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The English Disease

Hugh Pennington: Who’s to blame for BSE?, 14 December 2000

The BSE Inquiry 
by Lord Phillips et al.
Stationery Office, 5112 pp., £324.50, October 2000, 0 10 556986 0
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... The remarkable thing about the Phillips Inquiry into BSE is not its cost, £27 million, or its 16 volumes, weighing in at 25 kg, or its overrun – it went on for more than double the year originally planned – but its thoroughness. Digesting the massive final report will be more than enough for most. But there is a lot more: witness statements and transcripts of oral evidence have also been put into the public domain via www ...

Waspish Civilities

Stephen Sedley: The Case for a Supreme Court, 21 May 2020

High Principle, Low Politics and the Emergence of the Supreme Court 
by Frederic Reynold.
Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, 154 pp., £14.95, September 2019, 978 0 85490 283 5
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... peerage and handed to a committee composed of legally qualified life peers appointed by the lord chancellor. Then in 2009 the House of Lords was replaced by a Supreme Court, separately housed, financed and administered, its proceedings livestreamed, its judges appointed by a non-governmental commission. To lawyers it looked very much like the end of ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The vexed issue of Labour Party funding, 19 October 2006

... they were told they could expect in return, is now the subject of a police investigation. Besides Lord Levy, Labour’s chief fundraiser, two people have been arrested during the inquiry so far; 14 are said to have been interviewed under caution, and there is still a chance that Blair will be too. When it was revealed that Sir Christopher Evans, the venture ...

In Praise of Difficult Children

Adam Phillips, 12 February 2009

... Horatio why he has come back from Wittenberg, Horatio replies, ‘a truant disposition, good my lord’; to which Hamlet replies: ‘I would not have your enemy say so.’ Hamlet can’t accept this description of his friend, which he calls ‘your own report against yourself. I know you are no truant.’ In Hamlet’s view, it’s a terrible thing to call ...

Closed Material

Nicholas Phillips, 17 April 2014

... suspect, AF, who had also been subjected to a control order founded solely on closed material. Lord Hoffmann considered that the closed material procedure had received the blessing of the Strasbourg court and therefore satisfied the requirements of Article 6. The other four law lords who sat on the appeal were agreed only that the compatibility of the ...

Dive In!

Bruce Robbins: Hegelian reflections, 2 November 2000

Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in 20th-Century France 
by Judith Butler.
Columbia, 268 pp., £12, June 1999, 0 231 06451 9
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... It is the struggle itself, and not any characteristics of either party, that turns one into the lord, the other into the bondsman. Further struggle will take these identities away again. The story centres on a reversal in which the weak and the strong change places, and it gestures towards an eventual endpoint (though one that is never achieved in the ...

Knights’ Moves

Peter Clarke: The Treasury View, 17 March 2005

Keynes and His Critics: Treasury Responses to the Keynesian Revolution 1925-46 
edited by G.C. Peden.
Oxford, 372 pp., £45, December 2004, 0 19 726322 4
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... thoughtfully – not a man to be underestimated – while his close colleague Sir Frederick Phillips looks as though he has been propped up against a wall by a Keynesian commando as one of the usual suspects but carries a despondent air of being wrongly accused. Much more satisfactorily typecast as one of the guilty men is Sir Otto Niemeyer. He switched ...

In a Garden in Milan

Adam Phillips: Augustine’s Confessions, 25 October 2018

Confessions: A New Translation 
by Augustine, translated by Peter Constantine.
Liveright, 329 pp., £22.99, February 2018, 978 0 87140 714 6
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... by impossibility. Indeed the first two sentences of Book I announce the problem: You are great, O Lord, and worthy of the highest praise; great is Your power, and Your wisdom incalculable. Seeking to praise You is a man, part of Your creation, a man bearing with him his mortality, bearing evidence of his sin and evidence that You oppose the proud.This book is ...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns, 11 December 1997

Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... of the Victorian age is ‘Away in a manger’ (anonymous), with ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ (Phillips Brooks) and ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind’ (John Greenleaf Whittier) as runners-up. Among the works of the canonical English poets, the lines known to most people are probably those beginning Blake’s ...

Wigs and Tories

Paul Foot, 18 September 1997

Trial of Strength: The Battle Between Ministers and Judges over Who Makes the Law 
by Joshua Rozenberg.
Richard Cohen, 241 pp., £17.99, April 1997, 1 86066 094 0
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The Politics of the Judiciary 
by J.A.G. Griffith.
Fontana, 376 pp., £8.99, September 1997, 0 00 686381 7
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... to compensate for, and in places repair, dysfunctions in the democratic process.’ In the centre, Lord Woolf: ‘I myself would consider there were advantages in making it clear that ultimately there are even limits on the supremacy of Parliament which it is the courts’ inalienable responsibility to identify and uphold.’ Common to all three was the notion ...

The Reptile Oculist

John Barrell, 1 April 2004

... strongly resisted by the crowd, windows were broken in her house and in that of Robert Dundas, the lord advocate and Henry’s nephew. One rioter was shot by the soldiers, several injured. The crowd gathered again the next night, and attacked the house of the lord provost in St Andrew’s Square, breaking every ...

Strewn with Loot

Adewale Maja-Pearce, 12 August 2021

The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution 
by Dan Hicks.
Pluto, 368 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 0 7453 4176 7
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Loot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes 
by Barnaby Phillips.
Oneworld, 388 pp., £20, April, 978 1 78607 935 0
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... of an ancient cultural, religious and royal site; and the looting of sacred art works’. Barnaby Phillips, a journalist with no museological affiliation, is equally convinced that justice demands their return. He points out that there were reservations about the colonial adventure at the time: an editorial in the Edinburgh Evening News on 15 February 1896 ...

Stag at Bay

Adam Phillips: Byron in Geneva, 25 August 2011

Byron in Geneva: That Summer of 1816 
by David Ellis.
Liverpool, 189 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 1 84631 643 2
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... treatment the boy was given for his club foot, Rogers remarked, ‘It makes me uncomfortable, my Lord, to see you sitting there in such pain as I know you must be suffering,’ to which Byron replied: ‘Never mind, you shall not see any signs of it in me.’ He couldn’t conceal his lameness, but he could conceal his feelings about it. If you have a ...

Music without Artifice

Peter Phillips: Tomás Luis de Victoria, 15 December 2022

The Requiem of Tomás Luis de Victoria (1603) 
by Owen Rees.
Cambridge, 262 pp., £22.99, September 2021, 978 1 107 67621 3
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... aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis’ (‘Eternal rest give them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them’) occurs five times in the course of the Mass, and each time Victoria’s music acquires an added sweetness, achieved by a gentle acceleration in the quoting of identical phrases between the voices, as if in ...

Welcome Home

Sukhdev Sandhu: Memories of Michael X, 4 February 1999

Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multiracial Britain 
by Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips.
HarperCollins, 422 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 0 00 255909 9
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... the scrum of cameramen snapping away at this strange and freshly-docked cargo; the calypsonian Lord Kitchener acceding to a Pathé newsman’s request and breaking into a reedy ‘London Is the Place for Me’. Suddenly, according to innumerable commemorative church services and TV series, a marvellous post-colonial transformation was about to be wrought ...

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