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7 November 2019
... struggled to reconcile the past she could not forget with the future she could not avoid’. Ian Gilmour reviewed the book in the ‘LRB’ of 10 December 1998. What he says seems apposite. The​ first political misjudgment was an almost universal overestimate of Britain’s postwar power and status. Nearly all the politic...
16 April 1998
Whatever Happened to the Tories: The Conservatives since 1945 
by Ian Gilmour and Mark Garnett.
Fourth Estate, 448 pp., £25, October 1997, 1 85702 475 3
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... Ian Gilmour is one of the most leftwing figures in British politics: a feat he has achieved by not moving. He remains upright amid the ruins of a Keynesian political economy while the two major parties quarrel over possession of the new orthodoxy. He has also written one of the best things on Thatcherism: Dancing with Dogma (1992), a book which will demonstrate to a later generation that not all Conservative politicians took leave of their senses in the Eighties ...
21 April 1983
Britain can work 
by Ian Gilmour.
Martin Robertson, 272 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 85520 571 7
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The Use of Public Power 
by Andrew Shonfield, edited by Zuzanna Shonfield.
Oxford, 140 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 215357 9
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... Sir Ian Gilmour has written a splendid book about a splendid subject. The question he asks is: ‘How did Monetarism capture the Conservatives?’ It is a genuine mystery, and also a very serious issue, as more than three million Britons, including Sir Ian, know to their cost ...

Not Many Dead

Linda Colley

10 September 1992
Riot, Risings and Revolution: Governance and Violence in 18th-Century England 
by Ian Gilmour.
Hutchinson, 504 pp., £25, May 1992, 0 09 175330 9
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... Ian Gilmour is a distinguished and highly intelligent example of a once rare species: he is a Conservative with a cause. Unfortunately for him, however – and perhaps for the rest of us as well – his cause is no longer that of the political party he has always espoused. The son of a baronet, he was born into Toryism in much the same way as Anthony Trollope’s Duke of Omnium was born to Whig Liberalism, passing through Eton, to Balliol, to marriage with a daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch, to the Bar, to safe Conservative seats in rural Norfolk and Buckinghamshire, and then on to cabinet rank, first as Secretary of Defence under Heath, and then as Lord Privy Seal and Deputy Foreign Secretary ...
5 November 1992
Dancing with Dogma: Britain under Thatcherism 
by Ian Gilmour.
Simon and Schuster, 328 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 671 71176 8
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... Ian Gilmour could scarcely have timed the publication of this book better. The last few weeks really have been a Marxist ‘conjuncture’: a heightened moment when social realities can no longer be contained by dominant ideologies; or, in the idiom of an un-Marxist age, the moment when the sky is darkened by chickens returning to roost ...

Little Mercians

Ian Gilmour: Why Kenneth Clarke should lead the Tories

5 July 2001
... largely elected one – some room could perhaps be legitimately provided for a few retired politicians, the rationale being that even though they might not do much good in the Upper House their elevation would benefit the lower one. But to make the whole House of Lords a retirement home for placemen and superannuated politic...
9 July 1992
The Economic Legacy 1979-1992 
edited by Jonathan Michie.
Academic Press, 384 pp., £25, March 1992, 0 12 494060 9
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The Godley Papers: Economic Problems and Policies in the 1980s and 90s 
by Wynne Godley.
New Statesman and Society, £2
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Full Employment in the 1990s 
by John Grieve Smith.
Institute for Public Policy Research, 68 pp., £7.50, March 1992, 1 872452 48 5
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... for what has happened, it would be a mistake to lay too much at their door. The Keynesian full employment pass had already been sold by Callaghan and Healey in 1975-76; moreover, the liberal revolution could never have taken place had there not been an undertow of populist support waiting to be exploited – as it was – by a skilful and ruthless ...

Diary

Ian Gilmour: The Terminal 5 Enquiry

19 March 1998
... suffer it have no right of legal action to secure its abatement.’ Needless to say, the politicians and civil servants paid no attention. No action was taken and the sufferers from noise were given no legal rights. In 1979, the Inspector at the Heathrow Fourth Terminal inquiry, Iain Glidewell, made the well-known pronouncement: ‘In my view, the present ...
28 November 1996
Diplomacy and Disillusion at the Court of Margaret Thatcher 
by George Urban.
Tauris, 206 pp., £19.95, September 1996, 1 86064 084 2
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... even Urban thinks was ‘less than modest’; even so her orations were nowhere near the Churchillian category. Like nearly everybody else’s speeches, they are dead and should not be resurrected. Moreover, if there is one thing more tedious than reading old political speeches, it is reading long accounts of how those speeches were composed and discussed. Mr ...
7 June 1984
Another Heart and Other Pulses: The Alternative to the Thatcher Society 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 220 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 00 217256 9
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... of Michael Foot: did he lead it to its death or did he just accompany it? Was he one of the physicians who killed it, or was he merely the undertaker? The most remarkable feature of Labour’s history is not its short life, but its striking lack of success during that life. It only managed one competent minority government (in 1923) and one outstanding ...
21 January 1982
... the Moonies brainwash them, I am told, into hating their parents and families. Other Californian cults may do the same. The British Conservative Party is a long way from California, and it is still some way from being a cult: yet in recent years odd things have been happening to the Conservative Party. Conservatives have been asked to believe that ...
17 October 1985
Balfour: Intellectual Statesman 
by Ruddock Mackay.
Oxford, 388 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 19 212245 2
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Austen Chamberlain: Gentleman in Politics 
by David Dutton.
Ross Anderson Publications, 373 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86360 018 2
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... while the British economy was already in relative decline. Under Salisbury and Balfour, the Disraelian impetus to social reform was lost, though the Conservatives had on occasion to make substantial if grudging payments for the support of Joseph Chamberlain and the Liberal Unionists by enacting part of the Radical programme. The chief object of the ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership

20 October 2005
... continuing to be, the governing party. The Tories used to be such a party. They had what the historian John Ramsden calls an ‘appetite for Power’, an appetite which since the mid-1990s they have evidently lost. The rebels against the Maastricht Treaty did not care how much damage their activities did to the party and government, whereas in earlier days ...
5 December 1991
The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the 18th Century 
by Peter Linebaugh.
Allen Lane, 484 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 7139 9045 7
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... recently to the Communist regimes Eastern Europe, Marxist historiography seems alive and defiant. Lenin’s tomb may be under threat, but the historical certainties of Marxism lie undisturbed. ‘Broadly speaking,’ Peter Linebaugh tells us, ‘the English Revolution was a conflict among three social forces. The bourgeoisie, led by Oliver Cromwell and ...

Termagant

Ian Gilmour: The Cliveden Set

19 October 2000
The Cliveden Set: Portrait of an Exclusive Fraternity 
by Norman Rose.
Cape, 277 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 224 06093 7
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... In twenty years,’ Lady Astor used to say of Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian, ‘I’ve never known Philip to be wrong on foreign politics.’ Though Lothian himself thought much the same, it is, in fact, harder to think of an occasion when he was right. As Sir Robert Vansittart, the strongly anti-Nazi head of the Foreign Office in the 1930s put it, ‘Lothian was an incurably superficial Johnny-Know-All ...

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