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Peter Clarke: True or False?, 16 August 1990

... now editing the Spectator under an assumed name. Yet there have been no serious efforts from the Ridley camp to claim that their man was misquoted or that any breach of professional ethics took place. Not only is this the sort of thing he says: he must have supposed that it was opportune, or at least safe, to say it while the tape-recorder rolled. This is ...
Digging Deeper: Issues in the Miners’ Strike 
edited by Huw Beynon.
Verso, 252 pp., £3.95, March 1985, 0 86091 820 3
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Policing the Miners’ Strike 
edited by Bob Fine and Robert Millar.
Lawrence and Wishart, 243 pp., £4.95, March 1985, 0 85315 633 6
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The Strike: An Insider’s Story 
by Roy Ottey.
Sidgwick, 157 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 9780283992285
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Scargill and the Miners 
by Michael Crick.
Penguin, 172 pp., £2.95, March 1985, 0 14 052355 3
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The Great Strike: The Miners’ Strike of 1984-5 and its Lessons 
by Alex Callinicos and Mike Simons.
Socialist Worker, 256 pp., £3.95, April 1985, 0 905998 50 2
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... capital; managers who failed to achieve this target would be sacked. The report, drafted by the MP Nicholas Ridley, recognised that the pressures to economise would inevitably threaten management-union conflict. In sectors where a Conservative government could not contemplate the political or economic costs of such conflict, ‘return on capital figures ...

The NHS Dismantled

John Furse, 7 November 2019

... since the 1980s.In his report to the Conservative Party’s Economic Reconstruction Group in 1977, Nicholas Ridley wrote thatdenationalisation should not be attempted by frontal attack but by preparation for return to the private sector by stealth. We should first pass legislation to destroy the public sector monopolies. We might also need to take power ...

They should wear masks

Paul Foot: Highway Robbery, 7 January 1999

Stagecoach: A Classic Rags-to-Riches Tale from the Frontiers of Capitalism 
by Christian Wolmar.
Orion, 227 pp., £18.99, November 1998, 0 7528 1025 1
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... did much more than either Souter or Gloag for Stagecoach. Margaret Thatcher and her eager disciple Nicholas Ridley privatised the National Bus Company in 1985. The ‘thinking’ behind this measure came from organisations like the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. To the boffins there the publicly-owned National Bus Company was a ...

Two Men in a Boat

Ian Aitken, 15 August 1991

John Major: The Making of the Prime Minister 
by Bruce Anderson.
Fourth Estate, 324 pp., £16.99, June 1991, 9781872180540
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‘My Style of Government’: The Thatcher Years 
by Nicholas Ridley.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 09 175051 2
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... be nearer the mark – or better still, Conservative Party Election Manifesto. Which brings me to Nicholas Ridley’s contribution to the same debate. Like Mr Anderson, he was a devotee of Mrs Thatcher. But he hasn’t found it quite so easy to switch his loyalties to her successor. He continues to smoulder with hatred for the ‘lesser’ people in the ...

Lunchtime No News

Paul Foot, 27 June 1991

Kill the messenger 
by Bernard Ingham.
HarperCollins, 408 pp., £17.50, May 1991, 0 00 215944 9
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... very often) he emerges as a crusted reactionary, a Thatcherite to beat all Thatcherites. He loves Nicholas Ridley and the Poll Tax, favours identity cards for football supporters, detests trade unions which behave like trade unions and not as satraps of the employers. He constantly rants against ‘NHS officials, teachers and all who would dip their ...


John Bayley, 23 May 1991

The Oxford Book of Friendship 
edited by D.J. Enright and David Rawlinson.
Oxford, 360 pp., £15, April 1991, 0 19 214190 2
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... probably picked up from a newspaper or radio interview. He was dead within a year. Unlike Mr Nicholas Ridley, who recently cracked that he was not resigning to spend more time with his loved ones. Jane Austen’s attachments were less self-deceiving, and in her art she preferred to define the limits of friendship. Even the simple Catherine of ...


Rosalind Mitchison, 31 August 1989

Poverty and Welfare in Scotland 1890-1948 
by Ian Levitt.
Edinburgh, 241 pp., £30, November 1988, 0 85224 558 0
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The Retreat of Tuberculosis 1850-1950 
by F.B. Smith.
Croom Helm, 271 pp., £25, January 1988, 0 7099 3383 5
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Below the Magic Mountain: A Social History of Tuberculosis in 20th-century Britain 
by Linda Bryder.
Oxford, 298 pp., £30, April 1988, 9780198229476
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... the nature of the infection was understood, and led to ‘nimbying’ (the verbal felicity of Nicholas Ridley, and his personal commitment to the attitude, have given us this acronym for the ‘not in my backyard’ syndrome). Linda Bryder shows how a Welsh holiday village was able in the 20th century to resist having a sanatorium set up near its ...

Falklands Retrospect

Hugo Young, 17 August 1989

The Little Platoon: Diplomacy and the Falklands Dispute 
by Michael Charlton.
Blackwell, 230 pp., £14.95, June 1989, 0 631 16564 9
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... to hope that Argentina would be in too much of a mess itself to cause trouble in the Malvinas. Nicholas Ridley, in his first job as a junior Foreign Office minister, saw the FO’s leaseback proposition to its end, visiting the Falklands to test its possibilities and then being torn to pieces by the all-party Falklands lobby in the House of ...

Ages of the Train

Christopher Driver, 8 January 1987

The Railway Station: A Social History 
by Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie.
Oxford, 440 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 19 215876 7
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The Railways of Britain: A Journey through History 
by Jack Simmons.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £15.95, May 1986, 0 333 40766 0
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... the imagination. The single-track privatiser in Downing Street herself appointed the ludicrous Nicholas Ridley (now let loose on an even wider stage) to reproduce in the national bus network an unregulated free-for-all: at least bus operators do not lay lines or make much of their stations, but the hopelessly uneconomic railway network which the 20th ...


Tim Gardam: New Conservatism, 13 June 1991

... bracing truths of her uncompromising vision? John Major talks of a nation at ease with itself, and Nicholas Ridley told Newsnight: ‘The British want a rest. They don’t want to have everything turned upside down, they want a quiet time. I’m not saying this is an admirable quality of the British, because that’s why we keep falling behind, but ... if ...

Per Ardua

Paul Foot, 8 February 1996

In the Public Interest 
by Gerald James.
Little, Brown, 339 pp., £18.99, December 1995, 0 316 87719 0
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... of the finished Supergun were finally seized by Customs at Teesport, James was surprised to hear Nicholas Ridley, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, tell the House of Commons that the Government knew nothing about the Supergun contract – given that he had reported it seven months earlier. James reckons that what he calls ‘the ...

Snobs v. Herbivores

Colin Kidd: Non-Vanilla One-Nation Conservatism, 7 May 2020

Remaking One Nation: The Future of Conservatism 
by Nick Timothy.
Polity, 275 pp., £20, March 2020, 978 1 5095 3917 8
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... one-nation Tories – Kenneth Clarke, Michael Heseltine, Ian Gilmour – but also Keith Joseph and Nicholas Ridley. The politics of the Tory left were actually advanced in various factional groupings and dining clubs, such as Nick’s Diner, the Lollards and the Tory Reform Group.The term, however, remains a well-understood code in the party for a ...


Keith Thomas, 20 April 1995

Theatres of Memory. Vol. I: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture 
by Raphael Samuel.
Verso, 479 pp., £18.95, February 1995, 0 86091 209 4
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... Eighties was hostile to the conservationist cause; and there was no greater enemy of heritage than Nicholas Ridley at the Department of the Environment. On the Continent, the outstanding model of how to preserve an ancient city in modern conditions remained Communist-run Bologna; and when it came to the meticulous conservation of aristocratic buildings ...

Time Lords

Anthony Grafton: In the Catacombs, 31 July 2014

Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs 
by Paul Koudounaris.
Thames and Hudson, 189 pp., £18.95, September 2013, 978 0 500 25195 9
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... of living an ancient life. We do not know whether Hugh Latimer really said to his friend Nicholas Ridley, when the two were burned at Oxford in October 1555, ‘Be of good comfort, master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be ...

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