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Class Traitor

Edward Pearce

11 June 1992
Maverick: The Life of a Union Rebel 
by Eric Hammond.
Weidenfeld, 214 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 297 81200 9
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... Bull,” I thought as I put the letter down on my desk. “You’re scared witless, Brenda.” ’ The style and address of EricHammond is unmistakable. He is here declining to be scared by a letter from Brenda Dean, ‘the pleasant woman at the helm of SOGAT’, trying to frighten him over EEPTU relations with Eddie Shah and Today ...

Captain Swing

Eric​ Hobsbawm

24 November 1994
The Duke Ellington Reader 
edited by Mark Tucker.
Oxford, 536 pp., £19.95, February 1994, 0 19 505410 5
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Swing Changes: Big-Band Jazz in New Deal America 
by David Stowe.
Harvard, 299 pp., £19.95, October 1994, 0 674 85825 5
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...  Southern blues singers. Music-business bookers like Moe Gale, the (white) owner of the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, could be as perceptive in judging future talent, when it came their way, as John Hammond, the greatest of the talent scouts of the decade, though they ranged less widely. What the Left did was – deliberately and successfully – to bring black music out of the ghetto by mobilising that ...

Losers

Ross McKibbin

23 October 1986
The Politics of the UCS Work-In: Class Alliances and the Right to Work 
by John Foster and Charles Woolfson.
Lawrence and Wishart, 446 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 85315 663 8
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A Lost Left: Three Studies in Socialism and Nationalism 
by David Howell.
Manchester, 351 pp., £29.95, July 1986, 0 7190 1959 1
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The Miners’ Strike 1984-5: Loss without Limit 
by Martin Adeney and John Lloyd.
Routledge, 319 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 7102 0694 1
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Red Hill: A Mining Community 
by Tony Parker.
Heinemann, 196 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 434 57771 5
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Strike Free: New Industrial Relations in Britain 
by Philip Bassett.
Macmillan, 197 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 9780333418000
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... good chapters on the political and industrial implications of this decline. The heart of it is the unions’ reaction to this – in particular, the electricians’ union (EETPU) and its secretary, EricHammond. The EETPU has adapted to circumstances with notorious speed, whether at Wapping or in South Wales, and Bassett has much interesting material on the strike-free packages which the EETPU ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: The Party Conferences

18 October 2017
... Never despair​ of finding diamonds in the dust. Sir Eric Pickles, until 2015 Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, isn’t the sort of figure from whom one expects or desires fragments of autobiography, but, introducing his internal ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Kinnock must go

10 December 1987
... years of reflection, it was still chronically unsure even about such key issues as its taxation policy. For some years now, the most impressive intellectual input to the Kinnock camp has been that of Eric Hobsbawm, who is actually a member of quite another party, a fact which is surely comment enough in itself. But Labour still exists, which the Alliance no longer does. In their different ways all the ...

Diary

Eric​ Hobsbawm: My Days as a Jazz Critic

27 May 2010
... in some unfamiliar city. It helped that so many promoters of jazz and blues came out of the left-wing milieu of the 1930s and 1940s, notably the greatest of all jazz talent scouts, the crew-cut John Hammond Jr, whose judgments were largely to guide my own. It was only on my first trip to the US, where all surviving schools and artists could be heard at the same time, that I came to realise how lucky ...
13 October 1988
A History of West Indies Cricket 
by Michael Manley.
Deutsch, 575 pp., £17.95, May 1988, 0 233 98259 0
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Sobers: Twenty Years at the Top 
by Garfield Sobers and Brian Scovell.
Macmillan, 204 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 0 333 37267 0
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... international game. Great players like Learie Constantine and George Headley emerged against this background of rising national consciousness and helped the process of a unified identity. Bradman, Hammond and Headley were the greatest batsmen of the age that followed Hobbs. Headley, whose training was much more limited, went to Australia in 1930 with hardly any on-side strokes – a weakness quickly ...

Simply too exhausted

Christopher Hitchens

25 July 1991
Edwina Mountbatten: A Life of Her Own 
by Janet Morgan.
HarperCollins, 509 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 00 217597 5
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... a dance, and then motored to Cowes with Bobbie Cunningham-Reid, Conservative Member of Parliament for Warrington and Wilfred’s Parliamentary Private Secretary. Edwina ate ices and danced with Paul Hammond, who had come over from America in the Marconi yacht, Elettra.’ ‘Nina, what a lot of parties.’ But how too boring to read a mere chronology of same, as one has to here. And how too sick-making ...

Do your homework

David Runciman: What’s Wrong with Theresa May

16 March 2017
Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister 
by Rosa Prince.
Biteback, 402 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 78590 145 4
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... his luck. This is one of the few occasions before late last year when he would have noticed her without her necessarily noticing him. Cameron didn’t even make the shortlist, which included Philip Hammond, the current chancellor, whom May saw off in the final three. She was forty when she became an MP at the 1997 election. At the same time Cameron fought, and lost, the seat of Stafford, which the ...

That Wild Mercury Sound

Charles Nicholl: Dylan’s Decade

1 December 2016
The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965-66 
by Bob Dylan.
Columbia, £60, November 2015
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... New York he had become a seasoned performer on the Greenwich Village folk club and coffee-house circuit, but he was less familiar with the recording studio. He was ‘terrible’, his producer John Hammond recalled: ‘Bobby popped every p, hissed every s, and habitually wandered off mike.’ But in another sense he knew just what he was doing. The album was made in just six hours of studio time – ...

Good New Idea

John Lanchester: Universal Basic Income

18 July 2019
... Max, minus the exciting chase scenes. A revulsion at this prospect, combined with suspicion of the kind of people who have expressed public support for UBI – Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, Hillary Clinton – has led to scepticism on the left. The Basic Income Earth Network is so troubled by the free-for-all libertarian version of its ideas that it has adopted a resolution ...

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