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Irrational Expectations

Barry Supple, 18 November 1982

The 1982 Budget 
edited by John Kay.
Blackwell, 147 pp., £10, July 1982, 0 631 13153 1
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Money and Inflation 
by Frank Hahn.
Blackwell, 116 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 631 12917 0
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Public Enterprise in Crisis: The Future of the Nationalised Industries 
by John Redwood.
Blackwell, 211 pp., £5.25, May 1982, 0 631 13053 5
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Controlling Public Industries 
by John Redwood and John Hatch.
Blackwell, 169 pp., £12, July 1982, 0 631 13078 0
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... and unpredictable numbers. (A sympathetic echo is struck in Controlling Public Industries, where Redwood and Hatch, while accepting that the concept of the PSBR may function as a crude check on official profligacy in an imperfect world, go so far as to admit that in an ideal world ‘the PSBR, as currently defined, is a theoretical nonsense.’) In any ...

Into the sunset

Peter Clarke, 30 August 1990

Ideas and Politics in Modern Britain 
edited by J.C.D. Clark.
Macmillan, 271 pp., £40, July 1990, 0 333 51550 1
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The Philosopher on Dover Beach 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 344 pp., £18.95, June 1990, 0 85635 857 6
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... a period piece. In the nature of things, the essays had to be written some time back – that by John Redwood has a note explaining that the proofs had been approved before he joined the Government a year ago – and here it really matters. Another minister, John Patten, sticks his neck out in the foreword by claiming ...

Is that it for the NHS?

Peter Roderick: Is that it for the NHS?, 3 December 2015

... into the NHS, following on from the ‘options for radical reform’ set out by Oliver Letwin and John Redwood in 1988. It had three pillars: GP fund-holding (delegating budgets to individual GP practices); the replacement of health authorities by ‘NHS trusts’ (self-governing accounting centres with borrowing powers, and their own finance, human ...


R.W. Johnson: Major Wins the Losership, 3 August 1995

... of things like that. The upheavals in the Tory Party show a different face of the same reality. John Major’s leadership has been under almost intolerable stress ever since the collapse of British EMS membership in late 1992. The better the economy did thereafter – and not since the Fifties have we experienced such a protracted period of high growth and ...

The NHS Dismantled

John Furse, 7 November 2019

... by the US health insurance provider Kaiser Permanente in 1953. President Nixon’s adviser John Ehrlichman explained to his boss the basic concept before the passage of the 1973 HMO Act: ‘The less care they give them the more money they make.’ In May 2016 Jeremy Hunt, then health minister, admitted at a Commons Health Committee hearing that Kaiser ...

Highway to Modernity

Colin Kidd: The British Enlightenment, 8 March 2001

Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World 
by Roy Porter.
Allen Lane, 728 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 7139 9152 6
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... Curiously, the first historian to query this complacent picture was the future arch-Eurosceptic, John Redwood, in his Reason, Ridicule and Religion: The Age of Enlightenment in England 1660-1750 (1976). This told the story of the assault on orthodox Christianity launched during the Augustan age by a variegated cast of libertine rakes, deists and ...

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount, 20 February 2020

... the Holy Grail for the Knights Not Round the Table – Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Sir Bill Cash, Sir John Redwood et al – and they have devoted their adult lives to it. But they have more in mind than this. They hope also to undo the constitutional and administrative reforms of the Blair years. What they want to achieve is a simplification of ...

‘Just get us out’

Ferdinand Mount, 21 March 2019

... among the most learned Brexiteers. In fact, they often go much further back than 1689. Sir John Redwood, fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and long-time Tory MP for Wokingham, has invoked the Act in Restraint of Appeals of 1533, quoting on his constituency blog (7 June 2012) its ringing claim that ‘by divers sundry old authentic histories and ...

Ghosts in the Palace

Tom Nairn, 24 April 1997

... cart as well. We can’t be sure about this yet, in the darkling subsidence of Majorism. However, John Redwood, Sir George Gardiner and Michaels Howard and Portillo are scarcely arguments against the view. ‘The source of the authority and legitimacy of government ... the personification of the nation ... an institution vital to our national ...

The Irresistible Itch

Colin Kidd: Vandals in Bow Ties, 3 December 2009

Personal Responsibility: Why It Matters 
by Alexander Brown.
Continuum, 214 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 84706 399 1
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... instincts and her reputation (not entirely deserved) for outspokenness. However, her successor, John Major, succumbed to the temptations of saloon-bar moralism when he launched his Back to Basics campaign at the 1993 Tory Party Conference. Major remains insistent that Back to Basics did not amount to a moral crusade. It was Peter Lilley and ...

Educating the Utopians

Jonathan Parry: Parliament’s Hour, 18 April 2019

The Oxford Handbook of Modern British Political History, 1800-2000 
edited by David Brown, Robert Crowcroft and Gordon Pentland.
Oxford, 626 pp., £95, April 2018, 978 0 19 871489 7
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... untrustworthy nature of all politicians. It still seems probable that the likes of Steve Baker and John Redwood will vote against the agreement even if doing so destroys the government and the Brexit cause. Perhaps they seek a satisfying martyrdom as the only pure and incorruptible Brexiteers – the Robespierre and Saint-Just of our ...


W.G. Runciman: You had better look out, 10 December 1998

... cheer to the rafters each time Germany scored a goal. 8 June. Spot the typo, spare the blush. John Vincent writes from the University of Bristol: ‘In your memorable diaries you quote Disraeli’s view of May 1881, a month after his death. Would that other historians had access to such primary sources!’ 14 June. Alan Bennett’s letter to the LRB about ...

A Diagnosis

Jenny Diski, 11 September 2014

... Leone’s long, long close-up of Eastwood’s or Fonda’s impassive face; the Warhol movie of John Giorno sleeping for five hours and 20 minutes; Jarman’s 79-minute single shot of saturated blue.Or I could do nothing. I could sit in sadistic silence waiting for whatever is next on his list of diagnostic appointment moves for all ...

Like a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

John Lloyd: Globalisation, 2 September 1999

The Lexus and the Olive Tree 
by Thomas Friedman.
HarperCollins, 394 pp., £19.99, May 1999, 0 00 257014 9
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Global Transformation 
by David Held and Anthony McGrew.
Polity, 515 pp., £59.50, March 1999, 0 7456 1498 1
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... agenda tied to its tail, one which was destructive of social solidarities, while the right-wing John Redwood objected that it came veined with social-democratic notions which discouraged governments like Britain’s from making up their minds to be independent nation states in charge of their own economy and their own politics. The different styles of ...


Julian Barnes: People Will Hate Us Again, 20 April 2017

... Europe’s ‘plan’ for us was like Hitler’s (Gove also used the Nazi analogy). Along with John Redwood – he of the velveteen disdain (‘That’s a very BBC question,’ he tells Kirsty Wark patronisingly) – Johnson has been a big proponent of the ‘prosecco and cheese’ argument: that the Italians and the French will be so scared of losing ...

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