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Diary

Colin Kidd: After the Referendum, 18 February 2016

... Corbyn isn’t likely to prove a doughty champion of the Union. Moreover – the efforts of Gordon Brown apart – there has been a striking lack of imagination and verve in pro-Union campaigning. Better Together was known – by friend and foe alike – as Project Fear, but it was hardly remarkable for its spine-chilling flair. The baton now passes ...

Paper this thing over

Colin Kidd: The Watergate Tapes, 5 November 2015

The Nixon Tapes: 1971-72 
by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 758 pp., $35, July 2014, 978 0 544 27415 0
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The Nixon Defence: What He Knew and When He Knew It 
by John W. Dean.
Penguin, 784 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 312738 3
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Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall 
by Elizabeth Drew.
Duckworth Overlook, 450 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 7156 4916 9
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Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair and the Origins of Watergate 
by Ken Hughes.
Virginia, 228 pp., $16.95, August 2015, 978 0 8139 3664 2
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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan 
by Rick Perlstein.
Simon and Schuster, 860 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 1 4767 8241 6
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... activities at the White House. Evidence soon pointed to the other accomplice at the lookout, Gordon Liddy, legal counsel to CREEP. The situation was complicated, because in some respects the Nixon administration was investigating itself. The FBI was a division of the Justice Department, and therefore part of the executive branch of the US ...

Brown v. Salmond

Colin Kidd: The Scottish Elections, 26 April 2007

... for Edinburgh University Student Publications and edited by the university’s student rector, Gordon Brown. Brown did not succumb to nationalism, of course, but he attempted to reformulate the Labour agenda to take account of Scotland’s national peculiarities. The Red Paper had an immediate impact on party politics. In 1976 one of Brown’s ...

Diary

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

... Howard Davies is appointed chairman-designate of ‘SuperSIB’ (or, as it is later christened by Gordon Brown, the Financial Services Authority), as much to his surprise as everyone else’s. He had been on his way to South America in his capacity as deputy governor of the Bank of England, having just been involved in that same capacity in seeking a ...

On the Coalition

LRB Contributors, 10 June 2010

... the judges, the Scots and the Welsh. There were a couple of weeks in the summer of 2007 when Gordon Brown posed as a modern Leveller. Even Margaret Thatcher had her Norman St John-Stevas, with his ideas about select committees and revitalising Parliament. The Tory-Lib Dem partnership has been noisy enough about civil liberties, constitutional reform and ...

What did you expect?

Steven Shapin: The banality of moon-talk, 1 September 2005

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth 
by Andrew Smith.
Bloomsbury, 308 pp., £17.99, April 2005, 0 7475 6368 3
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... 1969, the Times ran a piece entitled ‘Put a Poet on the Moon’: ‘I am not carping,’ Colin Webb wrote, ‘about Neil Armstrong’s “That’s one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind” – whoever wrote it … A British astronaut would have stuck in a flag and said: “I name this moon Elizabeth.”’ And Michael Collins – the ...

Positively Spaced Out

Rosemary Hill: ‘The Building of England’, 6 September 2001

The Buildings of England: A Celebration Compiled to Mark 50 Years of the Pevsner Architectural Guides 
edited by Simon Bradley and Bridget Cherry.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 128 pp., £9.99, July 2001, 0 9527401 3 3
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... about he developed through the succeeding volumes a style marked by dazzling feats of compression. Colin MacInnes’s essay of 1960 on Pevsner’s English is also reprinted in A Celebration. It compares him, not very illuminatingly, with Conrad but does little to characterise him as a writer. At the Architectural Review in the 1930s, James Richards had found ...

Winterlude

Janette Turner Hospital, 1 August 1996

Talking to the Dead 
by Helen Dunmore.
Viking, 224 pp., £16, July 1996, 0 670 87002 1
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... in 1992 when I read it in Heinemann’s Best Short Stories, the annual selection edited by Giles Gordon and David Hughes. I made a mental note of the author’s name, Helen Dunmore, because I’d never heard of her before. A name to watch for, I thought, and watched for it in The Best of Best Short Stories, 1986-95. Dunmore was not included, which I thought ...

The party’s over

Jan-Werner Müller, 22 May 2014

Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy 
by Peter Mair.
Verso, 174 pp., £15, June 2013, 978 1 84467 324 7
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... In practice, such talk meant that politicians were trying to cut loose from their own parties. Gordon Brown, when he was chancellor, once dismissed a proposal from the trade unions to restore the link between pensions and average earnings; in the face of overwhelming support for the proposal at the Labour Party Conference, Brown declared that it was ‘for ...

‘Wisely I decided to say nothing’

Ross McKibbin: Jack Straw, 22 November 2012

Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a Political Survivor 
by Jack Straw.
Macmillan, 582 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 4472 2275 0
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... was a disaster of America’s making; or of one part of the American administration: he excludes Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice from blame. John Bolton, however, is one of the few people in public life he says he would ‘be happy not to see again’. At the time it was thought that Straw wasn’t as gung-ho as Blair. He says that he felt a ‘powerful ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... or Edwardian toy butchers’ shops. They’re bigger and grander than the one Dad made for Gordon and me c.1940 but whereas these joints are nailed into place, Dad’s were all made to unhook so we could serve them to our imaginary customers at the counter. 25 February. A propos civil liberties the government spokesperson most often put ...

After the Referendum

LRB Contributors, 9 October 2014

... If devo-max proves illusory; if Ed Miliband (loved by many Scottish voters about as much as Gordon Brown is loved in England) proves unelectable; or if there is a vote for UK withdrawal from Europe, support for Scottish independence could surge. Robert Crawford The Scottish Referendum​ of 2014 is a watershed in the history of Britain. The Union of ...

Democratic Warming

Tom Nairn: The Upstaging of the G8, 4 August 2005

... I felt very sorry that Henderson hadn’t lived to see Edina-Reekie-mon amour come into her own. Gordon Brown, who himself once dwelt a few hundred yards above the Meadows, was shown on the same news programme, incorporating the event into the designs of those up in Perthshire. The popular spectacle had played its part in a larger global show, he implied ...

‘No, no,’ replied the fat man

Michael Davie, 3 December 1992

The Power of News: The History of Reuters 
by Donald Read.
Oxford, 330 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 19 821776 5
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... day. The assassination of Lincoln was a clear scoop. There were many others, the death of General Gordon among them. One of the most romantic ‘beats’ – a word that has gone out of fashion – was the Relief of Mafeking, when a Reuters man sent his dispatch from Pretoria to Lourenço Marques hidden in a sandwich, to escape Boer censorship. Almost equally ...

Seventy Years in a Colourful Trade

Andrew O’Hagan: The Soho Alphabet, 16 July 2020

Tales from the Colony Room: Soho’s Lost Bohemia 
by Darren Coffield.
Unbound, 364 pp., £25, April, 978 1 78352 816 5
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... with artists who were busy inventing their reputations. One night, I sat at the bar with Douglas Gordon while he drew me pictures of devils (I have them somewhere). Sarah Lucas and I walked the streets in search of more drink after Damien Hirst told Will Self to ‘crack a fucking smile’. I think I sang with Milli Vanilli. Life coaches will tell you that ...

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