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Two Poems

Neil Rollinson, 25 November 1999

... tremor of particles collidinglike marbles. But nothing happens.We are growing further apart by the ...
Governing without a Majority 
by David Butler.
Collins, 156 pp., £4.95, May 1983, 9780002170710
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Multi-Party Politics and the Constitution 
by Vernon Bogdanor.
Cambridge, 207 pp., £18.50, May 1983, 0 521 25524 4
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Decade of Dealignment 
by Bo Särlvik, Ivor Crewe, Neil Day and Robert MacDermid.
Cambridge, 393 pp., £27.50, June 1983, 0 521 22674 0
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... But for Britain’s antediluvian electoral system the House of Commons would now comprise around 160 Alliance, 180 Labour and 280 Conservative MPs – and the new books by David Butler and Vernon Bogdanor would have vanished beneath a stampede of eager buyers. As things are, though the distorted election results have robbed them of some of their topicality, they will be very widely and minutely studied by politicians, students of politics and Her Majesty the Queen – or at least by her advisers ...

The Mile High Club

Neil Rollinson, 8 February 2001

... sniffing the current, coming from miles for the big finish. You don’t have sex like that every day. We circle in our stack above the airport. Thank God for that I think, you must have lost your mind. And anyway, what could feel as good as this, touching down with a jolt on terra firma, the weight of gravity like an arm around your shoulder, that feeling ...


Norman Buchan: Press Freedom v. the Home Office, 19 March 1987

... of the Scottish BBC just down the road from where I live. The heart of the argument with Neil Kinnock was precisely this: the time had come to take broadcasting, and the fundamental issue of press freedom, away from the Home Office. The events which proved our case had come just four days too late to carry the ...

Just Two Clicks

Jonathan Raban: The Virtual Life of Neil Entwistle, 14 August 2008

... America is a country where ‘ordinary people can do extraordinary things.’ In January 2006, Neil Entwistle, a seemingly ordinary 27-year-old Englishman with an honours degree from the University of York, who had been living in the US for barely four months, shot dead his American wife, Rachel, and their baby daughter, Lillian, with a long-barrelled Colt ...

When Neil Kinnock was in his pram

Paul Addison, 5 April 1984

Labour in Power 1945-1951 
by Kenneth Morgan.
Oxford, 546 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 19 215865 1
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... a burning issue. Talk to them of Attlee, and the sparks of old controversies fly up as though Neil Kinnock were still in his celebrated pram. But to the present generation of students, Attlee might as well be Campbell-Bannerman, or Dr Mussadiq the Akond of Swat. To them, such matters are all a part of grandad’s world, a mysterious place where there was ...

Dashing for Freedom

Paul Foot, 12 December 1996

Full Disclosure 
by Andrew Neil.
Macmillan, 481 pp., £20, October 1996, 0 333 64682 7
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... of his generation.’ ‘Oh yeah,’ Murdoch said, ‘and who would that be?’ ‘Andrew Neil of the Economist’ was Burnet’s reply. What is our source for this extraordinary conversation? The aforesaid Andrew Neil, on page 25 of this book. Though he immediately describes Burnet’s assessment as ...


David Craig: Episodes on the Rock, 13 May 1993

... boss, who ‘should be back by 6’. As we talk, the crag leans over us hugely. For a few hours Neil (my youngest son) and I work out at the other end of Gibraltar, on the sun-warmed and flowery tiers of Buffadero Bluff, where I had climbed two years before. When we get to No 26, the door is padlocked shut. At No 24 (Rock Services Ltd) another tanned and ...


Paul Foot: Disaster Woman, 7 January 1988

... contractor, Tory by nature and tradition, was shocked. By contrast, incidentally, he found Neil Kinnock uncharacteristically willing to listen. Indeed, he said Kinnock brushed aside aides who wanted to take him off somewhere, and listened without interrupting for three-quarters of an hour: quite the best thing I have heard anyone say about ...

Noam’s Ark

Walter Nash, 25 October 1990

The Twitter Machine: Reflections on Language 
by Neil Smith.
Blackwell, 275 pp., £9.95, September 1989, 0 631 16926 1
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English in Use 
by Randolph Quirk and Gabriele Stein.
Longman, 262 pp., £17.95, September 1990, 0 582 06612 3
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... blue and rose, a sort of grave man’s Rowland Emmett. It makes a pleasant cover illustration for Neil Smith’s collection of propaedeutic papers on linguistics, providing a title for the book and a humorous gloss on the text, the first in a series of playful images and allusions deftly exploited by Professor Smith as he attempts to introduce his readers ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... doing it right. What colour poppy, white or red, would he wear to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day? Would he kneel to the queen when he was admitted to the Privy Council (see Martin Loughlin’s piece on p. 29)? On the day after he was elected, he spoke at a mental health trust fun ...


Sean French: Fortress Wapping, 6 March 1986

... retrospect, boring and pointless: all that matters is that the management and our editor, Andrew Neil, told us nothing of their true intentions. By contrast, the crisis itself was simple. Rupert Murdoch demanded a level of compulsory redundancies of his Sogat 82 and NGA employees that he knew they would not accept. The two unions took the bait and on ...

Into Africa

J.D.F. Jones, 19 April 1990

My Traitor’s Heart 
by Rian Malan.
Bodley Head, 349 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 0 370 31354 2
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... fancy, which gives great passion to his argument, that ‘very little had changed between that day and the day I came home to my country ... I didn’t have to dig in the archives for Dawid Malan; I looked in the mirror and there he was.’ And again: ‘In truth I was always one of them. I am a white man born in Africa ...

The Most Beautiful Icicle

Inigo Thomas: Apollo 11, 15 August 2019

Reaching for the Moon: A Short History of the Space Race 
by Roger D. Launius.
Yale, 256 pp., £20, July 2019, 978 0 300 23046 8
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The Moon: A History for the Future 
by Oliver Morton.
Economist Books, 334 pp., £20, May 2019, 978 1 78816 254 8
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... In​ Neil Armstrong’s photograph of Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon, taken with a camera strapped to his chest, Aldrin stands at ease, his right arm hanging loosely at his side, the left raised as if he’s about to do something – look at his watch, perhaps? The photograph was taken fifty years ago, on 20 July 1969, and it’s one of the most recognisable photographs from the Apollo missions, among the most famous photographs ever taken ...

Into Apathy

Neil McKendrick, 21 August 1980

The Wedgwood Circle, 1730-1897 
by Barbara Wedgwood and Hensleigh Wedgwood.
Studio Vista, 386 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 289 70892 3
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... under a rarely-lifted log, all the more luminously strange for so rarely seeing the light of day. In such little explored shadowy corners we find Sarah Wedgwood, the last surviving daughter of Josiah and Sally, living alone. Sarah was tall, thin, solemn and sad, but above all remarkably fastidious. She was so fastidious that she kept special pairs of ...

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