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After Hillhead

David Marquand, 15 April 1982

... Whatever else it may or may not have been, Hillhead was unquestionably a personal triumph for Roy Jenkins. The crowds which packed the silent, thoughtful meetings were drawn by him. The old ladies who switched tremulously and belatedly from the Tories switched to him. The clever-silly London journalists who explained why the SDP bubble was going to burst made their jokes at his expense ...
The Socialist Agenda 
edited by David Lipsey.
Cape, 242 pp., £7.95, January 1981, 0 224 01886 8
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The Future of Socialism 
by Anthony Crosland.
Cape, 368 pp., £8.95, January 1981, 0 224 01888 4
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Politics is for people 
by Shirley Williams.
Allen Lane/Penguin, 230 pp., £8.50, April 1981, 0 7139 1423 8
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... the history of British socialism – into a kind of icon, ‘In The Future of Socialism,’ David Lipsey writes in the first substantial essay in the book, ‘Crosland had erected a towering castle. The rest of his life was devoted to defending it against all comers.’ There is an element of truth in that, but to the extent that it is true it points to ...

Party Man

David Marquand, 1 July 1982

Tony Crosland 
by Susan Crosland.
Cape, 448 pp., £10.95, June 1982, 9780224017879
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... clandestine meetings in his room in the House, where an ill-assorted group – Christopher Price, David Owen, John Mackintosh, Jack Ashley and myself – drank whisky and talked devaluation. When devaluation finally came, I hoped he would become Chancellor of the Exchequer. When he did not, I hoped – incredible as it seems in retrospect – that he would ...

Lessons for Civil Servants

David Marquand, 21 August 1980

The Secret Constitution 
by Brian Sedgemore.
Hodder, 256 pp., £7.95, July 1980, 0 340 24649 9
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The Civil Servants 
by Peter Kellner and Lord Crowther-Hunt.
Macdonald/Jane’s, 352 pp., £9.95, July 1980, 0 354 04487 7
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... The Civil Service attracts so much foolish, ignorant and malicious criticism that the unprejudiced observer is apt to assume, on the principle that mine enemy’s enemy is my friend, that nothing much can be wrong with it. After all, an institution which manages to upset Mr Tony Benn, Lady Falkender, Mr Michael Meacher, Mr Joe Haines, the editor of the Spectator and the sub-editors of the Daily Express cannot be all bad; and from there it is a small step to conclude that it must be all, or nearly all, good ...

Beyond Proportional Representation

David Marquand, 18 February 1982

The People and the Party System: The Referendum and Electoral Reform in British Politics 
by Vernon Bogdanor.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £20, September 1981, 9780521242073
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... The ‘Attlee consensus’, under the aegis of which the welfare state was consolidated and the mixed economy established, has been in ruins for some years now, but it is still too soon to tell whether a new consensus will replace it, or, if so, what the shape of that new consensus will be. The neo-liberal and neo-Marxist models offered by the Thatcherite Right and Bennite Left respectively are patently archaic and barren ...

Anti-Hedonism

David Marquand, 20 September 1984

Politics and the Pursuit of Happiness: An Inquiry into the Involvement of Human Beings in the Politics of Industrial Society 
by Ghita Ionescu.
Longman, 248 pp., £16.50, September 1984, 0 582 29549 1
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... For neo-liberals and neo-socialists, the deepening crisis with which this and other advanced industrial societies have been grappling since the early Seventies is essentially economic – a matter of insufficient competition, or inadequate investment, or lax monetary management, or deflationary fiscal policies, to be put right by the appropriate bag of economic tricks ...

Remaking the Centre

David Marquand, 3 July 1980

Annals of an Abiding Liberal 
by John Kenneth Galbraith.
Deutsch, 388 pp., £6.95, April 1980, 0 233 97209 9
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... For more than a generation, what Europeans call social democracy and what Americans call liberalism has been the dominant political creed of the North Atlantic world. Its achievements have been enormous. As Ralf Dahrendorf points out in his important and persuasive pamphlet, ‘After Social Democracy’,* ‘it has turned the empty promise of freedom of contract into effective citizenship rights; the welfare state lies at the heart of social democratic politics ...

Downhill

David Marquand, 19 September 1985

Years of Recovery: British Economic Policy 1945-51 
by Alec Cairncross.
Methuen, 527 pp., £35, April 1985, 0 416 37920 6
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The Politics of Recession 
by R.W. Johnson.
Macmillan, 275 pp., £20, January 1985, 0 333 36786 3
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The Labour Government 1974-79: Political Aims and Economic Reality 
by Martin Holmes.
Macmillan, 206 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 333 36735 9
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New Jerusalems: The Labour Party and the Economics of Democratic Socialism 
by Elizabeth Durbin and Roy Hattersley.
Routledge, 341 pp., £16.95, March 1985, 9780710096500
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... As late as 1951, the British economy was the strongest in Western Europe. Only the wartime neutrals, Sweden and Switzerland, surpassed us in income per head. In his magisterial new history of the economic policies of the post-war Labour Government, Sir Alec Cairncross shows that our industrial production was larger than that of France and Germany combined ...
Breaking the Mould 
by Ian Bradley.
Martin Robertson, 172 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 85520 469 9
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... Evan Luard’s Socialism Without the State, John Horam’s calls for ‘market socialism’ and David Owen’s evocation of the co-operative, decentralist element in the British socialist tradition exemplified a widespread mood, with which the old Right of the Labour Party had no more in common than had the Left. It was not as new a mood as he seems to ...

Hello, Fred

David Marquand, 21 March 1985

Hugh Dalton 
by Ben Pimlott.
Cape, 731 pp., £25, March 1985, 0 224 02100 1
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... Hugh Dalton was a Member of Parliament for 35 years, a minister for 12, a Front-Bencher for 30 and a member of the Labour Party National Executive for 25. In the Thirties, as Ben Pimlott shows in this absorbing, perceptive and sometimes moving biography, he played a central part (after Bevin, the central part) in dragging the Labour Party out of the semi-pacifist isolationism of the Twenties into a grudging acceptance of re-armament and, when necessary, the use of force ...

What’s wrong with Britain

David Marquand, 6 March 1980

... Thirty years ago, as Keith Middlemas reminds us in his messy, but important and sometimes brilliant new book,* Britain served as the model for the reconstruction of European democracy. Not only the British themselves, but their Continental neighbours, took it for granted that the secret of ordered freedom had been learned more successfully here than anywhere else, and that that secret had been encapsulated in the British version of parliamentary government ...

Nemesis

David Marquand, 22 January 1981

Change and Fortune 
by Douglas Jay.
Hutchinson, 515 pp., £16, June 1980, 0 09 139530 5
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Life and Labour 
by Michael Stewart.
Sidgwick, 288 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 0 283 98686 7
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... After a decade of decline, the old, Fabian right of the Labour Party is now so chastened that it is hard to remember that it was once the dominant tradition in British left-wing politics. These two volumes of autobiography bring back its great days: in doing so, they also throw a good deal of unintentional light on the reasons for its fall. Michael Stewart and Douglas Jay were both awarded Firsts at Oxford in the Twenties, entered Labour politics in the Thirties, held junior office in the Attlee Government in the Forties, supported Gaitskell in the battles of the Fifties and were appointed to Wilson’s Cabinet in the Sixties ...

Putting it on

David Marquand, 12 September 1991

A Life at the Centre 
by Roy Jenkins.
Macmillan, 600 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 333 55164 8
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... My favourite memory of Roy Jenkins dates from a golden July evening during the Warrington by-election. He is standing in the front garden of a council house, deep in conversation with an elderly Labour housewife, for whose support he is canvassing. Stooping slightly, and with a courtly gravitas that would not have seemed out of place at a European Summit, he is explaining why the ‘fluctooations’ which have characterised British economic policy for the last ten years have done so much damage to our international credit ...

Maximum Embarrassment

David Marquand, 7 May 1987

Nye Bevan and the Mirage of British Socialism 
by John Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £15.95, March 1987, 0 297 78998 8
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The Political Diary of Hugh Dalton: 1918-40, 1945-60 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape, 752 pp., £40, January 1987, 0 224 01912 0
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... As the Labour Party continues to unravel, it becomes more and more obvious that the follies and misadventures which have plagued it during the last few months can be understood only against the background of the betrayals, suspicions and hatreds of more than a generation of civil war. It is not, of course, the only mass party of the Left in trouble ...

Citizens

David Marquand, 20 December 1990

Citizenship and Community: Civic Republicanism and the Modern World 
by Adrian Oldfield.
Routledge, 196 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 415 04875 3
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Community and the Economy: The Theory of Public Co-operation 
by Jonathan Boswell.
Routledge, 226 pp., £30, October 1990, 0 415 05556 3
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Encouraging citizenship: Report of the Commission on Citizenship 
HMSO, 129 pp., £8, September 1990, 0 11 701464 8Show More
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... As the enterprise culture crumbles, and a sadder and wiser society begins to count the cost, two connected themes – one novel and surprising, at least in its present form, the other a ghost from a half-forgotten past – have acquired an unexpected urgency. The first is the theme of citizenship, of civility, of membership of and participation in a community bound together by ties of mutual obligation ...

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