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Ian Aitken: Closing Time at the Last Chance Saloon, 6 August 1992

... London Evening Standard had turned down the editorship of the Times in favour of succeeding Sir David English at the Daily Mail. As a boy, wrote Sir Perry, he had wanted to be editor of the Times more than anything in the world. So when Mr Paul Dacre picked Rothermere’s Daily Mail in preference to Rupert Murdoch’s Times, Worsthorne’s first reaction ...

Who Runs Britain?

Christopher Hitchens, 8 December 1994

The Enemy Within: MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair 
by Seumas Milne.
Verso, 352 pp., £18.95, November 1994, 0 86091 461 5
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... rigging of a High Court jury, exposed the complete dependence of the Labour Home Secretary Merlyn Rees on the ‘advice’ of comical yet sinister reactionaries in the security underworld – forces that had demonstrated many times that they did not care about election results and did not care for election results that returned non-Tory governments. Roy ...


Rosemary Hill: Rosamund Lehmann’s Disappointments, 8 August 2002

Rosamond Lehmann 
by Selina Hastings.
Chatto, 476 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 6542 1
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... of her time at Cambridge that she got her own first ‘dusty answer’. She fell for the dashing David Keswick, who seemed so ‘very, very smitten’ that after one kiss she knew they would be together for ever. She was devastated when he explained he had been engaged to somebody else for years. She renounced love and made a short, disastrous marriage on ...

Real Things

Barbara Wootton, 5 April 1984

McNee’s Law: The Memoirs of Sir David McNee 
by David McNee.
Collins, 256 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 00 217007 8
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Police and People in London. Vol. I: A Survey of Londoners 
by David Smith.
Policy Studies Institute, 386 pp., £7.40, November 1983, 0 85374 223 5
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Police and People in London. Vol. II: A Group of Young Black People 
by Stephen Small.
Policy Studies Institute, 192 pp., £4.60, November 1983, 0 85374 224 3
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Police and People in London. Vol. III: A Survey of Police Officers 
by David Smith.
Policy Studies Institute, 216 pp., £6.20, November 1983, 0 85374 225 1
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Police and People in London. Vol. IV: The Police in Action 
by David Smith and Jeremy Gray.
Policy Studies Institute, 368 pp., £7.40, November 1983, 9780853742265
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... Fifty-eight years ago the man we now know as Sir David McNee was born in dire poverty in a Glasgow tenement. His father was a railwayman, and a staunch tradeunionist who rose ‘through a variety of jobs’ to be driver of many famous trains, including the ‘Royal Scot’. His mother was the daughter of a railwayman ...
Who Framed Colin Wallace? 
by Paul Foot.
Macmillan, 306 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 333 47008 7
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... lists were drawn up of such notorious Communists or Communist sympathisers as Brian Walden, David Owen, Robert Mellish, John Stonehouse, Roy Hattersley and Reg Prentice; and even a bogus pamphlet on ‘revolutionary strategy’ for the installation of socialism in Britain was contrived for off-the-record briefing of American journalists, the joint ...

What’s left of Henrietta Lacks?

Anne Enright: HeLa, 13 April 2000

... At the age of 23 she moved to Turner’s Station, near Baltimore, Maryland, joining her husband David. She had five children, four of whom – Deborah, David Jr, Lawrence and Zakariyya – still survive. Ms Lacks was known as pleasant and smiling, and always willing to lend a helping hand. Because it is the Congressional ...

Competition is for losers

David Runciman: Silicon Valley Vampire, 23 September 2021

The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power 
by Max Chafkin.
Bloomsbury, 400 pp., £25, September 2021, 978 1 5266 1955 6
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... had been ‘brainwashed’ into believing in the dangers of climate change. Thiel then tried David Gelernter, an anti-PC warrior and author of America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats). Thiel tried to pitch Gelernter to Trump as a martyr for technology, because in 1993 he had been one of the victims of the ...

The Precautionary Principle

David Runciman: Taking a Chance on War, 1 April 2004

... exotic array of worst-case scenarios we are now faced with. In his book Our Final Century, Martin Rees puts the chances of the human race surviving the next hundred years at 50:50.* The list of things that could go horribly wrong ranges from the highly unlikely (a giant asteroid strike) to the frankly bizarre (rogue scientific experiments rolling the cosmos ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives, 5 May 2016

... thereby denied them legal recognition of their gender. In 1986, female-to-male transsexual Mark Rees, in the first challenge to the ruling, lost his case at the European Court of Human Rights against the UK government for its non-recognition of his status as male, loss of privacy and barring his marriage to a woman. Only with the Gender Recognition Act of ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... electorate from succumbing to the over-optimistic prospectus presented by the SNP. Surely, David Cameron reckoned, the same formula would work again a mere two years later in the UK-wide Brexit referendum. After all, there was also the reassuring story of the UK’s first Euro-referendum in 1975. Then, the prime minister, Harold Wilson, had gone ...

How does one talk to these people?

Andrew O’Hagan: David Storey in the Dark, 1 July 2021

A Stinging Delight: A Memoir 
by David Storey.
Faber, 407 pp., £20, June, 978 0 571 36031 4
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... a pot-boy (Bob Gliddery in Our Mutual Friend), seven surgeons, three dance-masters, a reporter (David Copperfield), a tobacconist (Mrs Chivery in Little Dorrit), two fishermen, 32 teachers, four blacksmiths, six undertakers, 45 lawyers and sixteen landladies, several magistrates, a weaver (Stephen Blackpool in Hard Times), an umbrella-maker (Alexander Trott ...

What Is He Supposed To Do?

David Cannadine, 8 December 1994

The Prince of Wales 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Little, Brown, 620 pp., £20, November 1994, 0 316 91016 3
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... on a contemporary issue, and when the defence of the monarchy is left to such characters as Lords Rees-Mogg and St John of Fawsley, things are clearly getting rather serious. For the Prince and his advisers, the last redoubt of hope must be that in ten, twenty or thirty years’ time, this will all have blown over and been forgotten. Like most Princes of ...

Utterly in Awe

Jenny Turner: Lynn Barber, 5 June 2014

A Curious Career 
by Lynn Barber.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £16.99, May 2014, 978 1 4088 3719 1
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... steaming-hot intestine looping round you on the floor. I remember an interview with the late Lord Rees-Mogg where he told me at length ‘what mothers want’ without seemingly at any point wondering whether I might be a mother … Such people are quite fun to interview because you can suddenly prick their balloon with a rude question and watch them ...

‘Just get us out’

Ferdinand Mount, 21 March 2019

... nemesis in Walt Disney and Monty Python’. The king lapped it all up, and now so do the Jacob Rees-Moggs and Iain Duncan-Smiths, whose freedom to practise their Catholic faith is no thanks to Henry VIII. Today these harkings back are semi-playful, but under them lies an adamantine insistence that the white cliffs of the nation-state shall not be eroded by ...
... down to earth’. Michael Foot is a moderate, but he is a moderate socialist – not a moderate in Rees-Mogg’s and Ronald Butt’s sense. Theirs is a sense which relates to the whole political spectrum. To Moggish minds, ‘centre’ seems to mean ‘right’, and it is only the left they fear. The words ‘moderate’ and ‘extremist’ are meaningless ...

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