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27 June 1991
Kill the messenger 
by Bernard Ingham.
HarperCollins, 408 pp., £17.50, May 1991, 0 00 215944 9
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... relevant document and delivered it in an anonymous envelope to the Guardian newspaper. In 1986, if Bernard Ingham’s book is to be believed, during the crisis about the Westland helicopter company, LeonBrittan, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, allowed his head of information, Collette Bowe, to read out to the Press Association a letter from the Solicitor-General to the selfsame Secretary ...
24 March 1994
Europe: The Europe We Need 
by Leon Brittan.
Hamish Hamilton, 248 pp., £17.99, March 1994, 0 241 00249 4
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... a premise which ministers, in their anxiety not to provoke more trouble than they needed to, did not always do everything to resist. Given this recent history, the reader who picks up Sir LeonBrittan’s book is in for a startling experience. Sir Leon is, after all, a Conservative politician. Perhaps he has ambitions to return to Parliament – although as the EU’s Gatt negotiator and foreign ...

Westland Ho

Paul Foot

6 February 1986
... over Westlands. They were recognised and acted upon by the European governments, including the British Government. Early in October, in letters between the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, LeonBrittan, and Sir John Cuckney, Brittan made it plain that he supported some kind of initiative from the European defence industries, so that, at the very least, the Westland board would have a choice ...

Decisions

John Kenneth Galbraith

6 March 1986
Truman 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 220 pp., £12.95, February 1986, 0 00 217584 3
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... really want to hear all that about your role in the Westland case?’ Lacking also in Britain is our talent for inspired public misbehaviour. Not since Profumo has there been anyone (certainly not Mr LeonBrittan) of sufficiently eloquent misfeasance or public default to justify a really interesting book. From this depressing background there now emerges Roy Jenkins. As a contrast he is nothing short ...

Diary

Conor Gearty: Various Forms of Sleaze

24 November 1994
... age, various forms of sleaze are associated with the names of Cecil Parkinson, Nicholas Fairbairn and Patrick Nicholls. Leaving aside the proper ‘constitutional’ resignations of Lord Carrington, LeonBrittan and Michael Heseltine, and the not so proper ministerial non-resignations that cannot be mentioned for fear of the libel laws, we can still see that the rotten-apple theory of ministerial ...

Root Books

Julie Davidson

7 November 1985
Henry Root’s A-Z of Women 
by William Donaldson.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £7.95, July 1985, 0 297 78593 1
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... she wears, then you could possibly look for the names yourself.’ And an attempt by Root, alias Norman Norman, to place an advertisement in the Daily Telegraph inviting contributions to the ‘LeonBrittan Fighting Fund’ gets this reply from the Telegraph’s worldly-wise classified advertisement department: ‘Thank you for your letter of 5th July together with Treasury Notes £20. Before we can ...

Stalker & Co

Damian Grant

20 November 1986
... the events. The long-promised report of the Avon and Somerset team, amounting to nearly half a million words, is with the DPP and probably won’t be made public. The primum mobile was the visit of LeonBrittan to the Manchester University Students’ Union on Friday 1 March 1985, in response to an invitation from the University Conservative Society. What happened on this evening was that a ...

Jacob and Esau

Giles Merritt

24 November 1988
Upwardly Mobile 
by Norman Tebbit.
Weidenfeld, 280 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 297 79427 2
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Reflect on things past: The Memoirs of Lord Carrington 
Collins, 406 pp., £17.50, October 1988, 9780002176675Show More
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... there is no clear reason why he should say of Giles Radice, when Radice was acting as Labour’s Front Bench spokesman on employment, that he ‘managed to miss or muddle every important point’. Of LeonBrittan: ‘the Westland affair might not have been his undoing’ if he had adopted Tebbit’s own practice of minuting his meetings as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with an agreed aide ...

Diary

Norman Buchan: In Defence of the Word

1 October 1987
... the last two years which began with the BBC’s proposal to screen the television documentary Real Lives, on Northern Ireland. The Government sought to ban it. The BBC resisted. The Home Secretary, LeonBrittan, was forced to intervene publicly, applying a power that had virtually atrophied from lack of use. This caused a strike at the BBC, and outrage both at home and abroad. It did immense damage ...

Hi!

Michael Neve

20 October 1983
Flashbacks 
by Timothy Leary.
Heinemann, 397 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 434 40975 8
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Freud and Cocaine 
by E.M. Thornton.
Blond and Briggs, 340 pp., £12.95, September 1983, 0 85634 139 8
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Right-Wing Women: The Politics of Domesticated Females 
by Andrea Dworkin.
Women’s Press, 254 pp., £4.95, June 1983, 0 7043 3907 2
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Hidden Selves: Between Theory and Practice in Psychoanalysis 
by Masud Khan.
Hogarth, 204 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 7012 0547 4
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... enjoy life. The closure of this zaniness, its collapse into empty technocratic cheerfulness, is regrettable. But there are worse people than Celtic loonies who believe life can be fun on acid, and if LeonBrittan hadn’t foolishly kept Leary out again, he could have stayed with me. The perils of believing in ‘the message’, or in the power of a single substance, occupy E.M. Thornton and Andrea ...
18 July 1985
The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... a source to go to the Police, who would have to report to Home Office civil servants, who in turn could hardly withhold information from the Home Secretary? Nor is there any reason to suppose that LeonBrittan would behave any better than Michael Heseltine. Judith Cook’s powerfully argued book Who killed Hilda Murrell? makes it clear yet again that the police notion that it was an ‘ordinary ...

Diary

Michael Stewart: Staggeringly Complacent

6 June 1985
... the de facto creation during the strike of a national police force whose accountability to anyone was difficult to discern. This unease is enhanced when a Home Secretary as relatively hard-line as LeonBrittan is shouted down, as he was recently at the annual conference of the Police Federation; and when one’s own and one’s friends’ children come back from perfectly peaceful demonstrations in ...
5 May 1988
A Matter of Justice: The Legal System in Ferment 
by Michael Zander.
Tauris, 323 pp., £16.50, February 1988, 1 85043 040 3
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The Coercive State: The Decline of Democracy in Britain 
by Paddy Hillyard and Janie Percy-Smith.
Fontana, 352 pp., £5.95, February 1988, 0 00 637083 7
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... and Percy-Smith’s thesis actually does a great deal to explain the short-comings of Zander’s critique. Anyone encountering the latter’s use of the adjective ‘liberal’ to describe LeonBrittan is likely to suspect that Zander’s relativities are lopsided. (A.P. Herbert would have likened it to the 13th chime of the clock – not only suspect in itself but casting doubt on everything that ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: Keywords

13 September 1990
... intended). For as long it may be allowed to last, may their right hands retain their cunning. I always think I can tell when someone is joking and when he is not. Lord Denning’s remarks about LeonBrittan (‘Look him up. I think you’ll find he is a German Jew, telling us what to do with our English laws’) don’t strike me as a put-on. Nor was he goaded into making them. In Kingsley Amis’s My ...

Diary

Peter Clarke: True or False?

16 August 1990
... Who can now remember – and who could ever master – the cut and thrust of the labyrinthine inter-departmental vendettas, coming undone so messily in public, which marked the process by which Sir LeonBrittan ultimately became one of those ‘unelected reject politicians’ of whom Ridley now warns? What was it all about? The short answer which sufficed at the time was that it was a storm in a ...

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