an MP at a young age and came to public notice through his entertaining performances on radio (particularly in Any Questions?) and television. By the time of his election to the Liberal Party leadership in 1967, succeeding Jo ...

Just what are those teeth for?

Ian Hamilton, 24 April 1997

... niche. The most ‘human’ politicians I have seen so far have tended to be Liberal Democrats: Charles Kennedy, Conrad Russell, Menzies Campbell. But then, it will be said, politicians such as these can well afford to be themselves. From the two interested parties, Kenneth Clarke is, of course, known to be attractively ‘robust’, not to say ...

Only Lower Upper

Peter Clarke: The anti-establishment establishment Jo Grimond, 5 May 2005

Liberal Lion: Jo Grimond, a Political Life 
by Peter Barberis.
Tauris, 266 pp., £19.50, March 2005, 1 85043 627 4
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... And on defining issues – Suez for him, Iraq for us – more radical than Labour? In this sense, Charles Kennedy can truly claim to have put the Liberal Democrats in the firing line by an exercise in leadership that only in hindsight looks more obviously correct – and hence less courageously bold – than it seemed two years ago. In 1956 we were ...

Those Genes!

Charles Wheeler, 17 July 1997

Personal History 
by Katharine Graham.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £25, May 1997, 9780297819646
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... took over the company when her husband shot himself in 1963. It was Philip Graham who induced John Kennedy to choose Lyndon Johnson as his running-mate in 1960. This was wise and far-reaching advice, for without Johnson on the ticket Kennedy would not have been elected. Consequently, without Graham’s intervention there ...

Coalition Monsters

Colin Kidd, 6 March 2014

In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government 
by Matthew D’Ancona.
Penguin, 414 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 670 91993 2
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... the Rockinghamites (nominally headed by the Marquess of Rockingham, but whose effective leader was Charles James Fox) and the followers of Lord Shelburne. This ministry was riddled with dispute, and on Rockingham’s death in the summer of 1782 the Foxites abandoned Shelburne’s new government, which itself imploded in the spring of 1783. As in 2010, when the ...

Make enemies and influence people

Ross McKibbin: Why Vote Labour?, 20 July 2000

... places, like Dover, where immigration politics always matter, but at the Romsey by-election Charles Kennedy made such a point of his comparatively liberal attitude to asylum-seekers that hardly any voter could have been unaware that asylum-seeking was an electoral issue. Although psephological wisdom has it that the Conservative defeat was due to ...

Showboating

John Upton: George Carman, 9 May 2002

No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman 
by Dominic Carman.
Hodder, 331 pp., £18.99, January 2002, 0 340 82098 5
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... the one great aim of his career. Much later, he was promised a Liberal Democrat peerage by Charles Kennedy, which also never materialised. These rejections both spurred him on and crushed him. Sadly, life at the Bar has not changed a great deal since Carman began in practice. He almost left it a number of times in his early years because of the ...

The Obdurate Knoll

Colin Kidd: The Obdurate Knoll, 1 December 2011

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan 
by Jeff Greenfield.
Putnam, 434 pp., £20.25, March 2011, 978 0 399 15706 6
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11.22.63 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 740 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 4447 2729 6
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... custody at the hands of Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner. Despite these anomalous features, Kennedy’s assassination was – conceptually speaking – a straightforward event. While academic historians have had plenty to say about his politics and legacy, they have largely ignored his death. That subject – perhaps the canonical event in amateur ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Politicians and the Press, 26 January 2006

... though this applies more to the editors of newspapers – the recent revelations about Charles Kennedy’s alcoholism. No one was especially surprised when the Liberal Democrat leader confessed on 5 January: journalists had known – and had been dropping hints – about his drinking problem for a very long time. They had refrained from ...

Fear of Flying

Paul Kennedy, 21 November 1985

No Longer an Island: Britain and the Wright Brothers 1902-1909 
by Alfred Gollin.
Heinemann, 468 pp., £18, October 1984, 0 434 29902 2
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... brothers’ invention would be acquired, second-hand, as it were, from the single machine which Charles Rolls was planning to purchase from them. There would be no direct relationship between the British Government and the Wright brothers, and all the hand-shaking and banquets in their honour when they visited London in May 1909 were merely a guise by the ...

Mistrial

Michael Davie, 6 June 1985

The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Case and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 438 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 00 217060 4
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... all. It is a sign of the passing of time that on the dustjacket of this book the name of Ludovic Kennedy is five times bigger than Lindbergh’s. Half a century ago, nobody’s name was bigger than Lindy’s. Lindbergh was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, the son of a Congressman; his parents parted when he was 14. He left school at 16, learned farm ...

The Nominee

Andrew O’Hagan: With the Democrats, 19 August 2004

... sidewalk before slowing to a halt outside the green house at 83 Beals Street, the house where John Kennedy was born. The windows on the ground floor had curtains of Irish lace. ‘That dog has no right to be walking over there,’ said the lady. The young man smiled and snapped his fingers. ‘Dog got no sense of history,’ he said, then he laughed. ‘And ...

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