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The wearer as much as the frock

Peter Campbell, 9 April 1992

Building Capitalism 
by Linda Clarke.
Routledge, 316 pp., £65, December 1991, 0 415 01552 9
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The City Shaped 
by Spiro Kostof.
Thames and Hudson, 352 pp., £24, September 1991, 0 500 34118 4
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A New London 
by Richard Rogers and Mark Fisher.
Penguin, 255 pp., £8.99, March 1992, 0 14 015794 8
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... are bankrupted financially, planners intellectually. But it has always been like that. Linda Clarke’s Building Capitalism illustrates its argument with a study of Somers Town, where a late 18th-century planner’s promise – to develop an estate of middle-class houses north of the Euston Road – went just as badly wrong as any Sixties ...

Eating Jesus

Andrew O’Hagan, 8 July 1993

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha 
by Roddy Doyle.
Secker, 282 pp., £12.99, June 1993, 0 436 20135 6
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... His face was crimson. My mother led me by the head into the kitchen and closed the door. Paddy Clarke, the ten-year-old hero of Roddy Doyle’s remarkable new novel, rocks at night to the sound of his parents’ scratching at the usual matrimonial sores. The intermittent din of their growing unhappiness is the primary soundtrack to his life at home. We ...

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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... that anti-Catholicism is one of the most powerful ideological forces in modern British history. Linda Colley, in Britons (1992), argues very persuasively that anti-Catholicism provided the very stuff of a new British identity in the century following the Union of 1707 and, embarrassingly, remained a presence in British politics, not only in Northern ...

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 the end ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... Ascherson, Christopher Hitchens, R.W. Johnson, Ross McKibbin, E.P. Thompson, Tam Dalyell and Peter Clarke. What they wrote seemed excellent to me, with Runciman bearing the palm for aphoristic conciseness. In embarking on a review, also in 1989, of Hugo Young’s biography of her, R.W. Johnson was also concise: ‘personally, she is neither nice nor ...

A British Bundesrat?

Colin Kidd: Scotland and the Constitution, 17 April 2014

... 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 major ...

Corbyn’s Progress

Tariq Ali, 3 March 2016

... 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 of view, a ...

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