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... A few years back I was having lunch in Soho with a London publisher, trying tactfully to find out why a book of mine – about Scotland – cost so much and never seemed available in Scottish bookshops. I cited an Edinburgh firm whose handsomely-produced list seemed ubiquitous in the north and also quite affordable. ‘Ah,’ said my host, ‘but X is only worried about where his next Chinese carry-out is coming from,’ We cultivate literature on a little Egg Foo Yong? It seems we do ...

Diary

Christopher Harvie: Cars and Cuckoo Clocks, 26 January 1995

... Cuckoo clocks,’ said the President. Orson Welles on the Prater Wheel slipped in and out of my mind. ‘Cuckoo clocks: the one area where the Swiss haven’t run us out of business.’ Last year I was made cochair of a government-university colloquium on the future of industry and society in Baden-Württemberg, Europe’s most prosperous region, but one perilously dependent on the building of cars ...

Devolution Doom

Christopher Harvie: Scotland’s crisis, and some solutions, 5 September 2002

... You don’t hate us in Scotland, Master?’ said Professor John Stuart Blackie, the Teuto-Gaelic classicist, to Jowett of Balliol. ‘We never think of you at all,’ came the lapidary reply. Drafting a sketch for a BBC radio programme on devolution, I was rung by Professor Phil Williams, a colleague at Aberystwyth who is also Plaid Cymru’s spokesman on energy ...

Triumph of the Termites

Tom Nairn: Gordon Brown, 8 April 2010

The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Viking, 802 pp., £25, March 2010, 978 0 670 91851 5
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What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown?: How the Dream Job Turned Sour 
edited by Colin Hughes.
Guardian, 294 pp., £8.99, January 2010, 978 0 85265 219 0
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Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown 
by Christopher Harvie.
Verso, 206 pp., £8.99, February 2010, 978 1 84467 439 8
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... dithering photo of the prime minister fronts What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown? The cover of Christopher Harvie’s book features a cartoon from the Independent: an apocalyptic lightning flash strikes and anoints David Cameron, while Brown and Alistair Darling flee London as Parliament quakes against the background of a setting sun. Andrew ...

At the Skunk Works

R.W. Johnson, 23 February 1995

Fool’s Gold: The Story of North Sea Oil 
by Christopher Harvie.
Hamish Hamilton, 408 pp., £18.99, October 1994, 0 241 13352 1
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... futuristic. It was, in Alvarez’s phrase, ‘outer space with bad weather’. This is the story Christopher Harvie has to tell. His is an immensely important book – astonishingly, there is no other good account in print of the North Sea phenomenon which has changed the world oil market, transformed the British and Norwegian economies ...

Missing Elements

Rosalind Mitchison, 14 May 1992

Strategic Women: How do they manage in Scotland? 
by Elizabeth Gerver and Lesley Hart.
Aberdeen University Press, 216 pp., £9.95, June 1991, 0 08 037741 6
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A Guid Cause: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Scotland 
by Leah Leneman.
Aberdeen University Press, 304 pp., £11.95, June 1991, 0 08 041201 7
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Marriage and Property: Women and Marital Customs in History 
edited by Elizabeth Craik.
Aberdeen University Press, 192 pp., £6.95, June 1991, 9780080412054
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A Woman’s Claim of Right in Scotland 
Polygon, 142 pp., £7.95, August 1991, 0 7486 6103 4Show More
Nationalism in the Nineties 
edited by Tom Gallagher.
Polygon, 192 pp., £7.95, August 1991, 0 7486 6098 4
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Cultural Weapons: Scotland and Survival in a New Europe 
by Christopher Harvie.
Polygon, 119 pp., £7.95, March 1992, 0 7486 6122 0
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Literature and Nationalism 
edited by Vincent Newey and Ann Thompson.
Liverpool, 286 pp., £27.50, June 1991, 0 85323 057 9
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The Invention of Scotland: The Stuart Myth of the Scottish Identity, 1638 to the present 
by Murray Pittock.
Routledge, 198 pp., £30, September 1991, 0 415 05586 5
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Scotland: A New History 
by Michael Lynch.
Century, 499 pp., £18.99, August 1991, 0 7126 3413 4
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... on the labour Government in 1979, which Callaghan called ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. Christopher Harvie’s book, a miscellaneous collection of essays and journalism, pursues an interesting theme in the comparison of British government with the much more dispersed structure of West Germany. Its value is the recognition of how 13 years of the ...

A Slight Dash of the Tiresome

Brian Harrison, 9 November 1989

The Blind Victorian: Henry Fawcett and British Liberalism 
edited by Lawrence Goldman.
Cambridge, 199 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 521 35032 8
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... lived he would probably have resigned in the midst of the franchise reform crisis of 1884, and Harvie seems to share Mrs Fawcett’s view that in 1886 he would have split with Gladstone by declaring against Home Rule for Ireland. Goldman’s book originated in a conference at Fawcett’s old Cambridge college in 1984. After a well-balanced and informative ...

From the Outer Edge

Rory Scothorne: ‘Painting Nationalism Red’, 6 December 2018

Tom Nairn: ‘Painting Nationalism Red’? 
by Neal Ascherson.
Democratic Left Scotland, 27 pp., £4, February 2018
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... to return to it,’ Neal Ascherson wrote in the Scottish political review Q in 1975. The historian Christopher Harvie described the emigrant intellectuals who pepper Scottish history as ‘red Scots’: ‘cosmopolitan, self-avowedly “enlightened” and, given a chance, authoritarian, expanding into and exploiting greater and more bountiful fields than ...

Enemies of Promise

Angus Calder, 2 March 1989

Breach of Promise: Labour in Power 1964-1970 
by Clive Ponting.
Hamish Hamilton, 433 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12683 5
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James Maxton 
by Gordon Brown.
Fontana, 336 pp., £4.95, February 1988, 0 00 637255 4
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Forward! Labour Politics in Scotland 1888-1988 
edited by Ian Donnachie, Christopher Harvie and Ian Wood.
Polygon, 184 pp., £19.50, January 1989, 0 7486 6001 1
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... Just seventy years after Friday, 31 January 1919, when troops and tanks stood by to quell a mass rally, in Glasgow’s George Square, of West of Scotland workers campaigning for a forty-hour week, the event was remembered in the People’s Palace, the museum of labour history on Glasgow Green. A bronze bust of Willie Gallacher by Ian Walters was not so much unveiled as proclaimed ...

The money’s still out there

Neal Ascherson: The Scottish Empire, 6 October 2011

To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £25, August 2011, 978 0 7139 9744 6
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The Inner Life of Empires: An 18th-Century History 
by Emma Rothschild.
Princeton, 483 pp., £24.95, June 2011, 978 0 691 14895 3
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... serious but highly readable, were reappearing as Ash wrote: Rosalind Mitchison, T.C. Smout and Christopher Harvie were among the most successful authors. They wrote mostly narrative or social history, revealing unknown territory to generations who had learned almost nothing of Scotland’s past at school. Now, though, the fashion is more ...

English Marxists in dispute

Roy Porter, 17 July 1980

Arguments within English Marxism 
by Perry Anderson.
New Left Books, 218 pp., £3.95, May 1980, 0 86091 727 4
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Capitalism, State Formation and Marxist Theory 
edited by Philip Corrigan.
Quartet, 232 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 7043 2241 2
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Writing by Candlelight 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin, 286 pp., £2.70, May 1980, 0 85036 257 1
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... regard Marxist historiography as a menace. Professor J.H. Hexter’s recent ad hominem assault on Christopher Hill’s scholarly integrity seems to reveal the same crusading zeal on the other side of the Atlantic. Furthermore, in a cunning jest of History, some Marxist philosophers have latterly enlisted in the armies of the Right in denying Lebensraum to ...

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