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Tam Dalyell: The Belgrano Affair, 7 February 1985

... was a ‘tremendous flap’ in Downing Street. My attention was drawn, in particular, to what Mr Heseltine, the Defence Secretary, had said publicly to the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, concerning his own activities in middle and late March and his contact with Mrs Thatcher over how they should handle the Belgrano affair at that period of time. One of ...

London Lefties

Paul Foot, 17 September 1987

If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it 
by Ken Livingstone.
Collins, 367 pp., £12, August 1987, 0 00 217770 6
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A Taste of Power: The Politics of Local Economics 
edited by Maureen Mackintosh and Hilary Wainwright.
Verso, 441 pp., £22.95, July 1987, 0 86091 174 8
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... transport frontbenchers in the Commons, up-and-coming young hopefuls called Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine, welcomed the transfer, and specifically stated that this would enable the Council, if it felt like it, to hold transport fares down with a subsidy from the rates. Labour won back the GLC in 1973, but lost it to the Tories in 1977, when the ...

Liverpool’s Nightmare

Frank Field, 19 December 1985

Liverpool on the Brink: One City’s Struggle against Government Cuts 
by Michael Parkinson.
Policy Journals, 184 pp., £9.50, November 1985, 0 946967 06 7
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Unemployment in Liverpool. Vol. I: Unemployment Changes 1982-1985 
by Michael Hayes.
Liverpool City Council, 16 pp., £2, November 1985
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Liverpool’s Economy. Vol. I: Employment and Unemployment: Changes and Trends 1978-1991 
by Michael Hayes.
Liverpool City Council, 39 pp., £2.50, June 1985
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... to the collapse of part of Liverpool’s economy was formulated in the wake of the Toxteth riots. Michael Heseltine assumed a kind of viceroy role – not inappropriate, given the similarities between part of the local economy and that of the Third World. A task force of civil servants was established, headed, at first, by Eric Sorensen, one of the ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: Ed Balls, 22 September 2016

... growth theory’ into one of Brown’s speeches: ‘It’s not Brown’s, it’s Balls,’ Michael Heseltine wisecracked.) ‘What I learned,’ Balls writes in his autobiography, ‘was not only that [my] new hinterland activities were helping me to manage my midlife crisis … My new passions added an extra dimension to my communication with the ...

Our Flexible Friends

Conor Gearty, 18 April 1996

Scott Inquiry Report 
by Richard Scott.
HMSO, 2386 pp., £45, February 1996, 0 10 262796 7
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... represented’ to be government policy. In a letter written in December 1984, Michael Heseltine, who was then Defence Secretary, referred to the guidelines as ‘the new policy’. They were also referred to as such on different occasions by Sir Geoffrey Howe, by Margaret Thatcher and by various government spokespersons. When ...

No Gentleman

Jonathan Parry, 23 June 1994

Joseph Chamberlain: Entrepreneur in Politics 
by Peter Marsh.
Yale, 725 pp., £30, May 1994, 0 300 05801 2
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... in politics’: how many aspirants for power – most recently Silvio Berlusconi, Ross Perot and Michael Heseltine – have traded under that description. On the basis of a successful business record, they have claimed to be equipped to perform startling political feats – cutting through red tape, banging heads together, turning the country ...

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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... males. These could be the men of her own party, as when she notes how hopeless Geoffrey Howe and Michael Heseltine were when they accompanied her on a visit to Reagan in 1985. ‘I did not bring them again,’ she remarks, for all the world as though they were a couple of incontinent pet dogs. But foreign statesmen could fare little better. That same ...

My Millbank

Seumas Milne, 18 April 1996

The Blair Revolution: Can New Labour Deliver? 
by Peter Mandelson and Roger Liddle.
Faber, 274 pp., £7.99, February 1996, 0 571 17818 9
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... has brought more professional skill to the debasement of British public life than you,’ Michael Heseltine recently taunted Mandelson, who beamed back appreciatively. Indeed, so fixed has Mandelson become in the political imagination as Tony Blair’s Rasputin and High Priest of Spin that he is sometimes still dismissed as a bit of a cartoon ...

Born Again

Phillip Whitehead, 19 February 1981

Face the future 
by David Owen.
Cape, 552 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 224 01956 2
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... Local government is to be made more independent of the block grants of Whitehall. (Paradoxically, Michael Heseltine is already achieving this result in spite of himself by his punitive use of the grant system, which is forcing some councils to raise almost all their own revenue.) The ‘embarrassingly radical proposals’ of the Layfield Committee are ...

From Old Adam to New Eve

Peter Pulzer, 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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... Qui trop embrasse, mal étreint. His tribute to the organisational genius of Lord Woolton and Sir Michael Fraser is diminished by the extravagant encomia for Anthony Barber and Cecil Parkinson. We cannot yet write the history of post-Thatcherite Britain, but perhaps it is not too soon to start summarising the characteristics of its prehistory (roughly 55 BC ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... by a host of detractors, from within the paper and without: Tim Bale, Nick Cohen, Anne Perkins, Michael White, Martin Kettle, Peter Hain, Alan Johnson, Tony Blair (twice), Jonathan Jones, Frank Field, David Miliband (whose razor-sharp instinct for leadership contests led him to back Liz Kendall), Steve Coogan, Matthew D’Ancona, Betty Boothroyd. Papers ...

Europe or America?

Ian Gilmour, 7 November 2019

... in her hostility to Europe, much the same applies to the campaign currently being waged by what Michael Heseltine calls ‘our North American press’ – that is to say, the Murdoch and Black empires – against Britain forging closer ties in Europe. It is Conrad Black who, in his lecture, Britain’s Final Choice: Europe or America?, has produced the ...

What is this Bernard?

Christopher Hitchens, 10 January 1991

Good and Faithful Servant: The Unauthorised Biography of Bernard Ingham 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 202 pp., £14.99, December 1990, 0 571 16108 1
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... Lord Halifax look like an appeaser (which Harris might have pointed out he was already) to making Michael Heseltine look like a fool or a knave, which is, in Britain at least, a matter only within the competence of the libel courts. But between them, Thatcher and Ingham obviously employed the law officers of the Crown as well as members of the ...

Mrs Thatcher’s Ecstasy

Ross McKibbin, 24 May 1990

... it was government policy. We should remember who those backbenchers were: Norman Tebbit and Michael Heseltine. It seems fair to say that neither they nor the hundred or so Conservative MPs who supported their amendment had any clear notion of what the ILEA was obliged to do; nor again, it seems fair to say, did they care. Mr Tebbit and Mr ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1990, 24 January 1991

... rabbits, weasels and so on; and as a first step have been watching videos and nature films. Michael Bryant, who plays Badger, is sceptical about this, as older actors tend to be. However, Jane Gibson, who is teaching them movement, thinks she has made a breakthrough when Michael asks if he can take away the videos and ...

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