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Honest Graft

Michael Brock, 23 June 1988

Corruption in British Politics, 1895-1930 
by G.R. Searle.
Oxford, 448 pp., £19.50, November 1987, 0 19 822915 1
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... the term in the narrower sense. By contrast, he had been warned a few years earlier by his cousin, Hugh Cecil, that adopting tariff reform would lead ‘to corruption and ... a general Americanising of our politics’. Here Hugh Cecil gave the term a very wide application. How much political corruption was there in ...

What’s wrong with Desmond?

Ian Hamilton, 30 August 1990

Clever Hearts: Desmond and Molly MacCarthy 
by Hugh Cecil and Mirabel Cecil.
Gollancz, 320 pp., £18.95, July 1990, 0 575 03622 2
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... influence was at its peak. It was not until 1984, when MacCarthy’s son-in-law, Lord David Cecil, edited a new selection of MacCarthy’s writings, that it occurred to me to find out about him for myself – i.e. to read something he had written. He turned out to be much sharper and funnier, and more stylish, than I had been led to believe – and far ...

Ruthless Young Man

Michael Brock, 14 September 1989

Churchill: 1874-1922 
by Frederick Earl of Birkenhead, edited by Sir John Colville.
Harrap, 552 pp., £19.95, August 1989, 0 245 54779 7
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... Chamberlain. The latter had no sooner run up the tariff reform flag than Winston was writing to Hugh Cecil: ‘I am an English Liberal. I hate the tory party.’ Insensitive, as always, to other people’s reactions, Churchill had little idea of the bitterness his conversion would engender. What seemed to him a perilous upholding of free trade ...

Time to think again

Michael Neve, 3 March 1988

Benjamin Disraeli: Letters 1838-1841 
edited by M.G Wiebe, J.B. Conacher, John Matthews and M.S. Millar.
Toronto, 458 pp., £40, March 1987, 0 8020 5736 5
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Salisbury: The Man and his Policies 
edited by Lord Blake and Hugh Cecil.
Macmillan, 298 pp., £29.50, May 1987, 0 333 36876 2
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... direct taxation was one example – has been noted before. But no careful reader of Blake and Cecil’s collection can fail to be struck by its heartfelt quality, in Salisbury’s mind and life, or fail to note its implications as a ‘rediscovery’ for the 20th century Tory mind. Salisbury loathed people. He loathed the drunken poor, he loathed any ...

Votes for Women, Chastity for Men

Brian Harrison, 21 January 1988

Troublesome People: Enemies of War, 1916-1986 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Hamish Hamilton, 344 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 241 12105 1
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Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 
by Susan Kingsley Kent.
Princeton, 295 pp., £22, June 1987, 0 691 05497 5
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Women, Marriage and Politics, 1860-1914 
by Pat Jalland.
Oxford, 366 pp., £19.50, November 1986, 0 19 822668 3
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An Edwardian Mixed Doubles: The Bosanquets versus the Webbs. A Study in British Social Policy, 1890-1929 
by A.M. McBriar.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, July 1987, 0 19 820111 7
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... without a substantial) rank and file, and this could hardly be recruited in such a way. Lord Hugh Cecil once pointed out that’a class is in its very idea a separate thing with common interests,’ whereas ‘sex is just the opposite. Sex is a body whose members are essentially interested in the members of the other sex.’ British feminist leaders ...

Dawn of the Dark Ages

Ronald Stevens: Fleet Street magnates, 4 December 2003

Newspapermen: Hugh Cudlipp, Cecil Harmsworth King and the Glory Days of Fleet Street 
by Ruth Dudley Edwards.
Secker, 484 pp., £20, May 2003, 0 436 19992 0
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... Hugh Cudlipp and Cecil King had been colleagues for 15 years when Cudlipp was ejected from the editorship of the Sunday Pictorial. Though a director of the company, King made no attempt to save Cudlipp’s skin. A couple of years later the man who had toppled Cudlipp, Harry Guy Bartholomew, was toppled himself, and it was King who pushed him ...

William Rodgers reads the papers

William Rodgers, 19 February 1987

The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... sell not much over half of that, and the Express in particular is down on its luck. In the days of Hugh Cudlipp and Cecil King, the Mirror was a wonder to us all – slick, successful and serious about its politics. Its journalists and layout men buzzed round Hugh Gaitskell, seeking to ...

Gargoyles have their place

A.N. Wilson, 12 December 1996

Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton 
by Joseph Pearce.
Hodder, 522 pp., £25, November 1996, 0 340 67132 7
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... than an extended (and on occasion rather simple-minded) version of the thesis best embodied in Hugh Kenner’s Paradox in Chesterton (1949): that Chesterton was a serious thinker, and that we should disregard the toby-jug ‘jolly journalist’ side and concentrate on his message. To which Gross replies that, had Chesterton ‘been meant by nature to be a ...

Finding a role

Peter Pulzer, 5 September 1985

The Decline of Power: 1915-1964 
by Robert Blake.
Granada, 462 pp., £18, June 1985, 0 246 10753 7
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... and once Empire goes, much else goes with it. This was not lost on perceptive contemporaries. Lord Hugh Cecil remarked in his popular book Conservatism of 1912: ‘It may be said that many men are brought to support the Conservative rather than any other political party, because they believe its policy on foreign and colonial matters are wise and ...

If my sister’s arches fall

Laura Jacobs: Agnes de Mille, 5 October 2016

Dance to the Piper 
by Agnes de Mille.
NYRB, 368 pp., £11.99, February 2016, 978 1 59017 908 6
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... of the theatre producer David Belasco’s first collaborators. He discouraged his sons William and Cecil from going into the theatre but they didn’t listen. William de Mille, Agnes’s father, became a successful New York playwright, known for dramas with a social conscience; Cecil became a Hollywood legend, the archetypal ...

A Very Bad Case

Michael Brock, 11 June 1992

Herbert Samuel: A Political Life 
by Bernard Wasserstein.
Oxford, 427 pp., £45, January 1992, 0 19 822648 9
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... about Herbert Samuel, but raises a few new ones. He was no more a ‘cold and dry person’ than Hugh Gaitskell was ‘a desiccated calculating-machine’. These descriptions, by Lloyd George and Aneurin Bevan respectively, reveal little more than the effects of personal irritation on imaginative Welsh politicians. In his final chapter Professor Wasserstein ...

Glaucus and Ione

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 17 April 1980

The Last Days of Pompeii 
by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton.
Sidgwick, 522 pp., £6.95, December 1979, 0 283 98587 9
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... the human heart’ has been fulfilled. I prefer the products of Bulwer’s spiritual descendant. Cecil B. De Mille, which are less boring and a good deal less pretentious. Landor, in a poem written when the book was new, did it perfect justice: If aught so damping and so dull were As these Last Days of Dandy Bulwer, And had been cast upon the pluvious ...

Pour a stiff drink

Tessa Hadley: Elizabeth Jane Howard, 6 February 2014

All Change 
by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Mantle, 573 pp., £18.99, November 2013, 978 0 230 74307 6
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... The Cazalet family money comes from importing timber (as the Howard family money did). Three sons, Hugh, Edward and Rupert, follow into the business after their father, who is called the Brig because he’s never been in the military, in one of those family in-jokes that aren’t really funny, just tenderly well-worn. The Brig’s wife is the Duchy, another ...

With What Joy We Write of the New Russian Government

Ferdinand Mount: Arthur Ransome, 24 September 2009

The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome 
by Roland Chambers.
Faber, 390 pp., £20, August 2009, 978 0 571 22261 2
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... I think, first brought to public attention by David Caute in The Fellow Travellers (1973), then by Hugh Brogan in his 1984 biography, more recently in papers declassified by MI5 in 2005, and now by Roland Chambers in this new biography. It should be said at once that the bulk of the evidence was never secret, being set out in Ransome’s own articles for the ...

Toot Sweet

Ian Aitken, 27 May 1993

Tired and Emotional: The life of George Brown 
by Peter Paterson.
Chatto, 320 pp., £20, May 1993, 0 7011 3976 5
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... for the simple reason that he would probably have beaten Wilson in the ballot to succeed Hugh Gaitskell after the latter’s unexpected death in 1963. That he didn’t win that contest was almost entirely due to the justified anxiety of many right-wing and middle-of-the-road Labour MPs about George’s uncontrolled drinking, and their knowledge that ...

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