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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 ...

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 ...
The Provisional IRA 
by Patrick Bishop and Eamonn Mallie.
Heinemann, 374 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 434 07410 1
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Ten Men Dead 
by David Beresford.
Grafton, 432 pp., £3.50, May 1987, 0 586 06533 4
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... patchy, and their account of the 1981 hunger strikes needs to be supplemented by an attention to David Beresford’s compelling, though less critical Ten Men Dead, partly based on previously unpublished communications between the IRA leaders in prison and those outside. Similarly, their account of the supergrass phenomenon seems almost entirely based on ...

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 ...

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 ...
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 ...

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 ...

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 ...
... 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 ...

Travelling in the Wrong Direction

Lorna Finlayson: Popular Feminism, 4 July 2019

Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny 
by Sarah Banet-Weiser.
Duke, 220 pp., £18.99, November 2018, 978 1 4780 0291 8
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Darkness Now Visible: Patriarchy’s Resurgence and Feminist Resistance 
by Carol Gilligan and David Richards.
Cambridge, 162 pp., £21.99, August 2018, 978 1 108 47065 0
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Feminism for the 99 Per Cent: A Manifesto 
by Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya and Nancy Fraser.
Verso, 85 pp., £7.99, March 2019, 978 1 78873 442 4
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... bigotries, but the anti-abortion views of such prominent Tory Brexiteers as Dominic Raab and Jacob Rees-Mogg, as well as the Ukip MEP candidate Carl Benjamin’s public speculation as to whether or not he would be willing to rape the Labour MP Jess Phillips, show that the potential exists in this country too. In the world beyond formal politics, Britain’s ...

Orwell and Biography

Bernard Crick, 7 October 1982

... of a Christian without God to find a cause; while the gentle and well-meaning Sir Richard Rees, who had known Orwell very well, did write a book about Orwell as ‘almost a saint’. If one must say that biographies are about character rather than about the lives people led, then at least it is prudent to adopt, as philosophers would say, a soft ...

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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... delayed sending troops into Northern Ireland as the violence was getting out of hand, Merlyn Rees, the secretary of state, was asked by a journalist why they waited so long. ‘My dear boy,’ he replied (doing his best Macmillan), ‘the army is a very blunt instrument.’ So too is the Metropolitan Police. In its pursuit of Ward the Met trampled all ...

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