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Alan Ryan, 26 November 1987

Ruling Performance: British Governments from Attlee to Thatcher 
edited by Peter Hennessy and Anthony Seldon.
Blackwell, 344 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 631 15645 3
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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Blackwell, 667 pp., £45, September 1987, 0 631 13841 2
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by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... local Labour parties and trade-union activists, we shall continue to be governed by Mrs Thatcher, Nicholas Ridley and John Major. David Marquand insists on a few truisms, but is decently cautious about what they imply. He fears the effects of selfishness and moral anarchy. As he says, a society which degenerates into a Hobbesian war of all against all is ...


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 ...

Big G and Little G

Paul Laity, 6 February 1997

The British Electricity Experiment 
edited by John Surrey.
Earthscan, 329 pp., £40, July 1996, 1 85383 370 3
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... efficient, consumer-friendly industry. In his 1978 party report on the nationalised industries, Nicholas Ridley had deplored the fact that certain unions could hold the Government to ransom by striking or threatening to strike. The outstanding example, of course, was Heath’s acceptance in 1974 of a 35 per cent pay increase for the miners after their ...

Who Runs Britain?

Christopher Hitchens, 8 December 1994

The Enemy Within: MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair 
by Seumas Milne.
Verso, 352 pp., £18.95, November 1994, 0 86091 461 5
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... before Thatcher carried the vote of no confidence in Callaghan, she had commissioned her friend Nicholas Ridley to design a campaign of revenge on the mineworkers, and to ensure that all the arsenals and all the tactical designs were in place in advance. Nigel Lawson, who was later to cover himself with glory as Energy Secretary in this bannered ...

Into the sunset

Peter Clarke, 30 August 1990

Ideas and Politics in Modern Britain 
edited by J.C.D. Clark.
Macmillan, 271 pp., £40, July 1990, 0 333 51550 1
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The Philosopher on Dover Beach 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 344 pp., £18.95, June 1990, 0 85635 857 6
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... European integration. All of this is put in terms a good deal more sophisticated than those which Nicholas Ridley famously employed, but the drift is, I think, not so different. Roger Scruton writes explicitly on this theme under the title, ‘In defence of the nation’, a piece also printed as the final essay in his own more diverse collection, The ...

Born of the age we live in

John Lanchester, 6 December 1990

Stick it up your punter! The Rise and Fall of the ‘Sun’ 
by Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 434 12624 1
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All played out: The True Story of Italia ’90 
by Pete Davies.
Heinemann, 471 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 434 17908 6
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Gazza! A Biography 
by Robin McGibbon.
Penguin, 204 pp., £3.99, October 1990, 9780140148688
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... Mrs Thatcher started dropping into the Sun’s offices with her advisers Geoffrey Howe and Nicholas Ridley: she would accept a glass of whisky from Lamb and shamelessly flatter him – ‘What do you think, Larry?’ Lamb responded by concocting two of the most politically effective headlines on record: ‘THE WINTER OF DISCONTENT’ was followed ...

Something about Mary

Diarmaid MacCulloch: The First Queen of England, 18 October 2007

Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England 
by David Loades.
National Archives, 240 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 1 903365 98 8
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... best legitimate heir. Both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, and the Bishop of London, Nicholas Ridley, openly and precisely said that both Mary and Elizabeth were bastards. Mary’s remarkable initial success came from single-mindedly stressing the one asset she possessed: bastard or no bastard, she was flesh of Henry VIII’s flesh. What she ...

Conspire Slowly, Act Quickly

David Runciman: Thatcher Undone, 2 January 2020

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. III: Herself Alone 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 1072 pp., £35, October 2019, 978 0 241 32474 5
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... designed to constrain them. Her fears found colourful expression by proxy in an interview given by Nicholas Ridley, the cabinet minister to whom she remained closest and whose views came closest to her own: ‘When I look at the institutions to which it is proposed that sovereignty is to be handed over, I’m aghast,’ ...

Rolling Back the Reformation

Eamon Duffy: Bloody Mary’s Church, 7 February 2008

... but before persecution cometh do goe backe’. And in the bitterness of his imprisonment, Nicholas Ridley came to believe that the Edwardine reformation had never in fact penetrated the hearts even of the nation’s political elites, much less the common people: ‘it may be truly sayd of them,’ he wrote, as of the most part of the Clergy, of ...

The Rise and Fall of Thatcherism

Peter Clarke: Eight years after, 10 December 1998

... rather than subjected to interventionist measures of rate-capping from the centre. That is what Nicholas Ridley, the most loyal Thatcherite in the Cabinet, thought was at stake; for him, as for Lawson, Thatcherism was more than ‘whatever Margaret Thatcher herself at any time did or said’. Thatcher is unrepentant, not only of her general defence of ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... of the tenant with too colourful a professional life; Patrick Nicholls, suspected drunk driver; Nicholas Ridley, too loquacious an advocate of anti-German feeling; and Mrs Edwina Currie (‘most of the egg production in this country is, sadly, now infected with salmonella’). Then there is the long line of sex-scandal casualties: Cecil Parkinson, Tim ...

At Annely Juda

Iain Sinclair: Leon Kossoff, London Landscapes, 6 June 2013

... Circus’ (c.2008). It has been said, in relation to his swirling child’s-eye visions of Nicholas Hawksmoor’s intimidating Christ Church in Spitalfields, that Kossoff assimilates hostility, confronting the alien stack of this Anglican invader in order to make stone spring upwards into the light. Kossoff speaks of the burden of accumulated ...

The New Restoration

Onora O’Neill, 22 November 1990

The New Conservatism: Cultural Criticism and the Historians’ Debate 
by Jürgen Habermas, translated by Shierry Weber Nicholsen.
Polity, 270 pp., £29.50, February 1990, 0 7456 0679 2
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... not gloss over those of their own past. Given the furore caused in Britain earlier this year by Nicholas Ridley’s speculations on the German character, it is worth quoting Habermas’s position at some length: ‘After Auschwitz our national self-consciousness can be derived only from the better traditions of our history, a history that is not ...

Read, rattle and roll

Malcolm Deas, 6 February 1986

Holy Smoke 
by G. Cabrera Infante.
Faber, 329 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 571 13518 8
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Tobacco on the Periphery. A Case Study in Cuban Labour History: 1860-1958 
by Jean Stubbs.
Cambridge, 203 pp., £25, April 1985, 9780521254236
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... his mouth’ is unfortunately an incorrect translation of Hoffstetter’s original German. Jasper Ridley, Garibaldi Some twenty years ago the idea (come from England, no doubt) that cigars, like Loos’s blondes, were for gentlemen only, was dispelled by the scraggly mien of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s handsome head, both clad in US Army surplus ...


J.B. Trapp, 17 November 1983

Thomas More: History and Providence 
by Alistair Fox.
Blackwell, 271 pp., £19.50, September 1982, 0 631 13094 2
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The Statesman and the Fanatic: Thomas Wolsey and Thomas More 
by Jasper Ridley.
Constable, 338 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 9780094634701
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English Reformation Literature: The Tudor Origins of the Protestant Tradition 
by John King.
Princeton, 539 pp., £30.70, December 1982, 0 691 06502 0
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Seven-Headed Luther: Essays in Commemoration of a Quincentenary, 1483-1983 
edited by Peter Newman Brooks.
Oxford, 325 pp., £22.50, July 1983, 0 19 826648 0
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The Complete Works of St Thomas More. Vol. VI: A Dialogue concerning Heresies. Part 1: The Text, Part 2: Introduction, Commentary, Appendices, Glossary, Index 
edited by T.M.C. Lawler, Germain Marc’hadour and Richard Marius.
Yale, 435 pp., £76, November 1981, 0 300 02211 5
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... To most people, those last years fashion yet another More. Which More shall we choose? Jasper Ridley’s is yet another: not merely a fanatic, but the sort of sneaking, unmanly fellow who uses two pseudonyms for the same book against Luther. (For that matter he also pretended that his Dialogue of Comfort had been written by a Hungarian in ...

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