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Tearing up the Race Card

Paul Foot, 30 November 1995

The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker 
by Nigel Harris.
Tauris, 256 pp., £25, October 1995, 1 85043 956 7
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The Cambridge Survey of World Migration 
edited by Robin Cohen.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £75, November 1995, 0 521 44405 5
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... controls will have to travel far outside the normal political boundaries. They could start with Nigel Harris’s timely book. In a panoramic survey of worldwide migration over the last fifty years, Harris asks the questions which always arise wherever the subject comes up. If there are no statutory controls, will a ...

In the bright autumn of my senescence

Christopher Hitchens, 6 January 1994

In the Heat of the Struggle: Twenty-Five Years of ‘Socialist Worker’ 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 288 pp., £12.50, November 1993, 0 906224 94 2
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Why You Should Join the Socialists 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 70 pp., £1.90, November 1993, 0 906224 80 2
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... from Derry with amazing literary gifts and an insight into what was coming in the Six Counties. Nigel Harris, who knew about the Third World and could write about it without sentimentality. Peter Sedgwick, the conscience of us all and the satirist of the ideologues. Plus a network of self-taught trade unionists who could talk about Spain, about the ...

Landlord of the Moon

David Craig: Scottish islands, 21 February 2002

Sea Room: An Island Life 
by Adam Nicolson.
HarperCollins, 391 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 0 00 257164 1
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... of Princess Elizabeth) who came to the islands in 1946 as guests of Nicolson’s father, Nigel (son of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West). They lasted a night. Wakened by noisy rats, they screamed. Nigel would have to row them back out to a fishing boat in the morning. But he had forgotten to tie up his ...

Doctor in the Dock

Stephen Sedley, 20 October 1994

Medical Negligence 
edited by Michael Powers and Nigel Harris.
Butterworth, 1188 pp., £155, July 1994, 0 406 00452 8
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... I used occasionally to lecture to doctors at the Institute of Orthopaedics on giving expert evidence. With a hierarchical propriety that would have done the legal profession credit, the audience would arrange itself in order of seniority, consultants in the front row, registrars behind and so on. The occasion I enjoyed most was when I stayed to listen to the next lecture, ‘On Alleged Medical Negligence’, delivered by George Bonney, a laconic orthopaedic surgeon with long experience on the governing body of the Medical Defence Union ...

Father, Son and Sewing-Machine

Patrick Parrinder, 21 February 1985

Garden, Ashes 
by Danilo Kis, translated by William Hannaher.
Faber, 170 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 9780571134533
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Star Turn 
by Nigel Williams.
Faber, 314 pp., £9.95, January 1985, 0 571 13296 0
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On Glory’s Course 
by James Purdy.
Peter Owen, 378 pp., £9.95, January 1985, 0 7206 0633 0
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... you will not need to be reminded of the significance of the date at the head of the narrative in Nigel Williams’s Star Turn: 13 February 1945. The narrator of Williams’s third novel is an ex-journalist, now a Ministry of Information man and amateur cynic (he does not believe the early reports of the death-camps). His job is to sell the bombing of ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde, 5 February 1998

The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... buggers for a sequinned frock. The most brazen hijack of Wilde’s life is performed by Frank Harris’s biography, a generous, boastful book whose shameless exaggerations have the uncanny ring of authenticity. (True to the disingenuous spirit of the memoir, Robinson’s welcome reprint has ‘Now a major film starring Stephen Fry’ splashed across its ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine, 3 December 1981

The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... or merely a proofreader’s oversight? The second is Anthony Blunt’s account of Tomas Harris, whom he describes as ‘artist, art dealer and intelligence officer’. What wistful, envious or remorseful sense of irony prompted Blunt to remark that Harris perpetrated ‘the most successful doublecross operation of ...

At the Movies

Christopher Tayler: ‘Four Lions’, 27 May 2010

Four Lions 
directed by Chris Morris.
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... Eye was celebrated for hoaxing politicians and celebrities: several hapless Tories, plus Rolf Harris and Noel Edmonds, filmed impassioned warnings against a fictitious drug called ‘cake’ which affected, Edmonds said, ‘the part of the brain called Shatner’s Bassoon’. But the show also hit serious points about hypocrisy, prurience and selective ...

Schadenfreude

R.W. Johnson, 2 December 1993

The Downing Street Years 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 914 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 255049 0
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... to herself as ‘head of state’ and talking of ‘I, as a government’. Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson may have fulminated against her, in the course of reviewing this book, but they helped launch the good ship Thatcher and sailed in her fatly for many a year, long sustaining and defending her against those who objected from the outset to government ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... here and Michael Williams, Dame Wendy, Lindsay A., Ron Pickup and Anna Massey, Keith Baxter, Percy Harris, who’s 90 herself, and Ralph Richardson’s widow, Mu. I am happily seated between Jocelyn Herbert and Merula Guinness, with both of whom one can be happily silly. ‘You see,’ says Jocelyn. ‘I look down this table at all these distinguished people ...

Sonic Foam

Ian Penman: On Kate Bush, 17 April 2014

... risk by consulting their visitor’s book, then – well, let’s take a look: Lenny Henry, Rolf Harris, Dave Gilmour, Nigel Kennedy, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Lol Creme, Gary Brooker, Andy Fairweather Low … I can’t be the only Kate fan who puts their fingers in their ears when Rolf ...

In Farageland

James Meek, 9 October 2014

... Thanet,​ where Nigel Farage will try to win a Westminster seat at the next election, lies nicely along the axis of his commute between his home in South London and his office at the European Parliament in Brussels. If Kent, cartographically speaking, is England’s right foot, the Isle of Thanet is its big toe, pointing east into the sea towards Belgium ...

Wedded to the Absolute

Ferdinand Mount: Enoch Powell, 26 September 2019

Enoch Powell: Politics and Ideas in Modern Britain 
by Paul Corthorn.
Oxford, 233 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 0 19 874714 7
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... of the Brexit movement. Puffing a book entitled Enoch Was Right by one of his Ukip lieutenants, Nigel Farage trumpeted, ‘Enoch never goes away.’ Biographies​ of Powell, many written by ardent fans, now run into double figures, the longest and most enjoyable, by Simon Heffer, standing at nearly a thousand pages. This latest study, by the Belfast ...

They would have laughed

Ferdinand Mount: The Massacre at Amritsar, 4 April 2019

Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre 
by Kim A. Wagner.
Yale, 325 pp., £20, February 2019, 978 0 300 20035 5
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... Again and again, Dyer convicts himself out of his own mouth. As his friend Major General Nigel Woodyatt later told him, ‘he was bound to get the worst of it; not so much for what he had done, but for what he had said.’ As Nigel Collett declares in The Butcher of Amritsar (2005), his magisterial Life of ...

Fear and Loathing in Limehouse

Richard Holme, 3 September 1987

Campaign! The Selling of the Prime Minister 
by Rodney Tyler.
Grafton, 251 pp., £6.95, July 1987, 0 246 13277 9
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Battle for Power 
by Des Wilson.
Sphere, 326 pp., £4.99, July 1987, 0 7221 9074 3
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David Owen: Personally Speaking 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 297 79206 7
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... a kaleidoscope with an attractive new pattern and with himself at the centre of it. In Kenneth Harris’s book of extended interviews with him, which must have been largely completed before the election and hastily updated since, Dr Owen lays emphasis on what he sees as two early betrayals of the SDP: the conversations which David Steel and I had with Bill ...

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