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Diary

Peter Clarke: True or False?

16 August 1990
... Heathrow during the Winter of Discontent. One’s first thought, therefore, must be whether our Ben is 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 ...
7 November 2019
... been the inspiration for the long and discreet process of the dismantling and reformation of the NHS since the 1980s.In his report to the Conservative Party’s Economic Reconstruction Group in 1977, NicholasRidley 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 ...

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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... carefully, and a benefactor emerges who, despite a manifest lack of genius or socialist principles, did much more than either Souter or Gloag for Stagecoach. Margaret Thatcher and her eager disciple NicholasRidley 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 ...
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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... a halfpenny new money, perhaps we are entitled to amend its name. Citizen Micawber’s Charter might be nearer the mark – or better still, Conservative Party Election Manifesto. Which brings me to NicholasRidley’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 ...
6 June 1985
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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... group on the nationalised industries. Each industry would be allocated a minimum rate of return on capital; managers who failed to achieve this target would be sacked. The report, drafted by the MP NicholasRidley, 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 ...
27 June 1991
Kill the messenger 
by Bernard Ingham.
HarperCollins, 408 pp., £17.50, May 1991, 0 00 215944 9
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... all the time. Indeed, whenever Sir Bernard Ingham expresses his own political views (which is very, very often) he emerges as a crusted reactionary, a Thatcherite to beat all Thatcherites. He loves NicholasRidley 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 ...

Pals

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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... order to spend more time with my family and friends’, a slightly gruesome cliché which he had himself probably picked up from a newspaper or radio interview. He was dead within a year. Unlike Mr NicholasRidley, 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 ...

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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... and small, the few with the imagination have lacked the will, and the few with the will have lacked the imagination. The single-track privatiser in Downing Street herself appointed the ludicrous NicholasRidley (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 ...

Nimbying

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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... Fear of tuberculosis and distaste for those suffering from it continued at popular level long after the nature of the infection was understood, and led to ‘nimbying’ (the verbal felicity of NicholasRidley, 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 ...
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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... before long there would have to be a negotiation over the expiring Hong Kong lease, they chose simply to hope that Argentina would be in too much of a mess itself to cause trouble in the Malvinas. NicholasRidley, 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 ...

Diary

Tim Gardam: New Conservatism

13 June 1991
... generation looking beyond her, or is it just that they haven’t got the stuffing to endure the bracing truths of her uncompromising vision? John Major talks of a nation at ease with itself, and NicholasRidley 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 ...

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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... adjuster reported that the explosion had probably been caused by sabotage. In April 1990, when parts of the finished Supergun were finally seized by Customs at Teesport, James was surprised to hear NicholasRidley, 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 ...

Time Lords

Anthony Grafton: In the Catacombs

30 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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... the earliest believers and the sadder but wiser religiosity of the moderns; to see, perhaps, the possibility of living an ancient life. We do not know whether Hugh Latimer really said to his friend NicholasRidley, 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 ...
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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Judges 
by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... by the reflection that so long as this decorative but mindless stuff goes down so well with local Labour parties and trade-union activists, we shall continue to be governed by Mrs Thatcher, NicholasRidley 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 ...

Westland Ho

Paul Foot

6 February 1986
... the consent or knowledge of the Solicitor-General. She found it all a matter for ‘regret’. A new debate was promised. The Government’s apologists (led by the ultraright Minister of Transport NicholasRidley) try to pass off the whole affair as remote. Do the British public really care about a difficult argument between two rival capitalist bids? Do they care about what really was said between ...

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