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Carrington: A Life and a Policy 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Dent, 182 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 460 04691 8
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Thatcher: The First Term 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Bodley Head, 240 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 370 30602 3
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Viva Britannia: Mrs Thatcher’s Britain 
by Paolo Filo della Torre.
Sidgwick, 101 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 283 99143 7
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... Patrick Cosgrave is a well-known political journalist who has been within and without the Conservative Party for many years. He has played Boswell to Margaret Thatcher’s Johnson, having come in from the cold, as it were, of the Heath years. He has now written a book about Peter Carrington, who resigned, of course, as Foreign Minister after the Argentines invaded the Falklands in April 1982 ...

Money Matter

Julian Critchley, 24 July 1986

A Matter of Honour 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 350 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 340 39365 3
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... Jeffrey Archer has taken to books as other men to property or publishing: as a way to get rich. As is well known, he wrote Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less in order to escape the coils of bankruptcy and to pay his debts. That he should have done so triumphantly is a measure of his guts and application. But courage in adversity is one thing, literary merit quite another ...

Shoulder-Shrugging

Julian Critchley, 11 December 1997

Dear Bill: Bill Deedes Reports 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 333 71386 9
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... Has anyone ever been unkind in public about Bill Deedes? I rather doubt it. I was in the House of Commons with him from 1959 until 1964, and also had the occasional dealing with him when he presided over Hartwell’s Telegraph. In the House, he struck a newcomer as the ideal backbencher. He was intelligent (for a Tory, that is), enjoyed an excess of charm, and was a moderate in a party that was beginning to lose patience with Harold Macmillan ...

From Old Adam to New Eve

Peter Pulzer, 6 June 1985

The Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher 
by Robert Blake.
Methuen/Fontana, 401 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 413 58140 3
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Westminster Blues 
by Julian Critchley.
Hamish Hamilton, 134 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 241 11387 3
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... bridges since then. The Conservative Party has changed in social composition, policy and style. Julian Critchley puts it quite brutally: ‘As Mrs Thatcher has gone up in the world, so the party has come down.’ The Knights of the Shires have given way to the Knights of the Suburbs. That change is probably permanent. Only four of her cabinet ministers ...

After the Battle

Matthew Coady, 26 November 1987

Misrule 
by Tam Dalyell.
Hamish Hamilton, 152 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 241 12170 1
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One Man’s Judgement: An Autobiography 
by Lord Wheatley.
Butterworth, 230 pp., £15.95, July 1987, 0 406 10019 5
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Changing Battlefields: The Challenge to the Labour Party 
by John Silkin.
Hamish Hamilton, 226 pp., £13.95, September 1987, 9780241121719
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Heseltine: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Julian Critchley.
Deutsch, 198 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 0 233 98001 6
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... saw as the begetters of that defeat. His survivors might usefully heed his advice. The subject of Julian Critchley’s unauthorised biography ranks as a loser at least for the moment. Michael Heseltine may have stormed out of the Thatcher Cabinet over the Westland affair, he may have no power base in the Commons, but in his biographer’s estimate at ...

Who ruins Britain?

Peter Clarke, 22 November 1990

Friends in High Places: Who runs Britain? 
by Jeremy Paxman.
Joseph, 370 pp., £16.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3154 1
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The Sunday Times Book of the Rich 
by Philip Beresford.
Weidenfeld, 336 pp., £18.95, October 1990, 0 297 81115 0
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... In a chapter called ‘Etonians and Estonians’, the home team emerge as comfortable winners. Julian Critchley, that eloquent chronicler of a ‘peasants’ revolt’ among Conservative MPs during his own career, is brought on to recite his party piece about how he was reprimanded in the late Fifties for wearing suede shoes in the division lobby. The ...

Hobnobbing

Simon Hoggart, 24 April 1997

Michael Heseltine: A Biography 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 496 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 241 13691 1
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... to Noel Picarda, a Liberal, though I’m fairly certain it was said by Heseltine’s old friend Julian Critchley. These speeches take an enormous amount out of him. He was desperate to prove that his heart attack in the summer of 1993 was caused by a blockage rather than a weakness in the heart itself. However, he took his doctors’ advice and skipped ...

‘Shop!’

Hilary Mantel, 4 April 1996

Behind the Scenes at the Museum 
by Kate Atkinson.
Black Swan, 382 pp., £6.99, January 1996, 0 552 99618 1
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... and happy with that arrangement. She was dubbed ‘anti-family’, and abused accordingly. Julian Critchley, one of the Whitbread judges, wrote an article in which he blamed the ‘Corps of Lady Novelists’ for her victory. The book, he said, ‘resembles the Life of Jackie Charlton as written by Beryl Bainbridge’. He clearly meant this as a ...

The Darth Vader Option

Colin Kidd: The Tories, 24 January 2013

The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change 
by Tim Bale.
Oxford, 372 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 923437 0
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The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 471 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 7456 4858 3
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Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010 
by Richard Hayton.
Manchester, 166 pp., £60, September 2012, 978 0 7190 8316 7
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... described so poignantly by the organisation’s elegist, the anti-Thatcherite Tory ‘wet’ Julian Critchley, in his charming memoir A Bag of Boiled Sweets. The life of a Young Conservative was an endless whirl of Saturday night dances, whist drives and tennis parties. The only essential requirement for a member, it seems, was a lack of interest in ...

Redheads in Normandy

R.W. Johnson: The 1997 election, 22 January 1998

The British General Election of 1997 
by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 343 pp., £17.50, November 1997, 0 333 64776 9
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Labour's Landslide 
by Andrew Geddes and Jonathan Tonge.
Manchester, 211 pp., £40, December 1997, 0 7190 5159 2
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Britain Votes 1997 
edited by Pippa Norris and Neil Gavin.
Oxford, 253 pp., £12.99, January 1998, 9780199223220
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Collapse of Stout Party: The Decline and Fall of the Tories 
by Julian Crtitchley and Morrison Halcrow.
Gollancz, 288 pp., £20, November 1997, 0 575 06277 0
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Les Election Legislatives, 25 Mai-1er Juin 1997: Le president desavoue 
Le Monde, 146 pp., frs 45, June 1998Show More
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... and unrelievedly earnest material you may seriously damage your brain. One has to pick up the Critchley volume to remind oneself that politics is often funny. Critchley bids an appalled farewell to his colleagues, ‘Mother’ Teresa Gorman, ‘Little Norm’ Lamont, ‘Big Norm’ Tebbit and all the rest: John ...
Whatever Happened to the Tories: The Conservatives since 1945 
by Ian Gilmour and Mark Garnett.
Fourth Estate, 448 pp., £25, October 1997, 1 85702 475 3
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... explanation follows in some way from the second. Whatever Happened to the Tories and, even more, Julian Critchley’s Collapse of Stout Party (also written from the left of the Conservative Party)* cause one to reflect on the attitudes of the Party’s leadership to its rank and file. Most party leaders are, as Gilmour argues, nervous of their ...

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