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6 June 1985
The Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher 
by Robert Blake.
Methuen/Fontana, 401 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 413 58140 3
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Westminster Blues 
by Julian Critchley.
Hamish Hamilton, 134 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 241 11387 3
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... attempt to exclude the Catholic James from the succession to Charles II, with the rivalry between the Younger Pitt and Charles James Fox, or with the battle over Parliamentary Reform in the 1830s – LordBlake prefers the second of these – it is evident that the two parties arose simultaneously. They have not shown equal powers of survival. Whiggery has long disappeared, though 20th-century ...

Jew d’Esprit

Dan Jacobson

6 May 1982
Disraeli’s Grand Tour: Benjamin Disraeli and the Holy Land 1830-31 
by Robert Blake.
Weidenfeld, 141 pp., £8.95, January 1982, 0 297 77910 9
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... classes. Of these latter elements in his fiction more will be said shortly. But we can be sure that had he reversed the order of his verbs, and written what he had acted – as his model and idol, Lord Byron, can be said to have done – he would never have become Prime Minister, the Earl of Beaconsfield, and confidant of the Queen. In poem after poem Byron had revealed the histrionic self-doubt ...
11 March 1993
Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... been for the errors and obsessions of WWW2 has started a very noisy debate which is being enjoyed by many, though the genuinely anguished cries of true devotees can also be heard above the din. When Lord Moran published his take-the-temperature-and-tell memoirs in 1966, not only breaching doctor-patient confidentiality but also revealing that WWW2 was sometimes ill as well as often tipsy, not to say ...

Finding a role

Peter Pulzer

5 September 1985
The Decline of Power: 1915-1964 
by Robert Blake.
Granada, 462 pp., £18, June 1985, 0 246 10753 7
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... George’s welfare state. Individualism was just as much under attack from the right as the left, through calls for tariff reform and conscription, and the ‘national efficiency’ propaganda of Lord Milner, Sir Henry Wilson and the National Review. Similarly, in the 1960s, the withdrawal from East of Suez was the last stage of a process of decolonisation and retrenchment that was as much the ...
10 May 1990
Disraeli 
by John Vincent.
Oxford, 127 pp., £4.95, March 1990, 0 19 287681 3
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... or credulity) with which the old magic is perpetuated among political romantics of all persuasions. No, what scotched the Disraelian legend as serious history was the standard biography by Robert Blake in 1966. LordBlake possesses unimpeachable credentials as the eminent chronicler of the evolution of the Conservative Party. But he maintains also irreproachable standards as an academic historian ...
15 May 1980
Tariff Reform in British Politics 
by Alan Sykes.
Oxford, 352 pp., £16, December 1979, 0 19 822483 4
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... What baffles one is the persistence of the party in a cause that was politically so calamitous.’ These perceptive words by LordBlake, the foremost historian of the Conservative Party, aptly sum up the handling of the issues of protective tariffs and imperial preference by the Conservative or Unionist Party between 1903 and 1914 ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Birthdays and Centenaries

5 May 1983
... We resumed our friendship just the other day. Touching. On my 70th birthday I was given a lunch at the LSE by some of my younger friends: The party was graced by the presence of Michael Foot and LordBlake. Soon afterwards Robert Blake struck me off his visiting-list because I had opposed the witch-hunt at the British Academy against Anthony Blunt. I am glad to record that Blake has now forgiven ...
3 March 1988
Benjamin Disraeli: Letters 1838-1841 
edited by M.G Wiebe, J.B. Conacher, John Matthews and M.S. Millar.
Toronto, 458 pp., £40, March 1987, 0 8020 5736 5
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Salisbury: The Man and his Policies 
edited by Lord Blake and Hugh Cecil.
Macmillan, 298 pp., £29.50, May 1987, 0 333 36876 2
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... matters which no student of Tory hegemony will want to miss. Thanks especially to an essay by the nervous, fifty-cigarettes-a-day daughter Gwendolen, also her father’s biographer, entitled ‘Lord Salisbury in Private Life’, the political a priori of the refurbished Tory intellectual can be revealed. The third Marquis’s contribution to the politics of the future was a loathing for the mass ...
17 March 1988
... of Empire. But it was Peel who founded the modern policing of London and of Ireland, who reformed the penal laws, who created our modern budgetary system. Above all, it was Peel who, in the words of LordBlake, created a ‘libertarian fiscal policy which would in the end bring increased affluence to every class in society and thus relax the tensions which in the hungry 1830s and 40s threatened ...
10 May 1990
The Dictionary of National Biography: 1981-1985 
edited by Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 518 pp., £40, March 1990, 0 19 865210 0
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... On the dust-jacket of the latest supplement to the Dictionary of National Biography there are photographs of David Niven, Diana Dors, Eric Morecambe, John Betjeman and William Walton. Dors has a leering ‘Come up and read me sometime’ expression on her face and Niven wears his yacht-club greeter’s smile. Morecambe seems to be laughing at one of his own jokes. Amiable images, devised no doubt to ...

His Little Game

Andrew Boyle

27 July 1989
The Blake​ Escape: How we freed George Blake​ – and why 
by Michael Randle and Pat Pottle.
Harrap, 298 pp., £12.95, April 1989, 0 245 54781 9
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... Blake’s father was Albert Behar, whose Sephardic Jewish family cut him off with less than the proverbial shilling because of his marriage to a Dutch Christian woman called Catherine Beijdedvellen. Behar ...

Blake’s Tone

E.P. Thompson

28 January 1993
Dangerous Enthusiasm: William Blake​ and the Culture of Radicalism in the 1790s 
by Jon Mee.
Oxford, 251 pp., £30, August 1992, 0 19 812226 8
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... Just under forty years ago David Erdman provided for William Blake historical contexts in abundance in Blake: Prophet against Empire (1954). It was a remarkable work of literary detection, which still dominates the field. Some Blake readers have felt that his attribution of correspondence between text and ...
6 December 1990
Stick it up your punter! The Rise and Fall of the ‘Sun’ 
by Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 434 12624 1
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All played out: The True Story of Italia ’90 
by Pete Davies.
Heinemann, 471 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 434 17908 6
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Gazza! A Biography 
by Robin McGibbon.
Penguin, 204 pp., £3.99, October 1990, 9780140148688
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... the ‘Pacesetters’, to write sexy features, like the one about Casanova Girls, which featured an interview with a 21-year-old woman who had had 789 lovers. ‘Prince Philip, Mary Whitehouse, Lord Hailsham and Brigid Brophy were all quoted on what they thought about the subject.’ The only sex-related subject not permitted in the paper was homosexuality. Murdoch was against it: ‘Do you ...

A Snake, a Flame

T.J. Clark: Blake​ at the Ashmolean

5 February 2015
William BlakeApprentice and Master 
Ashmolean Museum, until 1 March 2015Show More
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... Just​ occasionally in Blake’s engravings there are pictures within pictures, and we get a glimpse of the life he thought images might lead in a better world. The most moving of these visions is Plate 20 of Blake’s ...
21 August 1980
We and They, Civic and Despotic Cultures 
by Robert Conquest.
Temple Smith, 252 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 0 85117 184 2
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The Recovery of Freedom 
by Paul Johnson.
Blackwell, 232 pp., £8.50, August 1980, 0 631 12562 0
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... of a ‘strong state’: that is to say, a state which can defend the country, keep law and order, crush terrorism, put the trade unions in their proper place and preserve the value of the currency. Lord Hailsham, a traditional Conservative, suggested in The Dilemma of Democracy (1978) that the public ‘wants stronger government but much less of it’. This seems to me profoundly true, and ...

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