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Alternative Tories

José Harris, 23 April 1987

by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 204 pp., £12.95, March 1987, 9780002175869
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Rab: The Life of R.A. Butler 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 422 pp., £15, March 1987, 0 224 01862 0
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The Political Culture of Modern Britain: Studies in Memory of Stephen Koss 
edited by J.M.W. Bean.
Hamish Hamilton, 306 pp., £15, January 1987, 0 241 12026 8
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... of how he was outmanoeuvred for this position – in 1956 (not unexpectedly or improperly) by Eden, in 1957 (with great cunning) by Harold Macmillan, and finally in 1963 (almost accidentally) by Alec Douglas-Home – makes fascinating and often distasteful reading. Quite why Rab was pushed aside in this way, and why he ...

Maastricht or no Maastricht

Peter Clarke, 19 November 1992

... Major’s decline rather than his fall. At the time of the Conservative Party Conference, Douglas Hurd warned his party to take heed of the terrible historical precedents of 1846 and 1903 – the two great splits in the Party’s history. From a Conservative point of view this was a pertinent message to deliver, the right thing to say to his ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman, 7 May 2015

... Macmillan, who added seats when he went to the country in 1959, scored a lower vote share than Eden had four years earlier). The Tories barely scraped together enough votes to form a government last time, so they have almost no wriggle room. If they lose more than a handful from the total they polled in 2010, they will lose office. History indicates that ...

That’s democracy

Theo Tait: Dalton Trumbo, 2 March 2000

Johnny Got His Gun 
by Dalton Trumbo.
Prion, 222 pp., £5.99, May 1999, 1 85375 324 6
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... the anti-Communist purge and began a vigorous media campaign to end the blacklist. In 1960, Kirk Douglas revealed that Trumbo had written the screenplay for Spartacus; President Kennedy crossed the thinning picket lines of Catholic War Veterans to watch the film in a cinema in Washington DC. The blacklist, at least in principle, was broken. So Trumbo entered ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... Neville Chamberlain and Churchill. In the second half of the century they were Churchill again, Eden, Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Heath, Thatcher and John Major – a more mixed bunch, admittedly, but still mostly distinguished and competent. That the names of William Hague at the age of 36 and Iain Duncan Smith at ...

Tale from a Silver Age

Peter Clarke, 22 July 1993

Edward Heath: A Biography 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 876 pp., £20, July 1993, 0 224 02482 5
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... and the decencies were only just maintained. But, with whatever personal misgivings, he recognised Eden as his legitimate successor, just as Eden later forced a smile of approval when Macmillan took over. Sir Alec Douglas-Home, a pocket-sized Balfour, emulated him both in deferring to the ...

The Finchley Factor

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Thatcher in Israel, 13 September 2018

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East 
by Azriel Bermant.
Cambridge, 274 pp., £22.99, September 2017, 978 1 316 60630 8
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... a bibulous evening at Number Ten that autumn, when Churchill told his foreign secretary Anthony Eden how to deal with the troublesome Egyptians and other Arabs: ‘Rising from his chair, the old man advanced on Anthony with clenched fists, saying with the inimitable Churchill growl, “Tell them that if we have any more of their cheek we will set the Jews ...

How bad can it get?

LRB Contributors, 15 August 2019

... Neal Ascherson, Mary Beard, Jonathan Coe, Tom Crewe, William Davies, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Lorna Finlayson, Daniel Finn, Katrina Forrester, Jeremy Harding, Daisy Hildyard, Colin Kidd, James Meek, Ferdinand Mount, Jan-Werner Müller, Jonathan Parry, David RuncimanNeal Ascherson‘On​ 17 June poor France fell. That day, as we trudged past Greenwich … a tug skipper yelled gaily across the water: “Now we know where we are! No more bloody allies!”’ The writer A ...

With the Aid of a Lorgnette

Frank Kermode, 28 April 1994

The Lure of the Sea 
by Alain Corbin, translated by Jocelyn Phelps.
Polity, 380 pp., £35, January 1994, 0 7456 0732 2
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The Foul and the Fragrant: Odour and the French Social Imagination 
by Alain Corbin, translated by Miriam Kochan.
Picador, 307 pp., £6.99, March 1994, 0 330 32930 8
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... of the Flood, a repulsive indication of the partial ruin of the world (there was no sea in Eden, and Revelation promises that there won’t be one after Apocalypse). The shore was where the sea was providentially halted In Classical literature the sea was usually very treacherous, as Horace and Lucretius attest, and of course Odysseus took a long time ...

Swaying at the Stove

Rosemary Hill: The Cult of Elizabeth David, 9 December 1999

Elizabeth David: A Biography 
by Lisa Chaney.
Pan, 482 pp., £10, September 1999, 0 330 36762 5
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Waiting at the Kitchen Table. Elizabeth David: The Authorised Biography 
by Artemis Cooper.
Viking, 364 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7181 4224 1
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... David was less restrained. She never seems to have needed the advice she later got from Norman Douglas to do as she pleased ‘and send everybody to hell’, and stepped outside the social pale with barely a backward glance. As a deb, bored by the Season, she was already telling her sister Pris that ‘very soon’ if Mummie isn’t ‘jolly careful ... I ...

It’s life but not as we know it

Tim Radford, 3 July 1997

... Robot spaceprobes went further afield. Venus, once imagined as a warm, tropical garden, an Eden for one of C.S. Lewis’s science fiction parables, turned out to be a hellish place: a surface hot enough to melt lead, covered by thunderous stormclouds which rain boiling acid. Mars, the planet on which astronomers once thought they could actually see ...

Waldorf’s Birthday Present

Gabriele Annan: The Lovely Langhornes, 7 January 1999

The Langhorne Sisters 
by James Fox.
Granta, 612 pp., £20, November 1998, 1 86207 071 7
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... got a divorce, and then she was back with Nancy and the Pytchley, and in love with the Hon. Henry Douglas Pennant, a dashing captain in the Grenadier Guards, who embodied all the chivalrous romance she yearned for. Nancy thought him thick, and was determined that he should be swapped for one of the brilliant young men she was meanwhile collecting for weekends ...

Longing for Mao

Hugo Young: Edward Heath, 26 November 1998

The Curse of My Life: My Autobiography 
by Edward Heath.
Hodder, 767 pp., £25, October 1998, 0 340 70852 2
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... him some momentary inner difficulty, and he records his efforts to change the mind of Anthony Eden, the Prime Minister. Heath was, it seems, totally against the subterfuge. But he would not have considered resigning. A chief whip could never resign. His job, at all costs, was to hold the Party together. This subordination of means to ends, of anything ...

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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... was a fatal model. Hogg recorded with delight Churchill’s reaction to the receipt of a report by Eden on his tour of the Middle East in 1941: ‘Capital. There are only two clichés you have forgotten: God is love, and Please adjust your dress before leaving.’ The war allowed Churchill to get away with things like this – but Hogg was a peacetime ...

Make for the Boondocks

Tom Nairn: Hardt and Negri, 5 May 2005

by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £20, January 2005, 0 241 14240 7
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... a Duke University elite in the US. In a survey of the trend in the journal Anthropoetics in 1997, Douglas Collins wrote that back in 1984 Julia Kristeva had noted that ‘we’re in the middle of a regression which is present in the form of a return to the religious … a rehabilitation of spiritualism.’ Spinozism was part of this: ‘the latest example of ...

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