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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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... In Modern British politics, Edward Heath is the Old Man of the Sea. Not quite as ancient as Methuselah, he has been around for five active decades which sometimes seem like a century. The ocean was what famously passed for his recreational hinterland, and the jacket of his autobiography shows an open, smiling face which could be that of a tweedy amateur sea-dog, weather-beaten and gimlet-eyed, and is, at a guess, at least ten years behind the corpulent, irritable landlubber who now rolls with some difficulty round the House of Commons ...

Plonking

Ferdinand Mount: Edward Heath

22 July 2010
Edward Heath 
by Philip Ziegler.
Harper, 654 pp., £25, June 2010, 978 0 00 724740 0
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... REMEMBER, IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING, HE WAS A GREAT MAN.’ At the end of his authorised biography of Edward Heath, Ziegler writes: ‘He was a great man, but his blemishes, though far less considerable, were quite as conspicuous as his virtues, and it is too often by his blemishes that he is remembered.’ In the case of Mountbatten, we were to ...
6 January 1994
Daring to Excel: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain 
by Ruth Railton.
Secker, 466 pp., £20, August 1992, 0 436 23359 2
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... 1970-74 diaries Cecil King records a warm relationship between his wife, Dame Ruth Railton, and Edward Heath. ‘I think he is fond of her,’ he wrote on 6 March 1971 after Ted had been round for tea, ‘and finds the friendship of an intelligent and musical woman, with no possible axe to grind, very welcome.’ Daring to Excel is not the book of ...

Diary

A.J. Ayer: More of A.J. Ayer’s Life

22 December 1983
... no requirement that it be an academic, nor was any period set to the tenure of the Fellowship. Mr Edward Heath had held it in the course of a very short visit to Dartmouth; my immediate predecessor, the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, for the best part of a year. I was originally invited only for the autumn term of 1982, but the invitation was extended to ...
6 July 1989
Who Framed Colin Wallace? 
by Paul Foot.
Macmillan, 306 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 333 47008 7
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... overseas province by leftists (Guy Mollet/Harold Wilson) or weak-minded centrists (Pierre Pflimlin/Edward Heath), the military must ensure that the right sort of government came to power in the metropole. Operation Clockwork Orange was precisely this: an attempt to smear and undermine Labour leaders and Tory wets alike, the short-term aim being to prevent ...

Real Thing

John Naughton

24 November 1988
Live from Number 10: The Inside Story of Prime Ministers and Television 
by Michael Cockerell.
Faber, 352 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 571 14757 7
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... Some years ago, during an American Presidential election, rumours began to circulate that Senator Edward Kennedy was again thinking of running for the Democratic nomination. A young reporter had the idea of asking ex-President Nixon for his views on this development. ‘If Teddy Kennedy is serious,’ Nixon is alleged to have replied, ‘then the first thing he should do is lose thirty pounds ...
6 June 1985
The Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher 
by Robert Blake.
Methuen/Fontana, 401 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 413 58140 3
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Westminster Blues 
by Julian Critchley.
Hamish Hamilton, 134 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 241 11387 3
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... in what it says but in when it was said. 1968 was the year in which it seemed necessary to warn Edward Heath against wandering too eagerly in the direction of Selsdon Park. Here is Blake on tariff reform: It has seldom paid for the Conservative Party to come forward as the party of change. That is not why people vote for it. The Conservatives can ...

Wilsonia

Paul Foot

2 March 1989
The Wilson Plot: The Intelligence Services and the Discrediting of a Prime Minister 
by David Leigh.
Heinemann, 271 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 434 41340 2
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A Price too High 
by Peter Rawlinson.
Weidenfeld, 284 pp., £16, March 1989, 0 297 79431 0
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... to the Conservative Party, where the MI5 faction devoted their energies to spreading stories about Edward Heath and those who supported his leadership of the Conservative Party. As early as 1972, I myself, when working on Private Eye, got ‘information’ from more than one anonymous telephone caller about ‘photographs’ which were supposedly ...

Diary

Peter Clarke: True or False?

16 August 1990
... Macmillan campaigned in the 1959 Election on the slogan: ‘You’ve never had it so good.’ 7. Edward Heath gave his word to ‘cut rising prices at a stroke’. 8. Shirley Williams joined Arthur Scargill on a mass picket at Grunwicks. 9. James Callaghan said: ‘Crisis? What crisis?’ 10. An experienced cabinet minister said in an ...

It was sheer heaven

Bee Wilson: Just Being British

9 May 2019
Exceeding My Brief: Memoirs of a Disobedient Civil Servant 
by Barbara Hosking.
Biteback, 384 pp., £9.99, March 2019, 978 1 78590 462 2
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... as a Cornish scholarship girl and rose to become a senior civil servant under Harold Wilson and Edward Heath and, later, a top executive at breakfast television – has written a memoir of her rise to the top of the British establishment. Sentence by sentence, her story is likeable and impressive but never very exciting to read. Most of the great ...
22 July 1993
Edward HeathA Biography 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 876 pp., £20, July 1993, 0 224 02482 5
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... to the Party’s wish for change at the top and in serving under his successor. That successor was Edward Heath, the first leader to be elected under elaborate new rules adopted by the Conservative Party in 1965. Those rules, given a further twist ten years later by none other than lord Home himself, set a formidable threshold of support for victory in ...

Thank God for Traitors

Bernard Porter: GCHQ

18 November 2010
GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency 
by Richard Aldrich.
Harper, 666 pp., £30, June 2010, 978 0 00 727847 3
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... said, ‘I no longer find the British amusing, merely a pain in the ass.’ Kissinger, cross with Edward Heath, actually suspended intelligence relations with Britain in 1973. The two countries also suspected that each other’s security had been compromised – quite naturally perhaps, given the steady trickle of traitors that emerged from both. The NSA ...
24 November 1988
British Social Trends since 1900: A Guide to the Changing Social Structure of Britain 
edited by A.H. Halsey.
Macmillan, 650 pp., £45, October 1988, 0 333 34521 5
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Inside the Think Tank: Advising the Cabinet 1971-1983 
by Tessa Blackstone and William Plowden.
Heinemann, 258 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 9780434074907
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Lobbying: An Insider’s Guide to the Parliamentary Process 
by Alf Dubs.
Pluto, 228 pp., £12.50, October 1988, 0 7453 0137 1
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... Street which Lloyd George attempted to satisfy. It was not until after the 1970 Election, when Edward Heath assumed the premiership, that the Personal Secretariat returned to life in the form of the Central Policy Review Staff, popularly known as the Think Tank. What seems surprising is that Heath’s Think ...

Scrapbook

Edward Pearce

26 July 1990
A Sparrow’s Flight: Memoirs 
by Lord Hailsham.
Collins, 463 pp., £17.50, July 1990, 0 00 215545 1
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... backed by much detail, but we get the message. Maudling was a lightweight, Macleod a first-rater, Edward Boyle is rightly adored, Margaret Thatcher did right by Quintin and so, despite differences, should be seen as a good thing. There are aperçus, however, despite the concern not to let noses poking through the railings sniff too much. Esteem for Rab Butler ...
21 November 1985
Carrington: A Life and a Policy 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Dent, 182 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 460 04691 8
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Thatcher: The First Term 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Bodley Head, 240 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 370 30602 3
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Viva Britannia: Mrs Thatcher’s Britain 
by Paolo Filo della Torre.
Sidgwick, 101 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 283 99143 7
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... played Boswell to Margaret Thatcher’s Johnson, having come in from the cold, as it were, of the Heath years. He has now written a book about Peter Carrington, who resigned, of course, as Foreign Minister after the Argentines invaded the Falklands in April 1982. The book may sell: but not to Lord Carrington. Mrs Thatcher’s England is also the theme of a ...

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