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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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... seen him as an intellectual of quite a different cast: the first novelist to represent the historical process, the first portrayer of society in terms that Adam Smith might and Karl Marx did approve. DavidBrown makes the academic case admirably. He begins by modestly disclaiming originality: he is developing insights put forward by others in recent years, and only applying them more carefully to a ...

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. In Brown’s case, these tend to be men who once worked as juniors in his office, having been hand-picked at a very young age. Douglas Alexander became Brown’s researcher and speechwriter when he was in his ...

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. McBride didn’t need to take direct orders from his boss because he already understood the violence that Brown wished on his enemies. The underling was working ...

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 David Cameron and Gordon Brown each making announcements about what he will do when in office. This amounts to a green beauty contest, with the public in the position of the pen-sucking judges. Cameron first. The Tory leader has ...

At the David​ Parr House

Eleanor Birne: There are two histories here

7 November 2019
... Victorian joke: ‘do drop in’) and you barely notice Number 186. A two-storey artisan’s cottage, just as ordinary from the outside as the rest, it is open – two days a week at least – as the David Parr House, after its one-time owner. The narrow hallway is dark; your eyes have to adjust to the dimness. A half-circle of stained glass above the front door lets in some light, but it’s quickly ...

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.
Guardian, 294 pp., £8.99, January 2010, 978 0 85265 219 0
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Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown 
by Christopher Harvie.
Verso, 206 pp., £8.99, February 2010, 978 1 84467 439 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 David Cameron, while Brown and Alistair Darling flee London as ...

Preacher on a Tank

David​ Runciman: Blair Drills Down

7 October 2010
A Journey 
by Tony Blair.
Hutchinson, 718 pp., £25, September 2010, 978 0 09 192555 0
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... help. But it is also hard to avoid the thought that Blair is himself shirking the real question. He faced two serious and determined enemies during his time in Downing Street: al-Qaida and Gordon Brown. One, he concluded, represented a force so strong and rooted that it had to be uprooted and destroyed, since confrontation was inevitable; the only question was when and how. The other had to be ...

Credibility Brown

Christopher Hitchens

17 August 1989
Where there is greed: Margaret Thatcher and the Betrayal of Britain’s Future 
by Gordon Brown.
Mainstream, 182 pp., £4.95, May 1989, 1 85158 233 9
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CounterBlasts No 3: A Rational Advance for the Labour Party 
by John Lloyd.
Chatto, 57 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0 7011 3519 0
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... national resentment against Thatcherism as well as a more or less conventional Labourist one. Both men are of an age, and both have backgrounds in a harder Left than the one they now espouse. Gordon Brown was one of the convenor/editors of the Red Paper for Scotland in the early Seventies, and John Lloyd saw the inside of the Communist Party before helping to found a pro-European Marxist tendency at ...

Look…

David​ Runciman: How the coalition was formed

16 December 2010
22 Days in May: The Birth of the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition 
by David​ Laws.
Biteback, 335 pp., £9.99, November 2010, 978 1 84954 080 3
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... because she had much more reason to be frightened of the voters. And luckily, being politicians (and Australians), they seem to have been unembarrassable. Yet that’s not how it worked over here. David Laws’s 22 Days in May, which recounts the negotiations that preceded the formation of the coalition government from the inside, explains how it happened that in our case the winners actually ended ...

Diary

Tam Dalyell: Argentina in 1984

6 September 1984
... Falklands campaign. The destroyers Hercules and Santissima Trinidad have been sold off to Iran. In their place are four Meko 140 frigates and four Meko 360 destroyers powered by Rolls-Royce engines, DavidBrown gearboxes and Decca navigation equipment: all made by us, though ordered before April 1982 after Cecil Parkinson, in his incarnation as Minister of State at the Board of Trade, had gone to ...

Liars, Hypocrites and Crybabies

David​ Runciman: Blair v. Brown

2 November 2006
... Blair a disservice. He is not simply the boldest liar, he is also the best, in that he understands better than anyone the new rules of political fabrication. He comprehensively outmanoeuvred Gordon Brown in Manchester by being truer both to himself and to the spirit of contemporary politics in the way he stretched the truth. Blair was sincere in the lies he told. Brown, by contrast, came across as a ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: David​ Davis v. Miss Great Britain

3 July 2008
... When David 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 ...

Was it a supernova?

Frank Kermode: The Nativity

4 January 2007
The Nativity: History and Legend 
by Geza Vermes.
Penguin, 177 pp., £7.99, November 2006, 0 14 102446 1
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... professional scholars, whose exertions are unrelenting. Before the appearance of this little book by Geza Vermes I’d have advised anybody showing an interest in these matters to consult Raymond Brown’s The Birth of the Messiah, a work of some six hundred pages which, like all Brown’s numerous publications, is a monument to his indefatigable though sometimes fatiguing scholarship. Brown’s ...

The Destruction of the Public Sphere

Ross 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 David 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. Furthermore, both Cameron and Brown are in some senses ...
21 March 1991
Intertextual Dynamics within the Literary Group: Joyce, Lewis, Pound and Eliot 
by Dennis Brown.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £35, November 1990, 9780333516461
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An Immodest Violet: The Life of Violet Hunt 
by Joan Hardwick.
Deutsch, 205 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 233 98639 1
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... Dennis Brown concludes his celebration of Anglo-American Modernism with an account of Ezra Pound’s death on 30 October 1972. ‘That year I ended an obituary of Pound in a Canadian student newspaper: Pound is ...

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