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Nemesis

David Marquand

22 January 1981
Change and Fortune 
by Douglas Jay.
Hutchinson, 515 pp., £16, June 1980, 0 09 139530 5
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Life and Labour 
by Michael Stewart.
Sidgwick, 288 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 0 283 98686 7
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... left-wing politics. These two volumes of autobiography bring back its great days: in doing so, they also throw a good deal of unintentional light on the reasons for its fall. Michael Stewart and DouglasJay were both awarded Firsts at Oxford in the Twenties, entered Labour politics in the Thirties, held junior office in the Attlee Government in the Forties, supported Gaitskell in the battles of the ...

Stop the war

Penelope Lively

1 April 1982
The Parting of Ways: A Personal Account of the Thirties 
by Shiela Grant Duff.
Peter Owen, 223 pp., £10.50, March 1982, 0 7206 0586 5
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From Middle England: A Memory of the Thirties 
by Philip Oakes.
Deutsch, 185 pp., £5.95, May 1980, 0 233 97232 3
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Dwellers All in Time and Space: A Memory of the 1940s 
by Philip Oakes.
Deutsch, 227 pp., £8.50, March 1982, 0 233 97434 2
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... in the brief deceptive sunshine before the rise of the Nazis; von Trott was to die in 1944, shot for his part in the plot against Hitler. They were part of a circle of young people – Goronwy Rees, DouglasJay, Isaiah Berlin and others – deeply involved in observation and anguished discussion of what was happening in Europe. Shiela Grant Duff became a journalist – foreign correspondent, virtually ...

The Thing

Alan Ryan

9 October 1986
Whitehall: Tragedy and Farce 
by Clive Ponting.
Hamish Hamilton, 256 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 241 11835 2
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On the Record. Surveillance, Computers and Privacy: The Inside Story 
by Duncan Campbell and Steve Connor.
Joseph, 347 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 7181 2575 4
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... Armstrong can be estimated by contrasting the present cynicism about relationships between politicians and civil servants with, say, the absolute confidence of the generation of Hugh Gaitskell and DouglasJay that ministers would feel no temptation to cheat and that if they had done so their civil servants would have stopped them. Behind the old confidence lay a peculiar history. The idea of a civil ...

Party Man

David Marquand

1 July 1982
Tony Crosland 
by Susan Crosland.
Cape, 448 pp., £10.95, June 1982, 9780224017879
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... stop being so childish about it. At the time, this felt like a betrayal. Crosland was not any old revisionist, after all. He was not a mere apparatchik, like Denis Healey, or a burnt-out case, like DouglasJay. He was the revisionists’ guru – our teacher and mentor. We were what we were, in part at any rate, because of him. To watch him sulking in his tent, when the cause being fought over was, in ...

Questionably Virtuous

Stuart Middleton: Harold Wilson

7 September 2016
Harold Wilson: The Unprincipled Prime Minister? Reappraising Harold Wilson 
edited by Andrew Crines and Kevin Hickson.
Biteback, 319 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78590 031 0
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... pressure from a recession in America. As the ailing chancellor, Stafford Cripps, convalesced in a Swiss clinic, the key decisions fell to Wilson and two inexperienced colleagues, Hugh Gaitskell and DouglasJay. He responded to their calm assurance with a calculating vacillation that laid the basis for a lasting distrust, even as devaluation was agreed on and announced in September 1949. The economy ...
14 November 1996
Hugh Gaitskell 
by Brian Brivati.
Cohen, 492 pp., £25, September 1996, 1 86066 073 8
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... the truth: here was a man locked in combat over the future of a working-class party who was born to privilege, who sought the company, within the Party, of fellow Wykehamists (Richard Crossman, DouglasJay), other public school boys (Benn, Crosland) or public school wannabes like Roy Jenkins, and who, to top it all, was having an affair with an aristocratic Tory woman and loved nothing better than ...

Darling Clem

Paul Addison

17 April 1986
Clement Attlee 
by Trevor Burridge.
Cape, 401 pp., £20, January 1986, 0 224 02318 7
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The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton 1940-1945 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape in association with the London School of Economics, 913 pp., £40, February 1986, 9780224020657
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Loyalists and Loners 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 315 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 00 217583 5
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... by merchant bankers. Businessmen were roped into ministries dealing with production and supply. Dalton himself, with an eye to party politics, recruited able young socialists like Hugh Gaitskell and DouglasJay. The diaries reveal the many points of conflict between the career Civil Service and the outsiders. There were quarrels about honours: were the temporaries entitled to them? And there were ...
12 July 1990
Liberalisms. Essays in Political Philosophy 
by John Gray.
Routledge, 273 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 415 00744 5
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The Voice of Liberal Learning: Michael Oakeshott on Education 
edited by Timothy Fuller.
Yale, 169 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04344 9
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The Political Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott 
by Paul Franco.
Yale, 277 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04686 3
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Conservatism 
by Ted Honderich.
Hamish Hamilton, 255 pp., £16.99, June 1990, 0 241 12999 0
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... American luminaries of the New Right. This is roughly the equivalent of – and about as valuable as – a book about post-war British socialism which ignored Hugh Gaitskell, Anthony Crosland, and DouglasJay, and relied instead upon Ralph Miliband, Ken Livingstone and Tony Benn. Honderich is only a little better-informed about past than about present Conservatives. Coleridge makes one fleeting ...
25 April 1991
The Progressive Dilemma: From Lloyd George to Kinnock 
by David Marquand.
Heinemann, 248 pp., £20, January 1991, 0 434 45094 4
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... book reviews; others are more sustained pieces. Some are primarily historical; others political-theoretical. Eleven of the 19 are biographical studies and are often outstandingly good: the essay on DouglasJay and Michael Stewart (‘The Tortoise and the Hare’), for example, is absolutely just and that on David Owen – which I doubt that Owen will like very much – is remarkable. On the whole, I ...

Swiping at Suburbs

Andrew Saint: The course of British urbanism

31 March 2005
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City 
by Tristram Hunt.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £25, June 2004, 0 297 60767 7
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... of the Labour Party, Harold Wilson, Manny Shinwell and Peter Mandelson’s mother, Mary, while Hampstead proper attracted ‘more self-consciously intellectual’ politicians such as Hugh Gaitskell, DouglasJay and Michael Foot. Here is unmasked the latent snobbery of the anti-suburbans. The great merit of the garden suburb is that it brought order, grace and amenity to something that would have ...

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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... the left long afterwards viewed the referendum as ‘a conservative measure that was expressly designed to frustrate radical legislation’. Things changed in 1970 when the Labour anti-Marketeer DouglasJay argued that since all three main parties notionally favoured admission to the EEC, a general election couldn’t decide the matter, which was of such magnitude there was no alternative but to ...

Middle-Class Hair

Carolyn Steedman: A New World for Women

18 October 2017
... advice in the world, not even from Vogue, will ever persuade me not to straighten mine. Left to right: Margaret Drabble in 1964; the Warwick Students’ Handbook cover image from 1966; the Jay twins in ‘Tatler’, 1964. The girl is there, at the crossroads, under the road sign, because of the Robbins Report. That’s the historical story you need to know to interpret her presence. The ...

Mr Trendy Sicko

James Wolcott

23 May 2019
White 
by Brett Easton Ellis.
Picador, 261 pp., £16.99, May, 978 1 5290 1239 2
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... without a pulpit were other top-notch talent scouts and star-makers, such as Gary Fisketjon, the Random House editor who created the trade paperback series Vintage Contemporaries, the springboard for Jay McInerney’s breakthrough novel, Bright Lights, Big City, and Morgan Entrekin, the editor at Simon and Schuster who acquired Bret Easton Ellis’s Less than Zero. Lish had the cult cred, but their ...

In real sound stupidity the English are unrivalled

Stefan Collini: ‘Cosmo’ for Capitalists

27 January 2020
Liberalism at Large: The World According to the ‘Economist’ 
by Alexander Zevin.
Verso, 538 pp., £25, November 2019, 978 1 78168 624 9
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... was the historian Arnold Toynbee, who wrote a leading article and two or three notes practically every week between 1922 and 1939. But Layton also appointed younger figures, several of whom, such as DouglasJay, a future Labour minister, and Graham Hutton, who had been a student of Harold Laski’s at the LSE, embraced progressive ideas and agitated for the paper to take a sympathetic view of ...

The Beast on My Back

Gerald Weissmann

6 June 1996
The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 
by Allan Young.
Princeton, 327 pp., £28, March 1996, 0 691 03352 8
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... Bête Noire’ is set in Piccadilly during the long winter between the Battle of Alamein and the Normandy invasion. At the time, the 24-year-old Douglas had pretty much recovered from wounds inflicted by German 88s in the Western Desert and by spring he was back in action. On 9 June, three days after landing in France, he was killed behind enemy ...

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