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Giving chase

James Prior, 5 March 1987

... In North Dorset there is a corner of England known as Crichel Down. It was acquired in 1938 by the RAF as a bombing range. Little did anyone believe that this rabbit-infested sheep run would become a political cause célèbre. In 1938 the down had little value, and it took a war, and a revolution in agricultural practice, for the land, and many thousands of acres like it, to become the productive farms of today ...

Raven’s Odyssey

D.A.N. Jones, 19 July 1984

by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 312 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 575 03446 7
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First Among Equals 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 446 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 340 35266 3
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Morning Star 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 264 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 9780856341380
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... to do with the real-life Peter Morrison MP but was inspired by boyhood memories of the real-life James Prior. The fictional ‘Peter Morrison MP’ reappears in Morning Star, the first volume of Raven’s new novel sequence, but now he seems nothing like James Prior MP. We are more likely to think of ...

Poor Stephen

James Fox, 23 July 1987

An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward 
by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy.
Cape, 268 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 224 02347 0
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Honeytrap: The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward 
by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79122 2
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... the Times, Lords Hailsham, Drogheda, Carrington, Goodman and Weinstock, and Messrs Roy Jenkins and James Prior, said they felt it was a good time, in view of the new publicity about the Ward case, to place on record their sense of admiration for the dignity and courage displayed by Mr and Mrs John Profumo and their family in the quarter-century since the ...

The Future of the Labour Party

Barbara Wootton, 18 December 1980

Healey’s Eye 
by Denis Healey.
Cape, 191 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 0 224 01793 4
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The Role of the Trade Unions: The Granada Guildhall Lectures 
by James Prior, Tony Benn and Lionel Murray.
Granada, 96 pp., £1, August 1980, 0 586 05386 7
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Rank and File 
by Hugh Jenkins.
Croom Helm, 179 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 7099 0331 6
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The Tragedy of Labour 
by Stephen Haseler.
Blackwell, 249 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780631113416
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Labour into the Eighties 
edited by David Bell.
Croom Helm, 168 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 7099 0443 6
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... either colour) and offers moderate but constructive proposals for the future, while James Prior, also in moderate terms, outlines his view of the role of the unions and describes those changes in the relevant law which are the objective of his own legislative programme. Tony Benn’s contribution is distinguished by its unique style, which ...
Who Framed Colin Wallace? 
by Paul Foot.
Macmillan, 306 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 333 47008 7
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... spot and the inquiry collapsed after less than a day – an occurrence unique in British history. James Prior, then Minister for Northern Ireland, announced that the police investigation would continue. As for the question of whether there had been a cover-up after Colin Wallace and others had drawn attention to the Kincora scandal, this would be ...


Karl Miller: Conflict of Two Egos, 3 June 1982

... he will keep peeing in wicked places. The sequences featuring three eventually famous friends, James Prior of Northern Ireland, Peter May of England, one of its cricket captains, and William Rees-Mogg, late of the Times, are among the tightest and funniest things he has written. May is present, while utterly silent, as a batsman of genius, and as a ...

Westland Ho

Paul Foot, 6 February 1986

... entertained a most important delegation in his office. It consisted of Sir Arnold Weinstock and Mr James Prior MP. The former was managing director and the latter chairman of the biggest manufacturing company in Britain, GEC. Neither man was a favourite of the Prime Minister. The previous April, Weinstock had infuriated her with his evidence to the House ...

Is this successful management?

R.W. Johnson, 20 April 1989

One of Us: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 570 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 333 34439 1
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... centrists and the old Junker class who had kept them out of power. Traditional Tories like Prior and Pym were slow to realise what was happening. Of Pym Young writes that ‘gentleman though he was’, he ‘wasn’t lacking in corridor savagery’ and illustrates the point by citing Pym’s remark: ‘The trouble is we’ve got a corporal at the ...


Clive James, 18 March 1982

... find the car too dull, Attractive only to another gull. At any rate, the books are with Jim Prior, Who must decide if we should drop De Lorean And cut the loss or raise the ante higher. De Lorean’s first name should have been Dorian: That ageless face of the Playboy high-flyer Is decomposing like an ancient saurian. I think he’s guilty mainly of ...

Stormy Weather

E.S. Turner, 18 July 1996

Passchendaele: The Untold Story 
by Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson.
Yale, 237 pp., £19.95, May 1996, 0 300 06692 9
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... score years is a long time to wait for the so-called ‘untold story’ of Passchendaele. Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson are Australian historians who tell us, a little loftily, that ‘Great War studies have yet to escape their protracted adolescence.’ Their adult investigation is reminiscent of those relentless inquiries into scams carried out by ...

Is that you, James?

Thomas Nagel, 1 October 1987

Philosophy and the Brain 
by J.Z. Young.
Oxford, 241 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 19 219215 9
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Freedom and Belief 
by Galen Strawson.
Oxford, 353 pp., £27.50, January 1987, 0 19 824938 1
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The Oxford Companion to the Mind 
edited by Richard Gregory.
Oxford, 874 pp., £25, September 1987, 9780198661245
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... activity by the larynx and muscles of the throat that sends the response ‘Yes – is that you, James?’ There are evidently some gaps in the physiological story, but they get filled in with nothing more than the psychology of the man in the street dressed up as remarks about the brain. The truth is that while a good deal is known about the outer ...

The Party and the Army

Ronan Bennett, 21 March 1996

... set up as the result of an initiative by the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior. The following year, Adams, already an Assembly member, became MP for West Belfast (he held the seat in 1987 before losing it to the SDLP in 1992). At the same time, Adams, McGuinness and other Northerners displaced the Party’s old leadership ...

Soft Touches

Mary Goldring, 1 September 1983

DeLorean: The Rise and Fall of a Dream-Maker 
by Ivan Fallon and James Srodes.
Hamish Hamilton, 418 pp., £8.95, July 1983, 0 241 11087 4
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... a charmed life. Not until then did the Government, in the person of Northern Ireland Secretary Jim Prior, feel able to call his bluff. DeLorean was the son of an immigrant French millwright who qualified as an engineer but began his working life as an insurance salesman and a successful one – all his life he was to retain a salesman’s gift of the gab. Left ...

John Stuart Mill’s Forgotten Victory

Alasdair MacIntyre, 16 October 1980

An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy 
by John Stuart Mill, edited by J.M. Robson.
Routledge, 625 pp., £15.95, February 1980, 0 7100 0178 9
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... and too easily two quite distinct positions: the view that there are certain truths which we know prior to and independently of all sense-experience, and the view that there are certain truths which we know, in favour of which no argument or reasoning whatsoever can be adduced because they themselves provide the initial premises or first principles from which ...

Poets and Pretenders

John Sutherland, 2 April 1987

The Great Pretender 
by James Atlas.
Viking, 239 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 9780670814619
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The Position of the Body 
by Richard Stern.
Northwestern, 207 pp., $21.95, November 1986, 0 8101 0730 9
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The Setting Sun and the Rolling World 
by Charles Mungoshi.
Heinemann, 202 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 434 48166 1
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Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 162 Years after his Lordship’s Death 
by Amanda Prantera.
Cape, 174 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 9780224024235
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... James Atlas’s The Great Pretender is a first novel. But Atlas has some prior fame as the author of a powerful biography of Delmore Schwartz, America’s poète maudit who died tragically unfulfilled in 1966, having lived out the truth of one of his best essays: ‘The Isolation of the Modern Poet ...

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