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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 ...

Mysterian

Jackson Lears: On Chomsky

3 May 2017
Why Only Us: Language and Evolution 
by Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky.
MIT, 215 pp., £18.95, February 2016, 978 0 262 03424 1
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Because We Say So 
by Noam Chomsky.
Penguin, 199 pp., £9.99, August 2016, 978 0 241 97248 9
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What Kind of Creatures Are We? 
by Noam Chomsky.
Columbia, 167 pp., £17, January 2016, 978 0 231 17596 8
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Who Rules the World? 
by Noam Chomsky.
Hamish Hamilton, 307 pp., £18.99, May 2016, 978 0 241 18943 6
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Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals 
by Neil Smith and Nicholas Allott.
Cambridge, 461 pp., £18.99, January 2016, 978 1 107 44267 2
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...  ...

What did you expect?

Steven Shapin: The banality of moon-talk

1 September 2005
Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth 
by Andrew Smith.
Bloomsbury, 308 pp., £17.99, April 2005, 0 7475 6368 3
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... in January 1972 at the Old Vic, Jumpers came two and a half years after the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men on the Moon and less than a year before the Apollo 17 astronauts Jack Schmitt and Gene Cernan became the last. Between July 1969 and December 1972, 21 astronauts left on Apollo missions to put men on the ...

After Smith

Ross McKibbin

9 June 1994
... Like many others I have been puzzled by the reaction to John Smith’s death. It was reported as though it were at least that of a prime minister, and his funeral was, as the BBC noted, in effect a state funeral. The decision of both the BBC and ITV to double the ordinary length of their evening news broadcasts on the day of his death could be put down to the social democratish inclinations of the programmers, but the speed with which the coverage had to be assembled suggests that it was more instinctive ...
20 February 1997
Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... Agency as their pretended target at random. The Minister of Trade in charge of the Agency was Neil Hamilton, the ambitious, dashing and very right-wing Tory MP for Tatton. For at least a year reporters at the Guardian had been trying to substantiate allegations by Mohamed Al Fayed, the proprietor of Harrods, that Hamilton had taken money, and accepted a ...

Diary

William Rodgers: Party Conference Jamboree

25 October 1990
... around which the jamboree revolves. As Lord Callaghan took his place on the platform to hear Neil Kinnock, he will have recalled with a shudder the 51st Annual Conference of the Labour Party, held just up the coast at Morecambe in 1952. The young Jim Callaghan spoke twice on that occasion, first against the denationalisation of road haulage by Mr ...

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 ...

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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... Neil Kinnock is a problematic figure in modern British politics. He was leader of the Labour Party for nine years and presided over a number of profound changes in both its structure and its policy. All 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 ...
9 December 1999
The Autobiography 
by John Major.
HarperCollins, 774 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 00 257004 1
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In Office 
by Norman Lamont.
Little, Brown, 567 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 316 64707 1
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... was that the ERM was a fine thing (our entry was acclaimed by the whole of the press as well as by Neil Kinnock and John Smith): a view which held until, roughly, September 1992, when the conviction grew on all sides that it had been a colossal mistake. Few will argue with John Major’s asssumption that the 1997 election ...

Diary

Conor Gearty: Various Forms of Sleaze

24 November 1994
... as Mrs Thatcher’s successor in Finchley, Hartley Booth, have left office under a moral cloud. Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith are part of a long Tory tradition. If we throw our minds back to the Thatcher age, various forms of sleaze are associated with the names of Cecil Parkinson, Nicholas Fairbairn and Patrick ...

Fundamentally Goyish

James Wood: Zadie Smith

3 October 2002
The Autograph Man 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 420 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 0 241 13998 8
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... kid with EkaSystems Inc, and earning at least half a million a year . . . Alas, much of Zadie Smith’s second novel reads like this. (It’s better written, but she had two years, and I had two minutes.) White Teeth, for all its many miracles, occasionally revealed a cartoonish energy that at times seemed to amount to a fear of silence, a perpetual ...

Here we go

Peter Clarke

21 October 1993
... but why it was done and how it was done discloses its full significance. The leadership of John Smith was one crucial factor. Had the votes gone the other way, there would have been no doubt in anyone’s mind that he would have lost, and lost heavily, perhaps irretrievably. Conversely, it is his opponents in the Party who have lost and ...

Very Old Labour

Ross McKibbin

3 April 1997
... the Tories insist, merely pretending. Much of this ‘renewal’ had, of course, been achieved by Neil Kinnock and John Smith, while the numerical and political decline of the unions, together with a change in the composition of the electorate and the Labour Party’s membership, made ‘renewal’ much easier and, at least ...

Short Cuts

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Environmental Law

8 February 2018
... compliance. When Ronald Reagan appointed Anne Gorsuch (mother of the newest Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch) to head the EPA, he asked if she was willing to ‘bring it to its knees’. She slashed its budget and, as the New York Times put it, ‘sabotaged the agency’s enforcement effort’. In response, James Thornton, a crusading lawyer, brought ...

A British Bundesrat?

Colin Kidd: Scotland and the Constitution

16 April 2014
... state is no more than a highly inconvenient and thus insignificant truth. The Scottish jurist T.B. Smith took the Union at face value and refused to accept the subaltern status of Scots law within what had become by default a Greater English state. Why, Smith asked, did Section 70 of the Army Act of 1955 incorporate the ...

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