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Lawson’s Case

Peter Clarke

28 January 1993
The View from No 11: Memoirs of a Tory Radical 
by Nigel Lawson.
Bantam, 1119 pp., £20, November 1992, 0 593 02218 1
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... In a publishing season of big books, this must be the biggest. NigelLawson learned his trade as one of the ‘teenage scribblers’, whom he later disparaged, on the Financial Times. ‘The length that comes most naturally to me is, not surprisingly, that of a rather long ...
7 January 1993
Reflections on Monetarism 
by Tim Congdon.
Edward Elgar, 320 pp., £35, November 1992, 1 85278 441 5
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... well-known commentators’. Congdon’s provocative thesis is that ‘monetarism’, as adopted by British governments between 1976 and 1985, was a decisive success, but that the gains were lost when NigelLawson let things rip, causing a boom that had to go bust. The book falls into two parts. The first consists of articles which appeared in newspapers and journals between 1975 and 1989, focus and ...

Black Monday

Graham Ingham

26 November 1987
... to ‘why did it happen?’ is that no one really knows. At the simplest level, the crash occurred because more investors suddenly wanted to sell than to buy shares. Prices began to fall, and what NigelLawson has called the ‘herd’ instinct of the market ensured that the fall, once started, became self-reinforcing. However, this mechanistic explanation throws no light on why there should have ...
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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... He apparently started out in favour of joining, but later (surprise, surprise) found himself in agreement with Herself on the matter. As this was during his stint at the Treasury under Chancellor Lawson, who was determined to get Britain in by hook or by crook, he apparently decided he’d better not disagree openly with his immediate superior, though he did tell him his views privately. Then, when ...
19 November 1992
... of mismanagement. This is what makes the sheer brass neck of the Thatcherites during recent weeks so intolerable and rules out any rationale for co-operation between them and the opposition. Now that NigelLawson has spilled some two-thirds of a million words in offering his own account of that era, we can share ‘the view from No 11’ with him. Lawson admits that he may have been ‘slow to ...


Michael Stewart: Staggeringly Complacent

6 June 1985
... such a regressive tax, so we need waste no time discussing it. Lo and behold, some kind of poll tax is now the leading candidate to replace the rates. And then there is the strange case of NigelLawson. A week or two ago he gave evidence to a House of Lords Select Committee. It was suggested to Mr Lawson that some of the great captains of industry – the Lord Weinstock, the Lord Aldington, the ...
20 March 1997
Why Vote Conservative? 
by David Willetts.
Penguin, 108 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026304 7
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Why Vote Liberal Democrat? 
by William Wallace.
Penguin, 120 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026303 9
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Why Vote Labour? 
by Tony Wright.
Penguin, 111 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026397 7
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... to stand for rules as against discretion – in commitment to nominal monetary targets, for example, rather than the pragmatic pursuit of growth, employment and other real economic ends. This is what NigelLawson meant when, in Seventies-speak, he proclaimed: ‘Rules rule, OK?’ Admittedly, when he rose to his dizzy pinnacle of power at No 11 Downing Street, he found that his famous neighbour had her ...

The Rise and Fall of Thatcherism

Peter Clarke: Eight years after

10 December 1998
... the 20th century’s longest premiership; that of Geoffrey Howe, her lieutenant as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1979-83, during the period of the so-called ‘Thatcher experiment’; and that of NigelLawson, who succeeded him at the Treasury from 1983-89, during the period of the so-called ‘economic miracle’. The whimper – apologia is a less pejorative term – followed as a natural result ...

Nigels against the World

Ferdinand Mount: The EU Referendum

18 May 2016
... a vote for Exit on 23 June? That’s far from clear, not least because of the bad blood between the rival Leave organisations. is financed by the insurance tycoon Arron Banks and blessed by Nigel Farage and Ukip. Vote Leave is led by Michael Gove, Gisela Stuart and Boris Johnson, with the support of other longstanding Eurosceptic ministers and former ministers, such as Iain Duncan Smith ...
20 April 1989
One of Us: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 570 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 333 34439 1
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... in this government’ – must have been symptomatic of what many Old Guard Tories felt. There was a record Jewish presence not only in Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinet – including, at its peak, Joseph, Lawson, Young, Rifkind and Brittan – but among those on whom Mrs Thatcher leant for private advice: Joseph, Lawson, Alfred Sherman and the Saatchi brothers. Able young Jewish MPs (and there are now quite ...
30 May 2014
... cuts) and Labour should nerve itself to contemplate higher and more redistributive taxation. As late as 1988, after all, the top marginal rate was 60 per cent; it was reduced to 40 per cent by NigelLawson in what was probably the most reckless budget of the modern era. The capacity of local government to meet its traditional duties should be restored. One of the things felt most acutely by Ukip voters ...
7 November 2019
... Community remained, as it did from the beginning to the end of her tenure of Downing Street. Another important reason for her dislike was the leaders of the larger European nations being her equals. NigelLawson observed that she was ‘mesmerised by power’ and therefore much preferred the rulers of the United States and the Soviet Union to those of our European partners. Mrs Thatcher, President ...

Pound Foolish

Kit McMahon

9 May 1996
Politics and the Pound: The Conservatives’ Struggle with Sterling 
by Philip Stephens.
Macmillan, 364 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 333 63296 6
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... inherit an ERM membership which they had supported when in opposition. Stephens’s judicious narrative of the turbulent economic events of the period provides a necessary sceptical gloss on the one NigelLawson gives in the thousand pages of his View from No 11. It draws on the testimony of many senior officials and other participants, who persuasively dispute Lawson’s view at many points and have ...

Staying in power

Geoffrey Hawthorn

7 January 1988
Mrs Thatcher’s Revolution: The Ending of the Socialist Era 
by Peter Jenkins.
Cape, 411 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 224 02516 3
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De-Industrialisation and Foreign Trade 
by R.E. Rowthorn and J.R. Wells.
Cambridge, 422 pp., £40, November 1988, 0 521 26360 3
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... is going reasonably well.’ Some of his colleagues are already saying it. Looking almost smooth – the Prime Minister, Peter Jenkins reports, has had occasion to tell him to ‘get a haircut’ – NigelLawson reassured his audience at the Mansion House in the autumn that revenues were high and the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement could soon be reduced to about a billion a year. Ten billion, he ...

Conspire Slowly, Act Quickly

David Runciman: Thatcher Undone

22 December 2019
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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... who had been invited to a private party the year before to celebrate her tenth anniversary in Downing Street. She had over-promoted him to be foreign secretary and then, following the resignation of NigelLawson, quickly moved him to be chancellor, where he was more at home. Her hatred of Heseltine, who was the very last person she wanted to succeed her, had three primary causes. She was still hurt by ...

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