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Her Boy

R.W. Johnson: Mark Thatcher, 16 November 2006

Thatcher’s Fortunes: The Life and Times of Mark Thatcher 
by Mark Hollingsworth and Paul Halloran.
Mainstream, 415 pp., £7.99, July 2006, 1 84596 118 8
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The Wonga Coup: The British Mercenary Plot to Seize Oil Billions in Africa 
by Adam Roberts.
Profile, 304 pp., £9.99, June 2006, 1 86197 934 7
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... on mercenary bodyguards, even for intelligence; and Obiang was very dependent on one Johann Smith, a South African special forces veteran, who repeatedly warned him of possible plots to impose Moto. Smith had teamed up with Nigel Morgan, an Irish-Brit who had trained to be a Jesuit ...
The ‘Private Eye’ Story: The First 21 Years 
by Patrick Marnham.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 233 97509 8
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One for the Road: Further Letters of Denis Thatcher 
by Richard Ingrams and John Wells.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1982, 9780233975115
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Sir James Goldsmith: The Man and the Myth 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fontana, 222 pp., £1.95, April 1982, 0 00 636503 5
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... key influence Paul Foot, now its politics are rightish, its stance prurient, and its key figures Nigel Dempster, Peter McKay and Auberon Waugh. The radical lampoon has become required reading on the magazine syllabus of every Sloane Ranger. Moreover, the Eye, that fearless exposer of the faintest mafia, now runs a comfortable little establishment of 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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... one of the reasons why they had failed. But, thanks to the willingness of the publisher, George Smith, to lose £70,000 on an outlay of £100,000, the DNB, ‘in accord with the self-reliant temperament of the British race’, was ‘the outcome of private enterprise and the handiwork of private citizens’. Thus conceived and completed, embodying ‘the ...
Goldenballs 
by Richard Ingrams.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 144 pp., £4.25
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... Fund had an impressive range of supporters, including ‘All the staff at W.H. Smith, Kingsway (except the manager)’. Lord Goodman effectively blocked Goldsmith’s chances of buying the Observer in the autumn of 1976, but the Eye case had already generated considerable resistance among the journalistic staff. It was then that ...

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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... cuts for high earners introduced in the 1988 Budget, which thus stands as an abiding monument to Nigel Lawson’s sincerity; and only a true believer would defend them now by appealing, as Minford does, to ‘remarkable evidence’ of their ability to stimulate the supply side. ‘For all the undoubted leftish bias among British academics,’ he writes ...

Nerds, Rabbits and a General Lack of Testosterone

R.W. Johnson: Major and Lamont, 9 December 1999

The Autobiography 
by John Major.
HarperCollins, 774 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 00 257004 1
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In Office 
by Norman Lamont.
Little, Brown, 567 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 316 64707 1
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... fine thing (our entry was acclaimed by the whole of the press as well as by Neil Kinnock and John Smith): a view which held until, roughly, September 1992, when the conviction grew on all sides that it had been a colossal mistake. Few will argue with John Major’s asssumption that the 1997 election was lost on Black Wednesday. But when the conventional ...

Now to Stride into the Sunlight

Ian Jack: The Brexiters, 15 June 2017

What Next: How to Get the Best from Brexit 
by Daniel Hannan.
Head of Zeus, 298 pp., £9.99, November 2016, 978 1 78669 193 4
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The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign 
by Arron Banks.
Biteback, 354 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 78590 205 5
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All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 688 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 00 821517 0
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... Next: How to Get the Best from Brexit. Striding into the sunlight, we encounter Adam Smith and David Ricardo and the slightly more contemporary figure of Theresa May, whose ambition to make Britain ‘the global leader in free trade’ Hannan quotes approvingly. Free trade is the great elixir. ‘Free trade doesn’t simply put more money into ...

Superman Falls to Earth

Ferdinand Mount: Boris Johnson’s First Year, 2 July 2020

... the Painted Hall at Greenwich. It was a hymn to the glories of free trade and the spirit of Adam Smith, almost as baroque as James Thornhill’s enormous ceiling with its allegories of Time Exposing Truth and other desirable outcomes. A fine piece of Boris bravura, if you overlooked the fact that, during the heyday he was hymning, Britain, like many rapidly ...

Strange, Angry Objects

Owen Hatherley: The Brutalist Decades, 17 November 2016

A3: Threads and Connections 
by Peter Ahrends.
Right Angle, 128 pp., £18, December 2015, 978 0 9532848 9 4
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Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism 
by Barnabas Calder.
Heinemann, 416 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 0 434 02244 1
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Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75 
by Elain Harwood.
Yale, 512 pp., £60, September 2015, 978 0 300 20446 9
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Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings around the World 
by Christopher Beanland.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £18, February 2016, 978 0 7112 3764 3
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This Brutal World 
by Peter Chadwick.
Phaidon, 224 pp., £29.95, April 2016, 978 0 7148 7108 0
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Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture 
by Nicolas Grospierre.
Prestel, 224 pp., £29.99, February 2016, 978 3 7913 8229 6
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Modernist Estates: The Buildings and the People Who Live in Them 
by Stefi Orazi.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 7112 3675 2
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Architecture an Inspiration 
by Ivor Smith.
Troubador, 224 pp., £24.95, November 2014, 978 1 78462 069 1
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... the New Brutalists were interested in community life in the East End of London (more through Nigel Henderson’s photographs than Willmott and Young’s sociology), in the messy, chaotic work of Eduardo Paolozzi and Art Brut (‘Fuck Henry Moore’ was one slogan), in vernacular architecture, in industrial buildings, and in Hollywood films and ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... The same ‘cash for questions’ controversy also later accounted for two senior ministers, Tim Smith and Neil Hamilton, who had to leave their posts at the Northern Ireland Office and the Department of Trade respectively. The paradox behind this extraordinary succession of resignations is that none of them has been for what traditional constitutional law ...

Look on the Bright Side

Seamus Perry: Anna Letitia Barbauld, 25 February 2010

Anna Letitia Barbauld: Voice of the Enlightenment 
by William McCarthy.
Johns Hopkins, 725 pp., £32, December 2008, 978 0 8018 9016 1
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... veer towards Fotherington-Thomas – ‘he sa Hullo clouds hullo sky he is a girlie,’ as Nigel Molesworth reported in Down with Skool. But in parts they retain a curious charm (‘We cannot see God, for He is invisible; but we can see His works, and worship His footsteps in the green sod’) and their impact was certainly great: De Quincey was not ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... up residence in my garden in 1974, living there in a van until her death 15 years later. Maggie Smith played Miss Shepherd on the stage in 1999 and all being well will star in the film with Nicholas Hytner directing. To date I’ve written two drafts of the script and am halfway through a third.The house where the story happened, 23 Gloucester Crescent in ...

Something Rather Scandalous

Jean McNicol: The Loves of Rupert Brooke, 20 October 2016

Rupert Brooke: Life, Death and Myth 
by Nigel Jones.
Head of Zeus, 588 pp., £12, April 2015, 978 1 78185 703 8
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Fatal Glamour: The Life of Rupert Brooke 
by Paul Delany.
McGill-Queen’s, 380 pp., £28.99, March 2015, 978 0 7735 4557 1
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The Second I Saw You: The True Love Story of Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner 
by Lorna C. Beckett.
British Library, 216 pp., £16.99, April 2015, 978 0 7123 5792 0
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... sanitised. Christopher Hassall was asked to write the authorised biography in part because, as Nigel Jones notes in his own biography of Brooke, Hassall’s lengthy Life of Eddie Marsh had managed ‘to avoid the topic of his subject’s homosexuality’ and he could therefore be relied on to be discreet. (It’s unfair to say that Hassall doesn’t tell ...

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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... Street. She had over-promoted him to be foreign secretary and then, following the resignation of Nigel Lawson, 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 his open treachery during the Westland affair in ...

God’s Own

Angus Calder, 12 March 1992

Empire and English Character 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Tauris, 338 pp., £24.95, August 1990, 1 85043 191 4
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Into Africa: The story of the East African Safari 
by Kenneth Cameron.
Constable, 229 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 09 469770 1
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Burton: Snow upon the Desert 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 428 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 0 7195 4818 7
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From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69 
by Frank McLynn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 258 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 7126 3789 3
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The Duke of Puddle Dock: Travels in the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles 
by Nigel Barley.
Viking, 276 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 670 83642 7
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... effused one settler, ‘has ever left me with the impression of being a “whiter” man.’ Ian Smith’s Selous Scouts sustained his legend. Tidrick, however, can show that this model Rugbcian lied in order to promote the cause of white settlement and empire. In 1889 he stated, with bald falsehood, in the London press, that the high plateau of Mashonaland ...

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