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Stalker & Co

Damian Grant, 20 November 1986

... Octagon Theatre. One chain of events focuses on the Deputy Chief Constable of Manchester, Mr John Stalker, who was recently suspended for three months during an internal disciplinary investigation and subsequently reinstated by the lay Police Authority, despite the evident willingness of his senior colleagues to have him face a tribunal. The other ...

The Irresistible Rise of a Folk Hero

Gabrielle Cox, 3 March 1988

by John Stalker.
Harrap, 288 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 245 54616 2
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StalkerThe Search for the Truth 
by Peter Taylor.
Faber, 231 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 571 14836 0
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... Nothing so exposes the levels of hypocrisy in our society as the Stalker case. This cause célèbre has turned an unknown policeman into a household symbol of integrity and innocence in a wicked world, and given him the kind of public attention associated with taxi or train-drivers who win Mastermind. Now his own long-heralded account of his experiences has been published ...


Paul Foot: Two Views of John Stalker, 3 March 1988

... biggest provincial Police Force in Britain – Greater Manchester – was called in to command it. John Stalker was an excellent choice. Nothing in his life had distinguished him as a subversive. It is true that his father had been a Labour man, and an admirer of the Daily Herald, but he himself had not shown any such dangerous symptoms. He was a highly ...

Particularly Anodyne

Richard Norton-Taylor: One bomb in London, 15 July 2021

The Intelligence War against the IRA 
by Thomas Leahy.
Cambridge, 356 pp., £18.99, March 2020, 978 1 108 72040 3
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... guardsmen and their horses in the royal parks. A missile fired from a truck and narrowly missing John Major’s cabinet in Downing Street was met with astonishment as much as alarm. The IRA had come to learn that one bomb in London had more impact than ten in Northern Ireland. Yet since it concentrated on commercial targets in the City, where its attacks had ...

Not bloody likely

Paul Foot, 26 March 1992

Bloody Sunday in Derry: What really happened 
by Eamonn McCann, Maureen Shiels and Bridie Hannigan.
Brandon, 254 pp., £5.99, January 1992, 0 86322 139 4
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... for the security forces. Would they at last teach the cheeky croppies from Derry a lesson? Had not John Taylor, Northern Ireland’s Home Affairs Minister, declared, after the shooting of Cusack and Beattie: ‘I feel that it may be necessary to shoot even more in the forthcoming months’? Had not the newly-formed extremist Democratic Unionist Party announced ...


Colin Wallace, 8 October 1992

The Red Hand: Protestant Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland 
by Steve Bruce.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, August 1992, 0 19 215961 5
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... the best example of this is the investigation carried out by Manchester Deputy Chief Constable, John Stalker, into an alleged ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy in Northern Ireland. In January 1988, the then Attorney-General, Sir Patrick Mayhew, told the Commons that, given certain ‘considerations of national security’, no charges would be brought against ...


Nick Richardson: Stalking James Lasdun, 25 April 2013

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked 
by James Lasdun.
Cape, 224 pp., £14.99, February 2013, 978 0 224 09662 1
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... by James Lasdun about learning to fire a gun. A few weeks later we received an email from his stalker. It read: ‘His writing is boring and doesn’t sell. Stop publishing that hairy-nosed Jewish wanna-be-Protestant bore of a boar. His wife’s cunt smells of dead rabbits. His girlfriends are the most hideous.’ It goes without saying that its author ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... as a way of allowing honourable men to stay in office without appearing to want to do so. John Nott offered his resignation after the Falklands invasion but he allowed himself to be persuaded by Mrs Thatcher to stay in office. William Whitelaw has written that he wanted to resign as Home Secretary after an intruder had entered the Queen’s bedroom in ...

Our Flexible Friends

Conor Gearty, 18 April 1996

Scott Inquiry Report 
by Richard Scott.
HMSO, 2386 pp., £45, February 1996, 0 10 262796 7
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... as the debating triumph it would have achieved would have come at too high a political price. John Major’s government survived its Commons ordeal on Scott because of the decision to abstain by the three members of Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party. One of the three, the Reverend William McCrea, was reported as having asked, shortly before the ...

UK Law

John Horgan, 16 August 1990

Stolen Years: Before and After Guildford 
by Paul Hill and Ronan Bennett.
Doubleday, 287 pp., £12.99, June 1990, 0 385 40125 6
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Proved Innocent 
by Gerry Conlon.
Hamish Hamilton, 234 pp., £12.99, June 1990, 0 241 13065 4
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Cage Eleven 
by Gerry Adams.
Brandon, 156 pp., £4.95, June 1990, 0 86322 114 9
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The Poisoned Tree: The untold truth about the Police conspiracy to discredit John Stalker and destroy me 
by Kevin Taylor and Keith Mumby.
Sidgwick, 219 pp., £15, May 1990, 0 283 06056 5
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... it, the Taylor prosecution was part of a contingency plan which was set up to be activated if the Stalker police enquiry in Northern Ireland got too close to anything of significance for ‘national security’. The linchpin was, Taylor claims, the transcript of the tape of the hayshed killing which Stalker was ...
... not only for them but for the whole community. Mrs Thatcher has done for Unionists what John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson did for the whites of Alabama in the Sixties. She has stripped them of ascendancy and privilege, and in so doing has done a service to us all – by placing us on a politically equal footing. What Unionists should ...


Will Self: James Ellroy, 2 December 2010

The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women 
by James Ellroy.
Heinemann, 203 pp., £16.99, September 2010, 978 0 434 02064 5
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... account – been a frantic peeping Tom and a determined fantasist; now he became an accomplished stalker, breaking into the tony Hancock Park homes of unattainable co-eds, rifling their knicker drawers and popping pills from the family medicine cabinets. Pills and weed led to a fervid over the counter speed habit, and Ellroy lost another seven years to the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’, 10 October 2019

... In​ 1979 the makers of Alien, Stalker and, it might also be said, Apocalypse Now invented worlds we thought we wanted to know about but couldn’t inhabit. Domestic quarrels and the musical had their day too (in Kramer vs. Kramer and All That Jazz), and we may feel that Roman Polanski’s Tess belongs to both old and new worlds, but still: it was a good year for otherness ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: The Killers', Criterion Collection, 24 September 2015

... Russian, they meet up in a bar (not a diner) that looks as if it’s rehearsing for its part in Stalker, and yet they are supposed to be Americans. The suggestion that anyone could go to the movies more than they do can only be there for bleak laughs. The Hemingway story and the Tarkovsky film end almost as soon as they start. The gangsters chat for a while ...

Almost Lovable

Sheila Fitzpatrick: What Stalin Built, 30 July 2015

Landscapes of Communism: A History through Buildings 
by Owen Hatherley.
Allen Lane, 613 pp., £25, June 2015, 978 1 84614 768 5
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... or, as Hatherley puts it, ‘tourism of the counter-revolution’. Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker, with its memorable imagery of the Zone, is a reference point here, as is real-life Chernobyl, now a tourist destination for those with a ‘ruin chic’ sensibility. Hatherley distinguishes his own position from that of the admirers of Totally Awesome ...

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