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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 brightest ...

My Castaway This Week

Miranda Carter: Desert Island Dreams, 9 June 2022

... long.Margaret: Yes. Very.Plomley died in harness in 1985 after 1786 episodes. He was succeeded by Michael Parkinson, twenty years younger and an experienced TV chat show host, who found the experience bruising and left after two years. In his autobiography, Parkinson says that Plomley’s widow, Diana (who’d wanted ...

Parkinson Lobby

Alan Rusbridger, 17 November 1983

... the Times to her drawing-room, a mere four people in public life had openly censured Mr Cecil Parkinson and suggested he should resign: two Tory MPs, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and the Mayor of Potters Bar. Ranged against this lone and motley quartet were the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, most of Fleet Street, 70 ...

That Wilting Flower

Hilary Mantel: The Lure of the Unexplained, 24 January 2008

Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained 
edited by Una McGovern.
Chambers, 760 pp., £35, October 2007, 978 0 550 10215 7
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... a live broadcast from a haunted house somewhere in London, with well-known presenters linking to Michael Parkinson in the studio, it was in fact a scripted recording; the reports from the house, interrupted by invented telephone calls from ‘concerned viewers’, degenerated into contrived havoc, and were ended by evil forces invading the studio, and ...

I’ve Got Your Number (Written on the Back of my Hand)

Jenny Turner: ‘High Fidelity’, 11 May 1995

High Fidelity 
by Nick Hornby.
Gollancz, 256 pp., £14.99, April 1995, 0 575 05748 3
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... have they gone, all these records I’ve had in my head for years, just in case Roy Plomley or Michael Parkinson or Sue Lawley or whoever used to do My Top Twelve on Radio One asked me in as a late and admittedly unknown replacement for somebody famous?’ And what was Rob’s killer move when he was in the process of getting to know Laura in the ...

Move like a party

Mendez: George Michael’s Destiny, 5 January 2023

George MichaelA Life 
by James Gavin.
Abrams, 502 pp., £25, June 2023, 978 1 4197 4794 6
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George MichaelFreedom Uncut 
directed by David Austin and George Michael.
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... George Michael​ died at the age of 53 on Christmas Day 2016; despite his success, it was hard not to think of what might have been. He was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on 25 June 1963 in East Finchley, London, to Jack Panos – a Greek Cypriot restaurant owner who had anglicised his name – and his English wife, Lesley Harrison ...

Double Bind

Julian Barnes, 3 June 1982

The Family Idiot: Gustave Flaubert 1821-1857 
by Jean-Paul Sartre.
Chicago, 627 pp., £17.50, January 1982, 0 226 73509 5
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Sartre and Flaubert 
by Hazel Barnes.
Chicago, 449 pp., £17.50, January 1982, 0 226 03720 7
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... him on the value of good writing. ‘Sometimes even,’ she begins, adopting the piousness of Michael Parkinson facing Auden, ‘you were disgusted with literature; you used to say, Literature is shit. What exactly did you mean? And from time to time, more recently, you have said to me: after all, it’s stupid to work at expressing oneself; you ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... specify who my fellow modèles en gâteaux might be – the late Freddie Trueman I would guess, Michael Parkinson possibly and Alan Titchmarsh (who’s so amiable he might even do it). A candidate for pâtisserie posterity would once have been that son of Yorkshire Jimmy Savile who seemed made from marzipan. But not now. No cake for James.7 ...


Conor Gearty: Various Forms of Sleaze, 24 November 1994

... suicide of his wife, which apparently was the result of an affair he had been conducting. In 1993, Michael Mates left the government after disclosures that he had sent gifts and messages of support to the businessman Asil Nadir. Norman Lamont caused an uproar over his use of public money to evict a tenant from his property. Other lesser Tories, such as Mrs ...

The Common Touch

Paul Foot, 10 November 1994

Hanson: A Biography 
by Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £20, September 1994, 1 85702 189 4
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... Derek Rosling, went to work in Mrs Thatcher’s private office in Downing Street. Lord Parkinson, one of Thatcher’s favourite ministers, became a favourite of Hanson’s, and was guest of honour at Claridge’s when Gordon White finally followed Hanson to the House of Lords in Thatcher’s farewell Honours List in 1991. In the same year, Kenneth ...
Once a Jolly Bagman: Memoirs 
by Alistair McAlpine.
Weidenfeld, 269 pp., £20, March 1997, 9780297817376
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... become obvious that the Tories were going to lose the election? Was it that golden moment when Michael Portillo, that scourge of unnecessary public spending, announced that £60m of public money was earmarked for a new yacht for the richest woman on earth – even though Her Majesty had made it plain she did not want one? Was it this deranged belief in the ...


R.W. Johnson, 2 December 1993

The Downing Street Years 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 914 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 255049 0
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... Le Pen to the Tory Conference. The clients include other Conservative ideologues such as Michael Portillo and Peter Lilley and a strange breed of suburban Brylcreem boys – John Moore, Kenneth Baker, Jeffrey Archer and, pre-eminently, Cecil Parkinson. What they have in common is a dreadful smarminess, a smoothly ...

Jacob and Esau

Giles Merritt, 24 November 1988

Upwardly Mobile 
by Norman Tebbit.
Weidenfeld, 280 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 297 79427 2
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Reflect on things past: The Memoirs of Lord Carrington 
Collins, 406 pp., £17.50, October 1988, 9780002176675Show More
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... In my dealings with him, however, I never found him the ‘semi-housetrained polecat’ that Michael Foot once called him. Back in 1980-81, when he was a junior minister at the Department of Industry and I was covering the mysteries of the Common Market for the Financial Times, I found him an agreeable character with a wry and self-deprecating sense of ...

Politician’s War

Tam Dalyell, 3 March 1983

The Battle for the Falklands 
by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins.
Joseph, 384 pp., £10.95, February 1983, 0 7181 2228 3
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... supported by a troika consisting of Admiral Sir Terence Lewin, Chief of Defence Staff, Cecil Parkinson, Chairman of the Conservative Party, and Ian Gow, her ever-present Parliamentary Private Secretary, who had been to the Falklands in the autumn of 1978 – who dominated the London end. The figure of Margaret Thatcher towers over the Falklands drama ...


Edward Pearce, 22 October 1992

by Anne Chisholm and Michael Davie.
Hutchinson, 589 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 09 173549 1
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... to pay especial attention to the coming man and likely successor in Downing Street, Cecil Parkinson. Beaverbrook was often wrong, oftener perverse, never that wrong or that perverse. The years of the Express’s slow decline are worth a book to themselves, so instructive are they about what happens when a presiding despot of genius dies. Journalists ...

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