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My Little Lollipop

Jenny Diski: Christine Keeler, 22 March 2001

The Truth at Last: My Story 
by Christine Keeler and Douglas Thompson.
Sidgwick, 279 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 0 283 07291 1
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... them, having discovered a talent for making likenesses. The Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon, Archbishop Makarios and Adolf Eichmann all sat for portraits. He was an invitee at all the fashionable parties, and a man who specialised in providing fun for his friends. Keeler met him when she was a showgirl and moved into his flat, though they ...

On my way to the Couch

E.S. Turner, 30 March 1989

On my way to the Club 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 429 pp., £15, January 1989, 0 00 217617 3
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... and for a determination to maintain a belief in infallibility rather than a faith in justice. Lord Denning’s report on the Profumo case was ‘a disgrace’, full of tittle-tattle and gossip and showing him to be ‘a simpleton in sexual matters’ (a crime indeed these days). We are also reminded that it was a Kennedy television interview with ...

Whitehall Farce

Paul Foot, 12 October 1989

The Intelligence Game: Illusions and Delusions of International Espionage 
by James Rusbridger.
Bodley Head, 320 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 370 31242 2
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The Truth about Hollis 
by W.J. West.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7156 2286 2
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... these ‘controllers’? That question is answered very forcefully by Rusbridger. In 1963, Lord Denning wrote (apparently meaning it): ‘The Security Services (MI5) are, in the eye of the law, ordinary citizens with no powers greater than anyone else.’ That view was recently put in perspective by the Master of the Rolls. ‘It is essential in ...

Class Traitor

Edward Pearce, 11 June 1992

Maverick: The Life of a Union Rebel 
by Eric Hammond.
Weidenfeld, 214 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 297 81200 9
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... on another occasion he records his pleasure at opponents having to apologise to him in front of Lord Denning, about which awful old gentleman he has a blind spot. Most of the things Hammond fought for were good and rational. Most of the ways he went about it were calculated to make opponents into enemies, to solidify the soft left around the hard ...

Take a bullet for the team

David Runciman: The Profumo Affair, 21 February 2013

An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 400 pp., £20, January 2013, 978 0 00 743584 5
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... is a divorcé.’ Then when he became prime minister in 1957 he replaced Poole with Quintin Hogg (Lord Hailsham), who was another one. Hailsham had come home from the war to find his wife sleeping with an aide-de-camp to De Gaulle. Her guilt was unambiguous; so was her husband’s innocence. Hailsham’s experience of divorce did nothing to dissuade him from ...

The Card-Players

Paul Foot, 18 September 1986

Error of Judgment: The Truth about the Birmingham Bombings 
by Chris Mullin.
Chatto, 270 pp., £10.95, July 1986, 0 7011 2978 6
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... results of the ‘Greiss’ explosives test. And there were the confessions. Mr Justice (now Lord Justice) Bridge, one of the country’s most austere judges, declared that the evidence against the defendants was ‘the clearest and most overwhelming I have ever heard’. He weighed in heartily for the Police whenever there appeared to be some ...


Conrad Russell, 4 October 1984

The Experience of Defeat: Milton and Some Contemporaries 
by Christopher Hill.
Faber, 342 pp., £12.50, July 1984, 0 571 13237 5
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... interest ... should you not rather propose that all power and domination should be given to the Lord?’ Sedgwick, like many others, was frank about the extent to which he regarded the rule of the Saints as made necessary by the reluctance of sinners to be governed as they should be: ‘we cannot in reason expect to have a free Parliament at this ...

Protestant Guilt

Tom Paulin, 9 April 1992

Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being 
by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 517 pp., £18.99, March 1992, 0 571 16604 0
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... by the break with Catholicism. However, he also supports things as they are, and rather like Lord Denning on the need to accept the guilty verdict on the Birmingham Six, he can’t face the ‘appalling vista’ of a whole system – the culture that made and empowered him – which is built, from a Catholic point of view, on systematic lies and ...

Woof, woof

Rosemary Hill: Auberon Waugh, 7 November 2019

A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh 
edited by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 341 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 0 7043 7457 7
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... charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice against Waugh, which was upheld on appeal by Lord Denning. This prevented Waugh from campaigning, but he still won 79 votes. He noted that allegations of attempted murder were not enough to cause more than five thousand Liberal voters to abandon their loyalty to the party. He found this shocking. There ...

Back to Runnymede

Ferdinand Mount: Magna Carta, 23 April 2015

Magna Carta 
by David Carpenter.
Penguin, 594 pp., £10.99, January 2015, 978 0 241 95337 2
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Magna Carta Uncovered 
by Anthony Arlidge and Igor Judge.
Hart, 222 pp., £25, October 2014, 978 1 84946 556 4
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Magna Carta 
by J.C. Holt.
Cambridge, 488 pp., £21.99, May 2015, 978 1 107 47157 3
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Magna Carta: The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015 
by Nicholas Vincent.
Third Millennium, 192 pp., £44.95, January 2015, 978 1 908990 28 0
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Magna Carta: The Making and Legacy of the Great Charter 
by Dan Jones.
Head of Zeus, 192 pp., £14.99, December 2014, 978 1 78185 885 1
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... George Cony​ , a London merchant, had once been a friend of Oliver Cromwell. But when the Lord Protector slapped a tax on silk imports without the consent of Parliament, Mr Cony protested that this was the sort of arbitrary behaviour for which Cromwell had lambasted the late king, and demanded that the unjust tax be repaid to him ...

This beats me

Stephen Sedley: The Drafter’s Contract, 2 April 1998

Statutory Interpretation 
by Francis Bennion.
Butterworth, 1092 pp., £187, December 1997, 0 406 02126 0
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Law and Interpretation 
edited by Andrei Marmor.
Oxford, 463 pp., £18.99, October 1997, 0 19 826487 9
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Equality before the Law: Deaf People’s Access to Justice 
by Mary Brennan and Richard Brown.
Deaf Studies Research Unit, University of Durham, 189 pp., £17.50, October 1997, 0 9531779 0 4
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... do the best they can with the words on the page, are not generally as brusque as the Victorian Law Lord who said: ‘This beats me.’ A ready source of help, which I hope will routinely be available when the coming freedom of information regime is in place, are the Notes on Clauses in which the Parliamentary drafter explains and expands the condensed prose of ...

A sewer runs through it

Alastair Logan, 4 November 1993

... the jury that there was new evidence never known of before. But on 20 July 1989 Roy Amlot told the Lord Chief Justice, at a directions hearing in the Guildford appeal, that every document of any relevance to the case had been served on the defence. If, as alleged, Mr Armstrong had made admissions that were contrary to the evidence he gave at trial, or given ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett, 24 June 1993

... the system of justice in England? Some years earlier, in a judgment in the Birmingham Six case, Lord Denning, the Master of the Rolls, had summed up the broader significance of such a reversal. If the six men win, it will mean that the police were guilty of perjury, that they were guilty of violence and threats, that the confessions were involuntary ...


Christopher Hitchens: Keywords, 13 September 1990

... hands retain their cunning. I always think I can tell when someone is joking and when he is not. Lord Denning’s remarks about Leon Brittan (‘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 Enemy’s Enemy ...

Saving Masud Khan

Wynne Godley, 22 February 2001

... to me for sympathy. Princess Margaret had tripped him up over the way he had pronounced something. Lord Denning (it was Profumo time) had not replied to his invitation to come to dinner.Khan always answered telephone calls during sessions. When Winnicott rang up I could clearly hear both sides of the conversation, so presumably he angled the phone towards ...

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