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Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Magdalen College Portraits, 3 May 1984

... money to pay for a picture even if they had wanted to buy it. Now friends of mine, marshalled by Chris Cook, had raised enough to buy the picture of me and offer it to the college. Magdalen College had acquired few portraits of fellows particularly of recent years. I can recollect only one of C.S. Lewis and I am not even sure of him. I seemed peculiarly ...

Crisis at Ettrick Bridge

William Rodgers, 12 October 1989

A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-88 
by Chris Cook.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £9.95, August 1989, 0 333 44884 7
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Against Goliath 
by David Steel.
Weidenfeld, 318 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 9780297796787
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Labour’s Decline and the Social Democrats’ Fall 
by Geoffrey Lee Williams and Alan Lee Williams.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, July 1989, 0 333 46541 5
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Penhaligon 
by Annette Penhaligon.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7475 0501 2
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Citizens’ Britain: A Radical Agenda for the 1990s 
by Paddy Ashdown.
Fourth Estate, 159 pp., £5.95, September 1989, 1 872180 45 0
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... of its MPs to 14. It was clear that the death of Liberal England had been prematurely foretold. As Chris Cook reminds us in the latest edition of his History of the Liberal Party, it was Jo Grimond who turned round the depleted Liberal ranks and marched them towards the sound of gunfire. It seemed a risible endeavour, with Lady Violet Bonham-Carter and ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: On Trade-Unionism, 5 May 1988

... with the same wary pragmatism. It is, I agree, ‘startling’ (the word used by Alan Sked and Chris Cook in their Post-War Britain: A Political History) to find the Director-General of the CBI saying during the General Election campaign of 1974 that the 1971 Act had ‘sullied every relationship at every level between unions and employers and ought ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... the Institute of Fiscal Studies that devised the poll tax; or that the policy editor of Newsnight, Chris Cook, used to be an adviser to David Willetts; or that Nick Robinson, shortly to replace James Naughtie on Today, was once president of the Oxford University Conservative Association. Doubtless most of the time these men do a bang-up job, suspending ...

Short Cuts

Chris Mullin: Anonymous and Abuse, 21 November 2019

... to ‘open fire’ 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 ...

More ‘out’ than ‘on’

Glen Newey: Chris Mullin’s Diaries, 27 August 2009

A View from the Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin 
by Chris Mullin.
Profile, 590 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84668 223 0
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... revive it for the next election. Before he was elected Labour MP for Sunderland South in 1987, Chris Mullin was prominent in the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, as the editor of Tribune in the mid-1980s, and notably in the campaign to quash the Birmingham Six’s convictions. As he comments here – no doubt part joke and part apologia – the ...

For ever Walsall

Angus Calder, 21 March 1985

Rural Life in England in the First World War 
by Pamela Horn.
Gill and Macmillan, 300 pp., £25, November 1984, 0 312 69604 3
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Britain in Our Century: Images and Controversies 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 9780500250914
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Labour and Society in Britain: 1918-1979 
by James Cronin.
Batsford, 248 pp., £8.95, August 1984, 0 7134 4395 2
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Women in England 1870-1950: Sexual Divisions and Social Change 
by Jane Lewis.
Wheatsheaf, 240 pp., £16.95, November 1984, 0 7108 0186 6
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... and so unstable, as to be on the brink of social disintegration, was given by John Stevenson and Chris Cook in The Slump.’ He immediately produces an ‘image’ – one of his book’s 149 illustrations – of the Jarrow Marchers. They look proud and determined. ‘But as the eye pans along to the left and we take in the British bobbie on his ...

Gentlemen Travellers

Denis Donoghue, 18 December 1986

Between the Woods and the Water 
by Patrick Leigh Fermor et al.
Murray, 248 pp., £13.95, October 1986, 0 7195 4264 2
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Coasting 
by Jonathan Raban.
Collins, 301 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 00 272119 8
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The Grand Tour 
by Hunter Davies.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 241 11907 3
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... of maps, and hold yourself ready for adventure. The tourist class was invented by Thomas Cook when he assembled an excursion to the Paris Exposition in 1855. Tourists change their places in groups, live as comfortably as possible, take pleasure in gregariousness, obey injunctions, keep to the main roads, and fulfil plans made by tour-promoters in ...

Secretly Sublime

Iain Sinclair: The Great Ian Penman, 19 March 1998

Vital Signs 
by Ian Penman.
Serpent’s Tail, 374 pp., £10.99, February 1998, 1 85242 523 7
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... all the amphetamine gunslingers proved their manhood: Jim Thompson, Harry Dean Stanton and Robin Cook (a.k.a. Derek Raymond). Penman was the writer who isn’t in the book, talking to people who are, or were, or ought to be. His patch was cinema arcana, curating the ‘sessions men’ as he calls them, jobbing actors with faces full of motel ...

After the May Day Flood

Seumas Milne, 5 June 1997

... Social Chapter, followed by the restoration of the Civil Service unions to GCHQ. Then came Robin Cook’s declaration in favour of a landmine ban – achieved by the simple, but effective, technique of failing to inform the Ministry of Defence in advance. Then there was the cancellation of the deportation order against the adopted Nepalese, Jay Khadka, by ...

There is no alternative to becoming Leadbeater

Nick Cohen: Charles Leadbeater, 28 October 1999

Living on Thin Air: The New Economy 
by Charles Leadbeater.
Viking, 244 pp., £17.99, July 1999, 0 670 87669 0
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... What distinguishes Leadbeater is not the quality of his thought but the eminence of his backers. Chris Patten describes the book as ‘intellectually fascinating ... a fund of insights’. A professor at Harvard Business School claims Leadbeater has found a Fourth Way – to confound those of us who have yet to penetrate the mysteries of the Third. Blair ...

Like a Manta Ray

Jenny Turner: The Entire History of Sex, 22 October 2015

The Argonauts 
by Maggie Nelson.
Graywolf, 143 pp., £23, May 2015, 978 1 55597 707 8
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... one joy of reading Nelson is getting introduced to them: Catherine Opie and A.L. Steiner, Chris Burden and Paul McCarthy, Ryan Trecartin and Mike Kelley, Nao Bustamante and William Pope.L. Nelson spends less time on work that, in her view, is stupid, arrogant or exploitative. Names that come up in this context tend to be better known to mainstream ...

In the Sonora

Benjamin Kunkel: Roberto Bolaño, 6 September 2007

The Savage Detectives 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 577 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 0 330 44514 6
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Last Evenings on Earth 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
Harvill, 277 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 84343 181 7
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Amulet 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 184 pp., $21.95, January 2007, 978 0 8112 1664 7
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... variety of your voices and abysses, manic-depressives in the uncontainable room in Hell where you cook up your Jokes. But from the same passage it is equally clear, if it wasn’t already, that Bolaño’s piety is not to be distinguished from his irony. Is it a noble, properly quixotic folly to address one’s life to such a God? And does the Holy Father of ...

Diary

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

... chins thrust forward, as if on their way to a Royal Marine assault course. Next appears Robin Cook, who is led aside by Alastair Campbell and rehearsed in conspiratorial whispers about what he is to say to the reptiles waiting across the road. Cook, whom I’ve never met, gives me a quick, suspicious ...

Heir to Blair

Christopher Tayler: Among the New Tories, 26 April 2007

... people will be voting in the next election who weren’t even born when Thatcher was in power.’ Chris Grayling, the shadow minister for transport, took a similar position on rail privatisation when he talked to me in January. ‘We just have to draw a line under it,’ he said, ‘and move on.’ He was happy to concede that the Major government’s ...

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