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David Runciman: Shuffling Off into Obscurity, 5 May 2016

... through a lot together. Oliver Letwin, with his decency and his wonderful professorial quality. Ken Clarke. Definitely Ken Clarke. He is truly brilliant … I am really looking forward to the election campaign. We have something important to say, and now I just want to get out there and say it. It would be ...

Little Mercians

Ian Gilmour: Why Kenneth Clarke should lead the Tories, 5 July 2001

... began immediately after the 1997 election, when the Parliamentary Party rejected Kenneth Clarke as its next leader. Clarke was unquestionably the best of the candidates and indeed the only one who was unquestionably qualified for the job. Yet Conservative MPs preferred William Hague, who should not even have stood ...

Gove or Galtieri?

Colin Kidd: Popular Conservatism, 5 October 2017

Crown, Church and Constitution: Popular Conservatism in England 1815-67 
by Jörg Neuheiser, translated by Jennifer Walcoff Neuheiser.
Berghahn, 320 pp., £78, May 2016, 978 1 78533 140 4
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Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy 
by Daniel Ziblatt.
Cambridge, 450 pp., £26.99, April 2017, 978 0 521 17299 8
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Edmund Burke and the Invention of Modern Conservatism, 1830-1914: An Intellectual History 
by Emily Jones.
Oxford, 288 pp., £60, April 2017, 978 0 19 879942 9
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Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir 
by Ken Clarke.
Pan, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 5098 3720 5
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... trembling suspicion the unvenerated elders of their own tribe: Michael Heseltine, John Major and Ken Clarke. The recent past of the Conservative Party has become a foreign country, treacherously so. The paperback edition of Clarke’s memoirs includes as an appendix his speech in the House of Commons during the Brexit ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: An hour with George and Ed, 13 July 2023

... by a margin, but they also – surprise – fancied Rory’s fellow anti-Boris Tory Remainers: Ken Clarke, William Hague, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve. Rory and Alastair had only met once, at a garden party hosted by the right-wing Remainer Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, but, phew, they hit it off. In fact, they were so happy bashing Boris together that ...

Who will get legal aid now?

Joanna Biggs: Legal Aid, 20 October 2011

... irresponsible nation: we don’t want to sort out our problems ourselves. The justice minister, Ken Clarke, says that from now on ‘people will instead use alternative, less adversarial means of resolving their problems.’ The legal aid minister, Jonathan Djanogly, a former City lawyer, is willing an ‘ambitious culture change’. Perhaps they ...

Grumpy in October

Jonathan Parry: The Anglo-French Project, 21 April 2022

Entente Imperial: British and French Power in the Age of Empire 
by Edward J. Gillin.
Amberley, 288 pp., £20, February 2022, 978 1 3981 0289 7
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... of the UK, led to the defenestration of most of the Conservative Party’s foreign policy experts: Ken Clarke, David Gauke, Oliver Letwin, David Lidington and Rory Stewart. With them went the liberal Tory realist tradition of foreign policy which had been a constant of British statecraft since it became a world power. Instead we are in the hands of Jacob ...

‘We’ve messed up, boys’

Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite: Bad Blood, 16 November 2023

The Poison Line: A True Story of Death, Deception and Infected Blood 
by Cara McGoogan.
Viking, 396 pp., £20, September, 978 0 241 62750 1
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Death in the Blood: The Inside Story of the NHS Infected Blood Scandal 
by Caroline Wheeler.
Headline, 390 pp., £22, September, 978 1 0354 0524 4
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... Yet officials and ministers continued to minimise the danger in public: on 14 November 1983, Ken Clarke, minister of state for health, told Parliament that there was ‘no conclusive evidence that Aids is transmitted by blood products’.In December 1983, Bloom warned his colleagues at University Hospital that Kevin Slater’s blood ‘should be ...

A British Bundesrat?

Colin Kidd: Scotland and the Constitution, 17 April 2014

... and members of the so-called Democracy Taskforce set up by the Tories in opposition and headed by Ken Clarke, have over the past decade proposed various means of ironing out post-devolutionary wrinkles in the British political system. So too has the McKay Commission (2012-13), chaired by a former clerk of the House of Commons. Meanwhile there have been ...

You Know Who You Are

Colin Kidd: About Last Year, 25 January 2018

Fall Out: A Year Of Political Mayhem 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 559 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 0 00 826438 3
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... aimed at ensuring parliamentary ratification of a final Brexit outcome, no sitting Tory apart from Ken Clarke, who was the sole Tory rebel in the Article 50 vote, has been prepared to reject the Brexiteers’ flat-earth vision outright. Remaining is a lost cause, as politically relevant as Jacobitism or the Anti-Corn Law League. Labour isn’t much ...

Let them cut grass

Linda Colley, 16 December 1993

The Downing Street Years 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 914 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 255049 0
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... She had trumpeted the enterprise culture with conviction. Yet she still felt obliged to send Ken Clarke to run the Department of Health because ‘he was unlikely to talk the kind of free-market language which might alarm the general public.’ Was it disillusionment at these strictly muted results of her policies that ground her down, making her at ...

Corbyn’s Progress

Tariq Ali, 3 March 2016

... to this military interference in politics. When Corbyn tried to complain, a former Tory grandee, Ken Clarke, declared that the army was not answerable to Parliament, but to the queen. Anything but Corbyn: even a banana monarchy. In December, Cameron sought parliamentary approval for sending British planes to bomb Islamic State in Syria. From his point ...


Iain Sinclair: Thatcher in Gravesend, 9 May 2013

... men behind their barricades in Paternoster Square. One by one or in neatly opposed couples – Ken Clarke and Shirley Williams, say – funeral attendees were interrogated about the legacy. Rarely can such an Alice in Wonderland charivari of local stereotypes have been assembled, some of them (like Dave and Samantha Cameron) quite obviously having a ...

Closed Material

Nicholas Phillips, 17 April 2014

... involving control orders heard in 2008, AF and Others v. Home Secretary. The majority, Sir Anthony Clarke, Master of the Rolls, and Lord Justice Waller, held that there is no principle that the hearing will be unfair in the absence of open disclosure to the controlee of an irreducible minimum of allegation or evidence. Alternatively, if there is, the ...

The Tax-and-Spend Vote

Ross McKibbin: Will the election improve New Labour’s grasp on reality?, 5 July 2001

... unlike Baldwin, he represents the Party’s past rather than its future. The obvious answer is Ken Clarke. He had the support of the Party membership last time and is almost certainly the most popular Tory in the country. But he clearly does not have the support of the Shadow Cabinet or, it seems, much of the Parliamentary Party. The opposite is ...

Not Much like Consent

Daniel Trilling: Crisis at the Met, 30 March 2023

Broken Yard: The Fall of the Metropolitan Police 
by Tom Harper.
Biteback, 446 pp., £20, October 2022, 978 1 78590 768 5
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Tango Juliet Foxtrot: How Did It All Go Wrong for British Policing? 
by Iain Donnelly.
Biteback, 341 pp., £20, November 2021, 978 1 78590 716 6
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... Met protection officer, told Harper.The relationship began to break down in the 1990s. In 1992 Ken Clarke, home secretary under John Major, announced an ambitious plan to reform policing. He described the police to Harper as ‘the last great unreformed Victorian public service’: excessively bureaucratic (the Met most of all, with five senior ranks ...

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