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Brown and Friends

David Runciman, 3 January 2008

... Gordon Brown, like all prime ministers, like all politicians, like all of us really, is over-reliant on the advice of a small group of people he thinks he can trust ...

Walter Scott’s Post-War Europe

Marilyn Butler, 7 February 1980

Walter Scott and the Historical Imagination 
by David Brown.
Routledge, 239 pp., £9.75, August 1980, 0 7100 0301 3
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... Scott perhaps illustrates more clearly than other writers the gap between the ideas of the general educated reader and those of the professional academic ...

Triumph of the Termites

Tom Nairn: Gordon Brown, 8 April 2010

The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Viking, 802 pp., £25, March 2010, 978 0 670 91851 5
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What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown?: How the Dream Job Turned Sour 
edited by Colin Hughes</a>.
Guardian, 294 pp., £8.99, January 2010, 978&nbsp;0&nbsp;85265&nbsp;219&nbsp;0
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Broonland:&nbsp;The Last Days of Gordon Brown&nbsp;
by Christopher Harvie.
Verso, 206 pp., £8.99, February 2010, 978&nbsp;1&nbsp;84467&nbsp;439&nbsp;8
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... Much of the tale is conveyed by the covers. A sad, thoughtfully dithering photo of the prime minister fronts What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown? The cover of Christopher Harvie’s book features a cartoon from the Independent: an apocalyptic lightning flash strikes and anoints <span class="highlight-term">Davidspan> Cameron, while Brown and Alistair Darling flee London as Parliament quakes against the background of a setting su...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Climate Change, 5 April 2007

... Since the LRB went to press with the last issue, climate change has made one of its periodic appearances in the headlines, with <span class="highlight-term">Davidspan> Cameron and Gordon Brown each making announcements about what he will do when in office ...

At Tate Britain

John Barrell: Late Turner, 18 December 2014

... After​ three or four hours in the Linbury Galleries at Tate Britain, examining, admiring, taking notes on the Late Turner exhibition (until 25 January), I wandered into the café to take the weight off my feet and to read the reviews I had downloaded from the exhibition website on my tablet ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: The Dirtiest Player Around, 9 October 2013

... Dominic Lawson, writing in the Mail, thinks the way to understand Damian McBride’s relationship to Gordon Brown is by analogy with the Third Reich ...

At the David Parr House

Eleanor Birne: There are two histories here, 7 November 2019

... Gwydir Street​ in Cambridge, just off the appealingly scruffy Mill Road, is a narrow street of Victorian terraced house s. In the 1980s my secondary school English teacher lived there: he would drive his Morris Minor out to our village to tell us about books and music and more book...

Preacher on a Tank

David Runciman: Blair Drills Down, 7 October 2010

A Journey&nbsp;
by Tony Blair.
Hutchinson, 718 pp., £25, September 2010, 978&nbsp;0&nbsp;09&nbsp;192555&nbsp;0
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... Tony Blair emerges from these memoirs as a man of extraordinary intellectual self-confidence. He likes to think for himself, and decide for himself, whatever the issue ...

Credibility Brown

Christopher Hitchens, 17 August 1989

Where there is greed:&nbsp;Margaret Thatcher and the Betrayal of Britain’s Future&nbsp;
by Gordon Brown.
Mainstream, 182 pp., £4.95, May 1989, 1&nbsp;85158&nbsp;233&nbsp;9
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CounterBlast s No 3:&nbsp;A Rational Advance for the Labour Party&nbsp;
by John Lloyd.
Chatto, 57 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0&nbsp;7011&nbsp;3519&nbsp;0
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... It is rather a pity, considered from the standpoint of the professional politician or opinion-taker, that nobody knows exactly what ‘credibility’ is, or how one acquires it ...


David Runciman: How the coalition was formed, 16 December 2010

22 Days in May:&nbsp;The Birth of the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition&nbsp;
by David Laws</a>.
Biteback, 335 pp., £9.99, November 2010, 978&nbsp;1&nbsp;84954&nbsp;080&nbsp;3
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... In a hung parliament, should the MPs who hold the balance of power side with the party that came first in the election, or the party that came second? The reason for going with the winners is democratic propriety – they can claim more of a mandate – plus a desire to avoid the embarrassment of being seen to prop up a coalition of loser...

Liars, Hypocrites and Crybabies

David Runciman: Blair v. Brown, 2 November 2006

... During Liars’ Week at the Labour Party Conference last month – when Gordon pretended that he still had a lot of time for Tony, on hearing which Cherie said that’s a lie, but being overheard herself had to deny she’d said any such thing, though the next day Tony more or less admitted that her denial wasn’t to be trusted either, before going on to pretend that he still admired Gordon too, and then pledging himself to the cause of peace in the Middle East – it was no surprise that the boldest liar of all came out on top ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: David Davis v. Miss</span> Great Britain, 3 July 2008

... When <span class="highlight-term">Davidspan> Davis, the shadow home secretary, announced his resignation as an MP on 12 June – in order to fight a by-election for his own seat on an issue about which he was in total agreement with his party’s line, on which in fact he was his party’s line – the media nearly choked with delight ...

Was it a supernova?

Frank Kermode: The Nativity, 4 January 2007

... Very few schoolboys know that of the four Gospels only two offer any account of the conception and birth of Jesu s, and even those schoolboys probably care little that Matthew and Luke, the two which do provide Nativity narratives, fail to agree about many important detail...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: When is a planet not a planet?, 18 August 2005

... When is a planet not a planet? When it’s a warrior princess. On 29 July, astronomers at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory announced the discovery of an object larger than Pluto in the outer reaches of the Solar Sy stem ...

The Destruction of the Public Sphere

Ross</span> McKibbin: Brown v. Cameron, 5 January 2006

... That the next general election will be fought by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Leader of the Opposition <span class="highlight-term">Davidspan> Cameron we do know; but how it will be fought we don’t, in part because the present prime minister will not disclose when he intends to go ...

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