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13 May 1999
... at those cold grey eyes. I am not talking about the fish, but the ranks of inscribed black and white photographs that line the walls of the dining-room: Harold Wilson, Derek Nimmo, David Steel, Jeremy Irons, Clement Freud, Norman Tebbit, Barbara Castle, Elaine Paige, Cecil Parkinson, Nigel Lawson, Robin Day. It’s like being compulsorily inducted into a dinner party from hell, a nightmare mix of ...

The Angry Men

Jean McNicol: Harriet Harman

14 December 2017
A Woman’s Work 
by Harriet Harman.
Allen Lane, 405 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 0 241 27494 1
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The Women Who Shaped Politics 
by Sophy Ridge.
Coronet, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 4736 3876 1
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... In the 1987 election 41 women were elected, 21 of them Labour. For most of the decade from 1983 until 1992, when Neil Kinnock was party leader, the only female member of the shadow cabinet was Jo Richardson – as minister for women, inevitably. In 1990 the rules were changed: MPs now had to vote for at least three women in shadow cabinet elections. Harman says male MPs called this the Assisted Places ...


Alan Bennett: Finding My Métier

4 January 2018
... prop. He thought he was being given the bat and was mortified when it was taken away. This perhaps explains his lifelong dislike of sport.16 February. Trump as president’s equivalent here would be Jeremy Kyle as prime minister. T. continues to appal. He seems to have no moral compass, and if he has a compass at all it’s fixed permanently on self-seeking.23 February. I go to the chemist in search of ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997

1 January 1998
... from South Yorkshire (film of the demolition of some cooling towers near Barnsley) through Eastern Europe to Greece. Tony mentions in the poem her absent friends: George Devine, Ron Eyre, Tony Richardson, John and John (Dexter and Osborne), and at the conclusion a cake is brought in and Jocelyn is crowned with laurels. It could be thought pretentious but since Jocelyn is so far from pretentious it ...

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