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‘Wisely I decided to say nothing’

Ross McKibbin: Jack Straw, 22 November 2012

Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a Political Survivor 
by Jack Straw.
Macmillan, 582 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 4472 2275 0
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... Jack Straw was one of the longest serving ministers in the history of the Labour Party. He spent 13 years in office, as home secretary, foreign secretary, leader of the House of Commons and justice minister. His book’s title, Last Man Standing, derives from the curious rule by which the lord chancellor (which Straw became in 2007, at the same time as being secretary of state for justice) is the last member of an outgoing government to resign ...


Conor Gearty: Reasons for Loathing Michael Howard, 31 October 1996

... raises a series of challenges for New Labour, and in particular for its shadow Home Secretary. Jack Straw is the kind of weather vane that Gramsci might have built to test which way the hegemony was blowing: at the moment he is pointing due right, and it is likely that he will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. He is perfectly correct to ...

Iran’s Bomb: A Revision

Norman Dombey: Iran’s Bomb: A Revision, 24 January 2008

... I was invited to visit the Iranian Embassy.* This was a period of détente. The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, had made friends with the Iranian foreign minister. Iran had already suspended its uranium enrichment activities and begun negotiations with the EU. Unfortunately, no meaningful security guarantees could be offered in the absence of the US and ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: ‘Extraordinary Rendition’, 5 January 2006

... in the ‘War on Terror’. ‘Careful research has been unable to identify any occasion,’ Jack Straw has said, ‘when we have received a request for permission by the United States for a rendition through United Kingdom territory or airspace.’ Perhaps it’s time to employ a few planespotters. Since the government won’t admit to knowing ...

Tearing up the Race Card

Paul Foot, 30 November 1995

The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker 
by Nigel Harris.
Tauris, 256 pp., £25, October 1995, 1 85043 956 7
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The Cambridge Survey of World Migration 
edited by Robin Cohen.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £75, November 1995, 0 521 44405 5
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... even at this late hour, by the prospect of hordes of foreigners being seduced into the country by Jack Straw. Several ministers, some for lack of any other strategy, some out of an instinctive xenophobia, press the Prime Minister to ‘play the race card’. The hawks on this subject are the two Michaels, Portillo and Howard, whose fathers were both ...
Possible Dreams: A Personal History of the British Christian Socialists 
by Chris Bryant.
Hodder, 351 pp., £25, July 1996, 0 340 64201 7
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... John Smith was ‘one of them’. Tony Blair is ‘one of them’. And so are Chris Smith and Jack Straw and half the Shadow Cabinet and many more on the backbenches including Frank Field, that one-man think-tank of the Labour Right. ‘They’ are the Christian socialists, architects of New Labour, ready to provide the movement with the ethical foundations which seem sorely missing ...

Short Cuts

Norman Dombey: Iraq, Uranium and Forged Intelligence, 17 November 2005

... times in summer 2002. The Senate voted in September 2002 to allow the president to go to war. Jack Straw even today insists that MI6 did not base its case for the Niger allegation on the forgery, but on intelligence they had acquired earlier. According to Bonini and d’Avanzo, when MI6 say ‘earlier’ they are referring to intelligence on the sale ...

The London Bombs

John Sturrock: In Bloomsbury, 21 July 2005

... there is a quote I found more chilling in its smugness than anything else in the volume. It had Jack Straw saying to a journalist words to the effect that ‘It’s at times like this that the country needs people like Tony and me.’ ‘Times like this’ have come round ...

Short Cuts

Adam Shatz: ‘Immigration Removal Centres’, 22 May 2008

... thoroughly privatised detention system, though the idea didn’t catch on immediately. In 1995, Jack Straw, then shadow home secretary, said: ‘It is not appropriate for people to profit out of incarceration.’ Two years later, with Labour in power, he’d changed his mind: ‘If there are contracts in the pipeline and the only way of getting the ...

Crimewatch UK

John Upton: The Tabloids, the Judges and the Mob, 21 September 2000

... 1990, the time she would have to serve – known as the tariff – was set at whole life. In 1997, Jack Straw undertook a further review of her sentence – which Marina Warner wrote about in this paper (1 January 1998). The Labour Home Secretary confirmed that a whole life tariff (life meaning life) was a suitable sentence in Hindley’s case. In ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Milosevic is delivered to the Hague, 19 July 2001

... Milosevic up to The Hague. That’s the jaunty Foreign Office view, at any rate, and typical of Jack Straw, the new man at the helm: it’s all a bit like his asylum legislation – firm and fast, and maybe if Milosevic is very lucky, it’ll be fair. But if you count from the beginning of the wars in Yugoslavia, there’s less to celebrate, even ...

In Court

Stephen Sedley: The Prorogation Debacle, 10 October 2019

... was as a political fait accompli. In the not so distant past this was the method used by Jack Straw, as foreign and Commonwealth secretary, to deprive the Chagos islanders of their right to return. It is no way to run a democracy, and it is to be hoped that in less febrile times the entire prerogative procedure will be made public. More dramatic ...

The Second Resolution Question

Owen Bennett-Jones: Post-Invasion Iraq, 1 June 2017

Iraq: The Cost of War 
by Jeremy Greenstock.
Heinemann, 467 pp., £25, November 2016, 978 1 78515 125 5
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... the book to the appropriate Foreign Office committees. In 2005 when the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, decided the book shouldn’t be published until the ministers involved were out of office, Greenstock accepted the ban with no public protest. He went on, as planned before he wrote the book, to take up a post running the British deep state’s ...

Silent Partner

Yitzhak Laor: Israel’s War, 8 May 2003

... anti-semites, of course – will take the claims of our diminishing peace movement seriously? If Jack Straw ever again tries to condemn the killing of civilians in Gaza, we will be able to remind him of the horrors of Basra. People in Europe, and even here, warn that this is the right time for ‘concessions’ to the Palestinians, if not for the sake ...

The Ultimate Justice Show

Michael Byers: The trial of Saddam, 8 January 2004

... in 1998, foresees that national courts will hear most cases involving international crimes – as Jack Straw was at pains to point out following Saddam’s arrest – but also allows the international court to determine whether a fair and genuine domestic prosecution is taking place, and to insist that the case be transferred to it in the event of ...

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