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Social Policy

Ralf Dahrendorf

3 July 1980
Understanding Social Policy 
by Michael​ Hill.
Blackwell, 280 pp., £12, April 1980, 0 631 18170 9
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Poverty and Inequality in Common Market Countries 
edited by Vic George and Roger Lawson.
Routledge, 253 pp., £9.50, April 1980, 0 7100 0424 9
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Planning for Welfare: Social Policy and the Expenditure Process 
edited by Timothy Booth.
Blackwell, 208 pp., £12, November 1980, 0 631 19560 2
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The City and Social Theory 
by Michael Peter Smith.
Blackwell, 315 pp., £12, April 1980, 9780631121510
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The Good City: A Study of Urban Development and Policy in Britain 
by David Donnison.
Heinemann, 221 pp., £4.95, April 1980, 0 435 85217 5
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The Economics of Prosperity: Social Priorities in the Eighties 
by David Blake and Paul Ormerod.
Grant Mclntyre, 230 pp., £3.95, April 1980, 0 86216 013 8
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... of Polaris rockets and those who are slightly embarrassed when asked where they propose to get the money from which they want to spend on doing good. But social policy? It is probably unfair to cite Michael Hill’s Understanding Social Policy as an example of why the subject is so likely to produce a yawn. But he manages throughout to reduce subjects of considerable interest to many individuals to a ...

Mad or bad?

Michael​ Ignatieff

18 June 1981
Trial by Medicine: Insanity and Responsibility in Victorian Trials 
by Roger Smith.
Edinburgh, 288 pp., £15, March 1981, 9780852244074
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... During his summation at the Old Bailey trial of Peter Sutcliffe, Mr Justice Boreham felt called upon to remind the jury that they were there to judge Sutcliffe, not the flock of psychiatrists called to testify as to his mental condition. The jury could ...

Wharton the Wise

D.A.N. Jones

4 April 1985
The Missing Will 
by Michael​ Wharton.
Hogarth, 216 pp., £10.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2666 3
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... For 27 years Michael Wharton has written the ‘Peter Simple’ column in the Daily Telegraph. He was only 43 when he secured this good, steady job and now he has published an autobiographical account of his 43 apprentice years – dissident, drifting ...

Erratic Star

Michael​ Foot

11 May 1995
Moral Desperado: A Life of Thomas Carlyle 
by Simon Heffer.
Orion, 420 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 297 81564 4
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... Tory political philosophers are not easily come by, even in the atmosphere of intellectual body-snatching unloosed by the Peter-house School of historians. Confronted with the raw clash between rich and poor brought about by Thatcherite-Lawsonite-Majorite policies, Adam Smith would have recoiled. The social policy he sought ...

Sacred Peter

Norman MacCaig

19 June 1980
Sacred Keeper 
by Peter​ Kavanagh.
Goldsmith​ Press, 403 pp., £4.40, May 1979, 0 904984 48 6
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Dead as Doornails 
by Anthony Cronin.
Poolbeg Press, 201 pp., £1.75, May 1980, 9780905169316
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The Macmillan Dictionary of Irish Literature 
edited by Robert Hogan.
Macmillan, 815 pp., £2, February 1980, 0 333 27085 1
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... My acceptance of an offer to review the Kavanagh book landed me in a mess of puzzles. Peter Kavanagh, the poet’s brother, starts straight off, sentence one, by announcing: ‘When I write about Patrick Kavanagh I write as a partisan, as his alter ego, almost as his evangelist.’ And if ...

After-Lives

John Sutherland

5 November 1992
Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 09 174263 3
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Testamentary Acts: Browning, Tennyson, James, Hardy 
by Michael​ Millgate.
Oxford, 273 pp., £27.50, June 1992, 0 19 811276 9
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The Last Laugh 
by Michael​ Holroyd.
Chatto, 131 pp., £10.99, December 1991, 0 7011 4583 8
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Trollope 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Hutchinson, 551 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 09 173896 2
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... Lipking or Richard Helgerson. The Forster-Dickens chapter makes no mention of the alternative line of Dickens biography that descends through Thomas Wright and Katherine Longley to our contemporaries Peter Ackroyd and Claire Tomalin. In his chapter on James Joyce Hamilton dwells exclusively on the author’s ‘patron saint’, Harriet Weaver. Surprisingly – for a study whose main concern is the ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership

20 October 2005
... Alec Douglas-Home, Heath, Thatcher and John Major – a more mixed bunch, admittedly, but still mostly distinguished and competent. That the names of William Hague at the age of 36 and Iain Duncan Smith at any age should now be added to that illustrious roll is bizarre. How did this Conservative descent into absurdity occur? During Major’s premiership by far the greatest cause of dissension in the ...
17 December 2015
... Not​ for the first time, Mr Justice PeterSmith, a judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court, got his personal life and his judicial work entangled. This time it concerned his luggage, which had gone missing on a BA flight from Florence ...

Thatcher, Thatcher, Thatcher

John Gray: The Tory Future

22 April 2010
The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 446 pp., £25, January 2010, 978 0 7456 4857 6
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Back from the Brink: The Inside Story of the Tory Resurrection 
by Peter​ Snowdon.
Harper Press, 419 pp., £14.99, March 2010, 978 0 00 730725 8
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... There wasn’t anything inevitable about David Cameron’s rise. If Kenneth Clarke had stirred himself into running something like a campaign when competing for the leadership with Iain Duncan Smith and been ready to appear more tractable on Europe; if David Davis had moved decisively in the immediate aftermath of Michael Howard’s resignation or been a more fluent speaker; if Howard had ...
19 November 1992
Epstein: Artist against the Establishment 
by Stephen Gardiner.
Joseph, 532 pp., £20, September 1992, 9780718129446
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... cheekboned girls who seemed as romantic as Picasso’s sad blue and pink people, but more substantial. Then there were the monumental bronzes: the Madonna and Child in Cavendish Square and the St Michael at Coventry, for example. These were well-liked by most people and liked very much indeed by many. Because they are whole figures, not just heads, you can see how Epstein handled poses: they tend to ...
5 May 1988
Under Storm’s Wing 
by Helen Thomas and Myfanwy Thomas.
Carcanet, 318 pp., £14.95, February 1988, 0 85635 733 2
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... ironies of Edward Thomas’s life still condition his reputation. Just as he made a late poetic start, so criticism has been slow to gather momentum. Even the recent spate of studies – by Michael Kirkham, Stan Smith, and the contributors to Jonathan Barker’s Art of Edward Thomas – seems more fortuitous than co-ordinated. Thomas, as Robert Frost reminded him, ‘knew the worth of [his ...

The Luck of the Tories

Ross McKibbin: The Debt to Kinnock

7 March 2002
Kinnock: The Biography 
by Martin Westlake.
Little, Brown, 768 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 316 84871 9
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... nine years, however, were spent in opposition. He was, furthermore, the only Labour leader (at least since Labour began electing ‘leaders’) never to have held a ministerial post – being PPS to Michael Foot for a year does not count. He is the only British party leader to have been an EU Commissioner – and is likely to remain so. As a result his record in ‘government’ is hard to judge, since ...
22 October 1992
Rising Sun 
by Michael​ Crichton.
Century, 364 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 7126 5320 1
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Off Centre: Power and Culture Relations between Japan and the United States 
by Masao Miyoshi.
Harvard, 289 pp., £22.95, December 1992, 0 674 63175 7
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Underground in Japan 
by Rey Ventura.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.99, April 1992, 0 224 03550 9
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... Pictures in 1989, a Newsweek cartoon replaced the Statue of Liberty in the Columbia logo with a geisha; other icons now under Japanese management include the Rockefeller Center, Universal Studios and Michael Jackson. Such high-profile acquisitions are seized upon by opportunistic commentators, all too keen to foster suspicions of Japanese duplicity, racism and greed. Writing about Japan, its society and ...
1 September 1988
Mother London 
by Michael​ Moorcock.
Secker, 496 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 0 436 28461 8
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The Comforts of Madness 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 128 pp., £9.95, July 1988, 0 09 468480 4
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Sweet Desserts 
by Lucy Ellmann.
Virago, 154 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 9780860688471
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Happiness 
by Theodore Zeldin.
Collins Harvill, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 00 271302 0
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... Michael Moorcock’s novel honours the loonies of London. It seems there are more of them every year, especially since – by one of the more perverse acts of enlightenment – the asylums were emptied in ...

The Real Johnny Hall

Penelope Fitzgerald

3 October 1985
Our Three Selves: A Life of Radclyffe Hall 
by Michael​ Baker.
Hamish Hamilton, 386 pp., £13.95, June 1985, 0 241 11539 6
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... as an episode.’ (She seems not to have known Dickens’s Tattycoram and Miss Wade.) She wanted to ‘smash the conspiracy of silence’, but found herself instead mildly successful at W.H. Smith and the Times Bookshop. The case was altered only by James Douglas, the editor (also in a crusader’s spirit) of the Sunday Express. Douglas decided, a month later, to feature the book and its ...

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