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God’s Own

Angus Calder, 12 March 1992

Empire and English Character 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Tauris, 338 pp., £24.95, August 1990, 1 85043 191 4
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Into Africa: The story of the East African Safari 
by Kenneth Cameron.
Constable, 229 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 09 469770 1
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Burton: Snow upon the Desert 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 428 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 0 7195 4818 7
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From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69 
by Frank McLynn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 258 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 7126 3789 3
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The Duke of Puddle Dock: Travels in the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles 
by Nigel Barley.
Viking, 276 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 670 83642 7
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... river called, in Masai, ‘Nairobi’, meaning ‘cold water’, and drove on to Lake Victoria. As Kenneth Cameron puts it, ‘East Africa had become safariland.’ I was disappointed not to see Cameron’s book on sale in Nairobi. East African safari is a topic designed to produce jaunty reading for expats and ...

Heir to Blair

Christopher Tayler: Among the New Tories, 26 April 2007

... being the buzzword for the shearing off of voter-unfriendly associations. Before David Cameron, or ‘DC’, as he’s known, took over in December 2005, Conservative strategists had noted anxiously that focus groups would turn against almost anything – even, or especially, tax cuts – as soon as they were told it was Tory policy. ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... extreme Europhobes. Major resigned on the morning of his defeat in 1997. His obvious successor was Kenneth Clarke, who had been an outstanding chancellor of the exchequer. Even failures at the Treasury, such as James Callaghan, sometimes become party leaders, and a highly successful chancellor like Clarke should have been in an overwhelmingly strong position ...

Do your homework

David Runciman: What’s Wrong with Theresa May, 16 March 2017

Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister 
by Rosa Prince.
Biteback, 402 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 78590 145 4
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... This​ is a dry and dutiful book which reads like a ghost story. The person being haunted is David Cameron. Theresa May grew up in a Cotswolds village called Church Enstone, where her father was vicar for much of the 1960s. The vicarage is within five miles of what became Cameron’s constituency home when he was MP for Witney and is roughly the same distance from what is now Soho Farmhouse, a members’ club, a little piece of the metropolis that is a haven for the Chipping Norton set ...

Thatcher, Thatcher, Thatcher

John Gray: The Tory Future, 22 April 2010

The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 446 pp., £25, January 2010, 978 0 7456 4857 6
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Back from the Brink: The Inside Story of the Tory Resurrection 
by Peter Snowdon.
Harper Press, 419 pp., £14.99, March 2010, 978 0 00 730725 8
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... There wasn’t anything inevitable about David Cameron’s rise. If Kenneth Clarke had stirred himself into running something like a campaign when competing for the leadership with Iain Duncan Smith and been ready to appear more tractable on Europe; if David Davis had moved decisively in the immediate aftermath of Michael Howard’s resignation or been a more fluent speaker; if Howard had offered Cameron the shadow chancellorship or George Osborne had not accepted it – if these or any number of other contingencies had been otherwise, Cameron might not have become leader ...

Shelley in Season

Richard Holmes, 16 October 1980

The Unacknowledged Legislator: Shelley and Politics 
by P.M.S. Dawson.
Oxford, 312 pp., £16.50, June 1980, 0 19 812095 8
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Shelley and his World 
by Claire Tomalin.
Thames and Hudson, 128 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 9780500130681
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... as it would certainly have been in the days before the pioneering work of the American scholar Kenneth Neill Cameron – of taking his politics seriously. He examines in particular his attitudes (and numerous pamphlets) concerning the Parliamentary Reform movement, the Irish question, the philosophy of Radicalism and ...

Short Cuts

Sadakat Kadri: Bench Rage, 22 September 2011

... The anger may have subsided on the streets as hoodies, gangstas and other members of Kenneth Clarke’s ‘feral underclass’ retreated into the shadows after last month’s riots, but it soon burst out in courtrooms across England. The most egregious instance was the judge at Chester who gave two men without criminal records four-year prison terms for trying (and failing) to incite riots via Facebook, but it was among magistrates that the rage was most sustained ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... leader. Would he – could he? – perform the countless vital tasks that come naturally to David Cameron or Tony Blair: everything from how to comport yourself at the despatch box to the best way to climb out of a chauffeur-driven car, from how to use an autocue to knowing which pop band to choose on Desert Island Discs. If you don’t know which tie to wear ...

Money and the Love of Money

Ross McKibbin: Crisis of the System, 2 August 2012

... The Lib Dems, of course, have no ministerial experience at all; of the Tories in the cabinet only Kenneth Clarke has had a significant ministerial career (William Hague’s at the Welsh Office was brief). Blair’s first ministry was equally inexperienced, but it never seemed as lightweight, and it came to office in much more favourable circumstances. Another ...

Nostalgia for the Vestry

James Buchan: Thatcherism, 30 November 2006

Thatcher and Sons: A Revolution in Three Acts 
by Simon Jenkins.
Allen Lane, 375 pp., £20, October 2006, 0 7139 9595 5
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... apparent, Gordon Brown. These men are to Jenkins Thatcher’s political ‘sons’, with David Cameron trotting along behind as a ‘grandson’. (The book was completed before Cameron’s Conservatives abandoned any formal adherence to the Thatcherite slogan of reducing the role of central government.) In the ...

A Change Is Coming

David Runciman, 21 February 2019

... May has not reached his heights, nor has she plumbed his depths. As the American economist Kenneth Rogoff said recently, ‘Even the worst Brexit should not be nearly as painful as Churchill’s disastrous choice to deflate the economy in 1925 by going back on the gold standard at too high a rate.’ Sometimes a bad decision is much worse than no ...

The NHS Dismantled

John Furse, 7 November 2019

... the introduction of fees.The first major legislative step was the creation of the internal market. Kenneth Clarke’s 1990 NHS and Community Care Act split the NHS into ‘service purchasers’ and ‘service providers’: hospitals and GPs would compete for custom and the successful parties would be rewarded with greater funding. The influence of the HMO ...

What Works Doesn’t Work

Ross McKibbin: Politics without Ideas, 11 September 2008

... and financial press, is a ruin and public spending must be cut and cut. At the moment, however, Cameron is clearly doubtful about the wisdom of these particular fairy stories. The Tories have been put on the back foot over public spending and have discernibly edged away from Thatcher and her traditions. It is possible that in two years it will be tax cuts ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Exit Blair, 24 May 2007

... what would have happened if the Conservatives had, as at one moment they could have, united behind Kenneth Clarke and accepted whatever Clarke’s terms might have been for leading them? Of Clarke, my personal impressions are of a presence no less solid and forceful than my personal impressions of Brown. I had dealings with Clarke twice – once when he was ...

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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... defeated party became less indulgent of heterodoxy. It was strikingly obvious to outsiders that Kenneth Clarke, an experienced former cabinet minister with an instinctive and easy blokeishness, would be a formidable force as leader of the opposition. Yet the Conservative Party declined to elect him on account of his Europhile perversities. And – worse ...

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