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A Matter of Justice: The Legal System in Ferment 
by Michael Zander.
Tauris, 323 pp., £16.50, February 1988, 1 85043 040 3
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The Coercive State: The Decline of Democracy in Britain 
by Paddy Hillyard and Janie Percy-Smith.
Fontana, 352 pp., £5.95, February 1988, 0 00 637083 7
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... they had a status worth protecting could be assumed to have the funds with which to protect it. If Jeffrey Archer had been in an earlier and less pecunious phase of his life when the Daily Star libelled him, he would never had got to court to vindicate himself. And it doesn’t end with bringing libel actions. Legal aid is not available to defend a libel ...
Canteen Culture 
by Ike Eze-anyika.
Faber, 295 pp., £9.99, March 2000, 0 571 20079 6
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by Tony White.
Codex, 158 pp., £7.95, December 1999, 1 899598 13 8
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by Irvine Welsh.
Vintage, 392 pp., £5.99, August 1999, 0 09 959111 1
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... the storyline eventually peters out in a flurry of half-hearted plot twists that might even make Jeffrey Archer blush. Canteen Culture is good on the sheer boredom of routine work, but, despite the author’s experience in the Met, it reveals only that the police value solidarity more than legal niceties, have trouble accepting people from ethnic ...

Thanks to the Fels-Naptha Soap King

Miles Taylor: George Lansbury, 22 May 2003

George Lansbury: At the Heart of Old Labour 
by John Shepherd.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, September 2002, 0 19 820164 8
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... have earned it the nickname ‘Holiday Bay’, and, given such luxury, it seems unsurprising that Jeffrey Archer is now seeing out his stretch there. Almost a hundred years ago, however, Hollesley Bay was one of the labour ‘colonies’ set up by the Poor Law guardians of Poplar in London’s East End, who sought to ease the Poor Law crisis in the ...
Once a Jolly Bagman: Memoirs 
by Alistair McAlpine.
Weidenfeld, 269 pp., £20, March 1997, 9780297817376
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... reptiles of the nastiest variety. So there are some glorious stories about the sycophancy, say, of Jeffrey Archer or the man whom McAlpine blames for the entire ‘conspiracy’ to put John Major in Downing Street, the relatively harmless Europhile whip, Tristan Garel-Jones. Any enjoyment of these revelations is ruined, however, by McAlpine’s snobbery ...

Something about her eyes

Patricia Beer, 24 June 1993

Daphne du Maurier 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 455 pp., £17.99, March 1993, 0 7011 3699 5
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... be on the warpath against élitism. In due time we could have an extensive study of, say, Jeffrey Archer. In fact, as writers, Archer and du Maurier have a lot in common, apart from the side issue that both their spouses were once publicly commended for being personally fastidious and well-groomed. One of the ...


Christopher Ricks, 22 November 1990

Bloomsbury Dictionary of Dedications 
edited by Adrian Room.
Bloomsbury, 354 pp., £17.99, September 1990, 0 7475 0521 7
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Unauthorised Versions: Poems and their Parodies 
edited by Kenneth Baker.
Faber, 446 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 0 571 14122 6
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The Faber Book of Vernacular Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 407 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 571 14470 5
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... Government’s replacing of O-Level and CSE exams by the new GCSE ‘proved a great success’. Jeffrey Archer makes it, but is held at a prophylactic distance. The SDP/Liberal Alliance is judged to have ‘foundered on the pique of David Steel and the pride of David Owen’: it is not clear why a note to this effect had to be appended to this other ...

What difference did she make?

Eric Hobsbawm, 23 May 1991

A Question of Leadership: Gladstone to Thatcher 
by Peter Clarke.
Hamish Hamilton, 334 pp., £17.99, April 1991, 0 241 13005 0
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The Quiet Rise of John Major 
by Edward Pearce.
Weidenfeld, 177 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 297 81208 4
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... correspondents and Tory politicians may want to know exactly what, say, Norman Lamont said to Jeffrey Archer on 20 November 1990. Nevertheless, Clarke’s interest in these matters is also lucky for his readers, since it enables a stylish amateur of political private diaries and other forms of planned indiscretion to satisfy our taste for the higher ...

Half Bird, Half Fish, Half Unicorn

Paul Foot, 16 October 1997

Peter Cook: A Biography 
by Harry Thompson.
Hodder, 516 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 340 64968 2
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... years later, Mr Justice Caulfield summed up with legendary imbecility in the libel case brought by Jeffrey Archer against the Daily Star, Peter told me, earnestly but with his eyes twinkling, that his Thorpe satire had now become a standard judicial text which judges could only ignore ‘on pain of instant execution’. Like many comic geniuses, Peter ...

Nerds, Rabbits and a General Lack of Testosterone

R.W. Johnson: Major and Lamont, 9 December 1999

The Autobiography 
by John Major.
HarperCollins, 774 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 00 257004 1
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In Office 
by Norman Lamont.
Little, Brown, 567 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 316 64707 1
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... up a petty criminal, a copper’s nark, a seller of iffy cars – rather than the man who made Jeffrey Archer a life peer. Major feels he was let down by ‘the bastards’ in his own party, while Lamont feels he was badly treated all round. It is Lamont, curiously, who puts his finger on the things that matter: the controversy over Europe and the ...

Cod on Ice

Andy Beckett: The BBC, 10 July 2003

Panorama: Fifty Years of Pride And Paranoia 
by Richard Lindley.
Politico’s, 404 pp., £18.99, September 2002, 1 902301 80 3
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The Harder Path: The Autobiography 
by John Birt.
Time Warner, 532 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 316 86019 0
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... yawning fringes of Sunday evening. Last December, for example, a flimsy drama about the career of Jeffrey Archer meant that that week’s Panorama, a stern and thorough examination of the recent suspicious deaths of soldiers at Deepcut barracks in Surrey, ended uncomfortably close to midnight. Satire rather than investigative journalism, the message ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian Hamilton: Watch your mouth!, 14 December 2000

Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... indeed she was at times portrayed as even more cynical and snobbish than he was. Somewhat in the Jeffrey Archer mode, Clark plays the naughty boy, and turns his wife into a parent – strict but merciful, the custodian of his best self. Since Clark’s death last year, his widow has paid tribute to his sensitive prowess as an adulterer. He caused her ...

You see stars

Michael Wood, 19 June 1997

The House of Sleep 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 384 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 670 86458 7
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... works recommended by Pope Paul VI are called Wet Knickers, Pussy Talk and Cream on My Face; that Jeffrey Archer is confused with Kingsley Amis, and Cliff Richard with Vera Lynn (‘Durable singer of uplifting ballads who has, for as long as most of us can remember, been regarded as one of the undisputed queens of British popular music’). But for me ...

All Monte Carlo

James Francken: Malcolm Braly, 23 May 2002

On the Yard 
by Malcolm Braly.
NYRB, 438 pp., £8.99, March 2002, 9780940322967
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... the central character was already out of prison and back on the streets. According to the papers, Jeffrey Archer, now prisoner FF8282, is finishing a novel about prison life. Maybe first-hand experience will help him to improve on his earlier efforts; it would be hard to do worse. In Archer’s Twelve Red Herrings ...

Some Flim-Flam with Socks

Adam Kuper: Laurens van der Post, 3 January 2002

Storyteller: The Many Lives of Laurens van der Post 
by J.D.F. Jones.
Murray, 505 pp., £25, September 2001, 0 7195 5580 9
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... Among recently exposed fantasists, he lists Patrick O’Brian, Bruce Chatwin, Laurie Lee and Jeffrey Archer, all writers for whom a legend as man of action was a large part of their stock in trade. The South African poet Roy Campbell, who was a world-class liar, influenced Van der Post at an impressionable age. (‘I have no moral objection to ...

It’s life but not as we know it

Tim Radford, 3 July 1997

... electric with civilisations: a thousand or so cultures advanced to the standard of Einstein or Jeffrey Archer in this galaxy alone. So where are they all? When John Logie Baird invented television, he also invented a microwave messaging system broadcast through interstellar space. For forty years, programmes like I Love Lucy and Rawhide and Dynasty ...

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