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Tooth and Tail

Mark Urban, 7 September 1995

Brassey’s Defence Yearbook 1995 
edited by Lawrence Freedman and Michael Clarke.
Brassey, 396 pp., £35.95, April 1995, 1 85753 131 0
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Broken Lives: A Personal View of the Bosnian Conflict 
by Bob Stewart.
HarperCollins, 336 pp., £6.99, July 1994, 0 00 638268 1
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Looking for Trouble: An Autobiography 
by Peter de la Billière.
HarperCollins, 449 pp., £19.99, September 1994, 0 00 255245 0
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... the limited wars which once claimed only a small percentage of the budget. In the Defence Yearbook Michael Clarke repeats what everyone knows: although ‘the Army, in particular, may lament the fact that Bosnia – like the Northern Ireland commitment – detracts from the real business of training for a major war, the fact is that the prospect of major ...

Loadsa Serious Money

Ian Taylor, 5 May 1988

Regulating the City: Competition, Scandal and Reform 
by Michael Clarke.
Open University, 288 pp., £25, May 1986, 9780335153817
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Regulating fraud: White-Collar Crime and the Criminal Process 
by Michael Levi.
Tavistock, 416 pp., £35, August 1987, 0 422 61160 3
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... the extraordinary sums of money involved,1 were quickly followed by the prosecution in Britain of Michael Collier. Chairman of Morgan Grenfell, the largest securities firm in the City of London, for making an instantaneous profit of £15,000 on the purchase of shares in a company he knew was about to be taken over. A steady series of cases involving ...

Priapus Knight

Marilyn Butler, 18 March 1982

The Arrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751-1824 
edited by Michael Clarke and Nicholas Penny.
Manchester, 189 pp., £30, February 1982, 0 7190 0871 9
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... Penny takes on Downton, and Knight’s activities as a collector and judge of ancient art; Michael Clarke assesses him as a connoisseur of paintings and drawings; Claudia Stumpf deals with the ‘Expedition into Sicily’ and Peter Funnell with the more general critical writings: A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus, An Analytical Inquiry into ...

At the Top Table

Tom Stevenson: The Defence Intelligentsia, 6 October 2022

Command: The Politics of Military Operations from Korea to Ukraine 
by Lawrence Freedman.
Allen Lane, 574 pp., £30, September 2022, 978 0 241 45699 6
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... tanks didn’t counsel prudence. In the run-up to the war, RUSI’s director of military science, Michael Codner (King’s via the US Naval War College in Rhode Island), described it as ‘an intervention of choice designed to make the world on balance a safer and better place’. Britain was involved, Codner wrote, because ‘one of successive British ...

Reproaches from the Past

Peter Clarke: Gordon Brown, 1 April 2004

The Prudence of Mr Gordon Brown 
by William Keegan.
Wiley, 356 pp., £18.99, October 2003, 0 470 84697 6
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... deficits unparalleled in British history. As it turned out, when Brown took over from Kenneth Clarke in 1997, the economy was on the mend, having shed the ERM, and the public accounts were already heading towards surplus. Further reflection, however, prompts the thought that, as a potential prime minister, Brown might have been better placed for the ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... Europhobes. Major resigned on the morning of his defeat in 1997. His obvious successor was Kenneth Clarke, who had been an outstanding chancellor of the exchequer. Even failures at the Treasury, such as James Callaghan, sometimes become party leaders, and a highly successful chancellor like Clarke should have been in an ...

Little Mercians

Ian Gilmour: Why Kenneth Clarke should lead the Tories, 5 July 2001

... began immediately after the 1997 election, when the Parliamentary Party rejected Kenneth Clarke as its next leader. Clarke was unquestionably the best of the candidates and indeed the only one who was unquestionably qualified for the job. Yet Conservative MPs preferred William Hague, who should not even have stood ...

Non-Party Man

Ross McKibbin: Stafford Cripps, 19 September 2002

The Cripps Version: The Life of Sir Stafford Cripps 
by Peter Clarke.
Allen Lane, 574 pp., £25, April 2002, 0 7139 9390 1
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... austerity or as the embodiment of fair-dealing and social equity. On these grounds alone Peter Clarke’s biography is welcome. His is not the first biography of Cripps. Patricia Strauss wrote one in 1942; but it just missed its moment, being published soon after Cripps was ejected from the War Cabinet. Eric Estorick, a strong admirer, wrote two, the ...

Looking away

Michael Wood, 18 May 1989

First Light 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 328 pp., £12.95, April 1989, 0 241 12498 0
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The Chymical Wedding 
by Lindsay Clarke.
Cape, 542 pp., £12.95, April 1989, 0 224 02537 6
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The Northern Lights 
by Howard Norman.
Faber, 236 pp., £4.99, April 1989, 0 571 15474 3
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... is finally too quiet for such people, and the splinters yield too readily to caricature. Lindsay Clarke’s The Chymical Wedding is an intricate double narrative, and it is also about the life of the dead. Although Clarke calls it a romance, it is a pastoral novel too, since it describes a retreat from the world and a ...
The Shorter Strachey 
selected and introduced by Michael Holroyd and Paul Levy.
Oxford, 288 pp., £6.95, April 1980, 0 19 212211 8
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Lytton Strachey 
by Michael Holroyd.
Penguin, 1143 pp., £4.95, December 1979, 0 14 003198 7
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... 15 years earlier, had been more pithy: ‘There is much interest in it, but tiresomely told.’ Michael Holroyd’s admirable biography allows us to peep behind the bland phrases of public seemliness here. It suggests, conversely, that Trevelyan’s fulsome congratulations to Strachey upon his books masked his real views with a more calculated ...

Short Cuts

Francis FitzGibbon: Raab’s British Rights, 7 October 2021

... been nineteen months, with a corresponding churn of junior ministers and special advisers. Kenneth Clarke, the first in the post, lasted 28 months, just pipped by Chris Grayling, whose disastrous term was the longest at 32 months. Clarke, inexplicably the favourite Tory of non-Tories, volunteered to cut his department’s ...

Enemies Within

Peter Clarke, 7 February 1985

... and not only in the sense that its ultimate progeny may need nine months or so of gestation. As Michael Crick points out in his informative and well-documented Penguin Special,* the term ‘the Enemy Within’ had already been splashed over the front page of the Daily Express almost a year before Thatcher cribbed it. But its provenance goes further back. It ...

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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... we concede that May, however ghastly, is a more attractive option than flesh-creeping figures like Michael Gove or Liam Fox. Rather, Ziblatt prompts consideration of more fundamental options. Having the whole appalling crew in power from time to time has been the necessary cost of avoiding a fragile and fearful democracy that never knows when the next military ...
... Dynamiters.’Eighteen months earlier, a young Irishman recently returned from America, Thomas J. Clarke, one of O’Donovan Rossa’s Sancho Panzas, had been arrested in London. Using evidence of an elaborate bomb factory in Birmingham, the Crown charged him and other followers of O’Donovan Rossa with treason. (The plan, it seems, had been to blow up the ...

The Reshuffle and After

Ross McKibbin: Why Brown should Resign, 25 May 2006

... the post-reshuffle settlement is another matter. The problems of Patricia Hewitt and Charles Clarke are more serious and have been made serious largely by the prime minister. Patricia Hewitt has not been a rebellious minister but she had the courage to vote according to conviction over public smoking, and her remark that the NHS had had its best year ...

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