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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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... JackStraw 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 ...


Conor Gearty: Reasons for Loathing Michael Howard

31 October 1996
... appearance and content of the card were concerned. The problem of which Howard is the most potent symbol raises a series of challenges for New Labour, and in particular for its shadow Home Secretary. JackStraw 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 ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: ‘Extraordinary Rendition’

5 January 2006
... behaving suspiciously themselves, but because they might have been witnesses to this secret battlefront in the ‘War on Terror’. ‘Careful research has been unable to identify any occasion,’ JackStraw 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 ...

Iran’s Bomb: A Revision

Norman Dombey: Iran’s Bomb: A Revision

24 January 2008
... 2003 makes sense. In early 2004, while preparing my first LRB piece on Iran’s nuclear programme, I was invited to visit the Iranian Embassy.* This was a period of détente. The foreign secretary, JackStraw, 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 ...

Short Cuts

Adam Shatz: ‘Immigration Removal Centres’

22 May 2008
... people in ‘immigration removal centres’, isn’t much more open. The UK now has Europe’s most thoroughly privatised detention system, though the idea didn’t catch on immediately. In 1995, JackStraw, 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 ...
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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... Labour may be soft on immigration. The electorate may be scared away from its obvious intention, even at this late hour, by the prospect of hordes of foreigners being seduced into the country by JackStraw. 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 ...
31 October 1996
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 JackStraw 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 ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Milosevic is delivered to the Hague

19 July 2001
... taken long, if you count from the first Nato bombing runs on Serbia in March 1999, to deliver Slobodan Milosevic up to The Hague. That’s the jaunty Foreign Office view, at any rate, and typical of JackStraw, 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 ...

The London Bombs

John Sturrock: In Bloomsbury

21 July 2005
... is very content for us to remain in. Somewhere in John Kampfner’s excellent book on Blair’s Wars, there is a quote I found more chilling in its smugness than anything else in the volume. It had JackStraw 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 again. Alas ...

Short Cuts

Norman Dombey: Iraq, Uranium and Forged Intelligence

17 November 2005
... Saddam was ‘actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time’. He went on to repeat this charge several times in summer 2002. The Senate voted in September 2002 to allow the president to go to war. JackStraw 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 ...

In Court

Stephen Sedley: The Prorogation Debacle

10 October 2019
... of the Order in Council proroguing Parliament, which the Supreme Court has now struck down for illegality, was as a political fait accompli. In the not so distant past this was the method used by JackStraw, 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 ...

The Second Resolution Question

Owen Bennett-Jones: Post-Invasion Iraq

31 May 2017
Iraq: The Cost of War 
by Jeremy Greenstock.
Heinemann, 467 pp., £25, November 2016, 978 1 78515 125 5
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... in what knowledgeable insiders had to say about them. But he also accepted his duty to the state, submitting the book to the appropriate Foreign Office committees. In 2005 when the foreign secretary, JackStraw, 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 ...

Crimewatch UK

John Upton: The Tabloids, the Judges and the Mob

21 September 2000
... t told this. In 1987, she confessed to her involvement in the killing of two more children. In 1990, the time she would have to serve – known as the tariff – was set at whole life. In 1997, JackStraw 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 ...

Silent Partner

Yitzhak Laor: Israel’s War

8 May 2003
... crimes now, just for uprooting a few thousand olive trees. Who except for anti-Israeli zealots – and anti-semites, of course – will take the claims of our diminishing peace movement seriously? If JackStraw 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 ...

Blood Boiling

Paul Foot: Corporate takeover

22 February 2001
Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain 
by George Monbiot.
Macmillan, 430 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 333 90164 9
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No Logo 
by Naomi Klein.
Flamingo, 501 pp., £8.99, January 2001, 0 00 653040 0
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... which holds the record for the biggest fine ever imposed under Health and Safety legislation, even before the authorities have fully investigated its crucial role in track maintenance at Hatfield; JackStraw, radical campaigner for public enterprise from Barbara Castle’s former seat, who in May 1996 told the Prison Officers Association that privatisation of the prisons was ‘morally unacceptable ...

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