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Eyes and Ears

Anthony Thwaite, 23 June 1988

The Silence in the Garden 
by William Trevor.
Bodley Head, 204 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 9780370312187
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Sea Music 
by David Profumo.
Secker, 207 pp., £10.95, May 1988, 9780436387142
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Tell it me again 
by John Fuller.
Chatto, 202 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 7011 3288 4
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The Continuing Silence of a Poet: The Collected Short Stories of A.B. Yehoshua 
Peter Halban/Weidenfeld, 377 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 1 870015 14 2Show More
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... other novels and stories. Such children are at the centre of William Trevor’s tenth novel and David Profumo’s first; or rather, Trevor seems to have chosen to place young Tom both centrally and peripherally (as children often are, in fiction and in life), while Profumo makes young James the very eyes and ears of ...

Dingy Quadrilaterals

Ian Gilmour: The Profumo Case, 19 October 2006

Bringing the House Down: A Family Memoir 
by David Profumo.
Murray, 291 pp., £20, September 2006, 0 7195 6608 8
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... all because of our fucking surname,’ exclaimed the exasperated Valerie Hobson, the wife of Jack Profumo, when ‘the Profumo scandal’ was resurrected many years after the event. And perhaps she was right, though that cannot be the reason for their son, David Profumo, once more ...

Take a bullet for the team

David Runciman: The Profumo Affair, 21 February 2013

An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 400 pp., £20, January 2013, 978 0 00 743584 5
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... In 1963, the year of his disgrace, the sleek, balding, faintly exotic Jack Profumo was secretary of state for war. It sounds like an important job – what could matter more than war for the functioning of the state? Undoubtedly this helped to give impetus to the Profumo affair ...

Poor Stephen

James Fox, 23 July 1987

An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward 
by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy.
Cape, 268 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 224 02347 0
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Honeytrap: The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward 
by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79122 2
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... place on record their sense of admiration for the dignity and courage displayed by Mr and Mrs John Profumo and their family in the quarter-century since the episode occurred. ‘This letter,’ they continued, ‘also records our feelings that it is now appropriate to consign the episode to history.’ It was an odd letter and I would be surprised if Lord ...

Shoulder-Shrugging

Julian Critchley, 11 December 1997

Dear Bill: Bill Deedes Reports 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 333 71386 9
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... so-called satirists of That Was the Week That Was, a fashionable programme that made a hero out of David Frost. Deedes was at a loss to blunt so vigorous and novel an attack. He was also present at the midnight meeting called to question ‘Jolly Jack’ Profumo about his private life. ...

On my way to the Couch

E.S. Turner, 30 March 1989

On my way to the Club 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 429 pp., £15, January 1989, 0 00 217617 3
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... high polls at Rochdale and he tells us that if he had agreed to fight Edinburgh Central he had David Steel’s ‘generous’ promise that, if he lost, he would be recommended for the Lords. As a communicator he has met or interviewed everybody and travelled everywhere; and he has sufficient faith in television as a universal educator to say that, in this ...

Blame Robert Maxwell

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: How Public Inquiries Go Wrong, 17 March 2016

... into a wide range of matters of public interest, from the Aberfan disaster to the death of David Kelly, Profumo to tabloid phone hacking. On 15 June 2009, Gordon Brown announced an inquiry into the Iraq war – to investigate, as Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry’s chairman, put it, ‘the UK’s involvement in ...

Decisions

John Kenneth Galbraith, 6 March 1986

Truman 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 220 pp., £12.95, February 1986, 0 00 217584 3
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... were unquestionably enhanced as authors by their criminality. However, this is not essential: Mr David Stockman, President Reagan’s first Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the OMB, has been offered a million or so for the rendering of his tenure in public office. This latter involved no known larceny or perversion of law: Mr Stockman gained ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Politicians v. the press, 22 July 2004

... or ‘self-delusion’ as he calls it, in Britain and the United States: respectively, the Profumo affair and Watergate. Funny that. After all, the editor of Private Eye wasn’t the one sleeping with the girlfriend of a Russian diplomat and lying to the House of Commons about it (a reason for resigning, once upon a time); Woodward and Bernstein ...

Prodigals

John Sutherland, 19 August 1982

A Prodigal Child 
by David Storey.
Cape, 319 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 224 02027 7
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The Prodigal Daughter 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 447 pp., £7.95, July 1982, 0 340 27687 8
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Ralph 
by John Stonehouse.
Cape, 318 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 224 02019 6
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The Man from St Petersburg 
by Ken Follett.
Hamish Hamilton, 292 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 241 10783 0
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The Patriot Game 
by George Higgins.
Secker, 237 pp., £7.50, July 1982, 0 436 19589 5
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... David Storey’s new novel begins with a brief prelude reminiscent of The Rainbow’s, tracing the historical mutations of a locality from its natural to its urban (here 1930s) condition. The theme of the novel has other evident similarities with Sons and Lovers. Both deal with the emergence of artistic talent from working-class fetters ...

A Falklands Polemic

Tam Dalyell, 20 May 1982

... to 2 p.m. MPs had to come from their constituencies a.m. and get back to evening meetings p.m.! David Stod-dart (Swindon) had the foresight to see that a three-hour debate would keep out most backbenchers, and called a division suggesting it should be a five-hour debate. Defeated! The end-result was two hours and 40 minutes. With four Front Bench speeches ...

Prince of Darkness

Ian Aitken, 28 January 1993

Rupert Murdoch 
by William Shawcross.
Chatto, 616 pp., £18.99, September 1992, 0 7011 8451 5
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... did Mr Murdoch a huge service when it published the full text of Lord McGregor’s letter to Sir David Calcutt. In that remarkable document the Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission exposed the degree to which the Princess of Wales actively stoked up press interest in the state of her marriage. What is more, it turned out that the facts contained in ...

High Priest of Mumbo-Jumbo

R.W. Johnson, 13 November 1997

Lord Hailsham: A Life 
by Geoffrey Lewis.
Cape, 403 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 224 04252 1
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... and querulous and went home fuming. This turned out to be of considerable consequence. The Profumo affair provided another occasion for Hogg to lose his temper, this time on television: ‘a great party,’ he raged at his interviewer, ‘is not to be brought down because of a squalid affair between a woman of easy virtue and a proven liar.’ Aware ...

Superman Falls to Earth

Ferdinand Mount: Boris Johnson’s First Year, 2 July 2020

... January, they have been managed by a new Task Force Europe, led by Johnson’s chief negotiator, David Frost, a burly, acerbic diplomat, one of the few in the Foreign Office who has always loathed the EU. Frost’s conversations with Michel Barnier have become openly bitter and recriminatory, in a way not seen before. Frost is backed up by contemptuous ...

The Coat in Question

Iain Sinclair: Margate, 20 March 2003

All the Devils Are Here 
by David Seabrook.
Granta, 192 pp., £7.99, March 2003, 9781862075597
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... describes is a traveller’s nightmare: Englishness lost, identity cancelled, fatal infection,’ David Seabrook writes of Thomas De Quincey. Of himself, the dole-queue De Quincey, making a high-velocity, long-term progress through the Isle of Thanet. More speed, less haste: Seabrook is a master of the throwaway put-down, a speculator in tachist ...

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