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Goodness me

Mary-Kay Wilmers

26 October 1989
Margaret, Daughter of Beatrice: A Politician’s Psycho-Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Leo Abse.
Cape, 288 pp., £13.95, September 1989, 0 224 02726 3
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... that – in the home and in the House – women are nature’s Wets would fail to see why the young Margaret Roberts should have decided that her future depended on not taking after her mother. LeoAbse, however, is a Freudian of precisely that kind. For thirty years Labour MP for Pontypool, Mr Abse retired at the last general election. An active backbencher, interested above all in how people ...

Boofy’s Bill

Alex Harvey

18 September 1997
... Steel, who had come high in the ballot. Steel refused, on the grounds that he was a son of the manse and such an issue would be unlikely to improve his popularity in Scotland. The obvious choice was LeoAbse, who had not only already taken up the cause but was a shrewd Parliamentarian. Jenkins, bearing an old political grudge, turned instead to Michael Foot, who declined, knowing that Abse was the ...

Reader, he married her

Christopher Hitchens

10 May 1990
Tom Driberg: His Life and Indiscretions 
by Francis Wheen.
Chatto, 452 pp., £18, May 1990, 0 7011 3143 8
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... very ably and amusingly in his chapter Honourable Members. One day, the mischief done by hack writers and ‘climate of treason’ parasites will make a book in itself. Is there any point, then, in LeoAbse’s ‘take’ on all this, digested into one facile heading as ‘The Judas Syndrome’ and published in the Spectator in 1982? Abse began by mentioning something which I must say I recognise ...


R.W. Johnson

2 December 1993
The Downing Street Years 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 914 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 255049 0
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... pretend to tell one even half the story. But Thatcher has set out to provide the definitive record of her own premiership – an ambition which makes dishonesty by omission a more serious matter. LeoAbse, in his psychobiography of Thatcher, argued persuasively that her particular set of neuroses causes her to advance through conflict. Rest, let alone retreat, he suggests, is impossible for her ...

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