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Diarmaid MacCulloch: Inside the KJB

3 February 2011
The Holy Bible: King James Version, 1611 Text 
edited by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 1552 pp., £50, October 2010, 978 0 19 955760 8
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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 
by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 354 pp., £16.99, October 2010, 978 0 19 955759 2
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The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today 
by David Norton.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 521 61688 1
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The King James Bible after 400 Years: Literary, Linguistic and Cultural Influences 
edited by Hannibal Hamlin and Norman Jones.
Cambridge, 364 pp., £25, December 2010, 978 0 521 76827 6
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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language 
by David Crystal.
Oxford, 327 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 958585 4
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... can be seen still. Yet any reader familiar with 17th-century printing will immediately smell a rat on opening this quasi-facsimile edition: the typeface is patently of two centuries later, and indeed GordonCampbell comes clean in his appended essay. The Gothic or black-letter type of the original is thought to be too difficult to read easily, even for the sort of people who would enjoy such a volume ...

Highland Fling

Rosalind Mitchison

18 June 1981
Clans and Chiefs 
by Ian Grimble.
Blond and Briggs, 267 pp., £10.95, December 1980, 0 85634 111 8
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... The book divides the figures of Highland history into ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’. Low-landers, especially the kings of Scotland, are all ‘baddies’. So are the chiefly lines of the clans Campbell and Gordon – ‘bad’ because they were successful in seizing land and power from others. The Mackenzies, as imperialist in their great days as the Campbells, are allowed to be ‘goodies ...

Shtum

John Lanchester: Alastair Campbell’s Diaries

16 August 2007
The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell​ Diaries 
edited by Alastair Campbell and Richard Stott.
Hutchinson, 794 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 09 179629 7
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... and they see us as all-powerful and they want their power back. So there was no point in all-out war, because at the moment we have the upper hand. The person to whom Blair said that was Alastair Campbell, whom he appointed to run his press operation shortly after becoming party leader. It is worth noticing how accurate Blair’s sense of the press-government relationship is: it makes you wonder, if ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour

5 April 2001
Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... headline in the Sun or the Mail. This ultra-sensitivity has inevitably increased the importance of the media managers. When the Northern Ireland negotiations got serious Tony Blair took Alistair Campbell into the room with him and insisted that Mo Mowlam remain outside. David Trimble was astonished but that’s how it always is with New Labour. Andrew Rawnsley records how the momentous decision that ...

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 ...

Who’s on the Ropes Now?

Ross McKibbin: A Bad Week for Gordon​ Brown

1 November 2007
... week is a long time in politics is one of those wise sayings which usually turns out to be untrue. Not now. All those articles written only a couple of weeks ago and giving entirely good reasons why Gordon Brown was on top and David Cameron on the ropes now look faintly embarrassing. But at the beginning of October Brown was on top and no one can be faulted for failing to see his impending humiliation ...

Triumphalism

John Campbell

19 December 1985
The Kitchener Enigma 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 436 pp., £15, September 1985, 0 7181 2385 9
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Kitchener: The Man behind the Legend 
by Philip Warner.
Hamish Hamilton, 247 pp., £12.95, August 1985, 0 241 11587 6
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... A premature death is, of course, the making of a good legend. Kitchener’s death registered itself in the patriotic mind as a tableau to rank with Nelson expiring in Hardy’s arms at Trafalgar or Gordon’s last stand on the Residency steps in Khartoum. This sort of biscuit-tin iconography cannot be written off as trivial: it is the stuff of immortality. Kitchener was a legend to his contemporaries ...

Liars, Hypocrites and Crybabies

David Runciman: Blair v. Brown

2 November 2006
... During Liars’ Week at the Labour Party Conference last month – when Gordon pretended that he still had a lot of time for Tony, on hearing which Cherie said that’s a lie, but being overheard herself had to deny she’d said any such thing, though the next day Tony more or ...

Problems

Peter Campbell

1 October 1981
Early Disorder 
by Rebecca Josephs.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 186 pp., £5.50, September 1981, 0 571 12031 8
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A Star for the Latecomer 
by Bonnie Zindel.
Bodley Head, 186 pp., £3.95, March 1981, 0 370 30319 9
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Catherine loves 
by Timothy Ireland.
Bodley Head, 117 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 370 30292 3
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Jacob have I loved 
by Katherine Paterson.
Gollancz, 216 pp., £4.95, April 1981, 0 575 02961 7
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... from the place where children play to that where adults squabble, although competition from Dallas or Honey probably has more to do with this than the need for a transition from Mary Norton to Mary Gordon. The gap in Willa’s bookshelf was not, however, an unnatural one: children switch from Ballet Shoes to Jean Rhys and then back to Ballet Shoes, as though they need, or relish, the contrast between ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Pompeo Batoni

10 April 2008
... way the world has treated them. Garrick’s half-smile is unusually lively. A Van Dyck costume was not impossible, and if you were a military man your uniform coat would announce the fact. Colonel Gordon is dressed in full Highland costume: kilt, plaid and stockings all in the Huntly tartan, perhaps specially woven in silk to suit the Roman climate. ‘Portrait of Sir Humphry Morice’, (1761-62 ...

At the Door

Peter Campbell: Open Sesame!

19 June 2008
... the depth of window reveals and the size of windowpanes, an early 18th-century house in Meard Street or Queen Anne’s Gate, a late 18th-century house in Bedford Square and a mid-19th-century one in Gordon Square are variations on a common pattern. Their general aspect is little affected by fashion. Doors and their surrounds are different. In Queen Anne’s Gate the richly carved door hoods project far ...

At the V&A

Peter Campbell: Art Deco

17 April 2003
... nightclub. Travel posters by Cassandre and McKnight Kauffer, the coloured floor plan of the Café Aubette in Strasbourg by Theo van Doesburg, the mirror and glass entrance of the Strand Palace Hotel, Gordon Miller Buehrig’s Auburn 851 ‘Boat Tail’ Speedster (two tons of open-top motoring glamour) – all give an aesthetic dimension to the business of getting from A to B or having a night out. The ...

Blair Must Go

Peter Clarke: Why Tony Blair should go

11 September 2003
... line has been crossed. This has become a zero-sum game, which one side can win only if the other loses. The Government has entered into a bitter tactical skirmish about whether it was Alastair Campbell who manipulated the evidence. But suppose he is totally and utterly exonerated of this specific charge. This simply sharpens the infinitely more damaging strategic issue: if Campbell did not ...

Memories of New Zealand

Peter Campbell

1 December 2011
... issued with iron rations of some sort because I remember a small cake of chocolate. It is from Kelburn that my first memories of the children I was taught with come. Particularly the girls – Libby Gordon, the Priestly girls, so pretty and talented. The boys – Alistair Scott, for example – vaguer. But I do remember wrestling with Alistair in the school playground – to what end, and for what ...

Our Guy

John Barnie: Blair’s Style

20 January 2011
...  was doing his nut, poor bloke’; ‘I would have felt gutted in his place, really low – beyond low, actually.’ One of the lads, he has no problem with testicles. As soon as he met Alastair Campbell, he knew that he had ‘clanking great balls’. He admires Rupert Murdoch for the same reason: ‘He was an outsider, and he had balls.’ He also admires women who might be said to have balls, like ...

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