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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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... possible immigration controls. Anyone interested in the basic case for and against immigration controls will have to travel far outside the normal political boundaries. They could start with NigelHarris’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 ...
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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... of synthesising the latest news into crystalline agitational prose. Eamonn McCann, a street-fighter from Derry with amazing literary gifts and an insight into what was coming in the Six Counties. NigelHarris, 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 ...

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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... her.’ How weirdly different, and in one sense how similar, was the experience of two debs (bridesmaids-to-be 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 ...

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 ...
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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... are much in the air at present, and it is a safe bet that, by the time this review appears, 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 ...

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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... 19th-century belief that sodomites were phenotypically male and psychologically female, and therefore 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 ...

At the Movies

Christopher Tayler: ‘Four Lions’

27 May 2010
Four Lions 
directed by Chris Morris.
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... broadcasting conventions and their cheerful disdain for moral panics and media self-aggrandisement. Brass 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 ...

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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... knowledge’. Yet, uniquely among all the entries, this contribution is unsigned. Is this sinister machination, 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 ...

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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... we know: Thatcher herself gave it away with such tell-tale slips as using the royal ‘we’, referring 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 ...

Sonic Foam

Ian Penman: On Kate Bush

16 April 2014
... gone-by light entertainment telly, or 1970s rock. If you can gauge someone’s taste for artistic 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 Harris and ...

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, 978 0 300 20035 5
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... of inquiry led by Lord Hunter, who had been solicitor general for Scotland in the Asquith government. 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 ...

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, 978 0 19 874714 7
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... because they were now running underground. During his wilderness years Powell became the Baptist 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 ...

In Farageland

James Meek

8 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 ...

The Darth Vader Option

Colin Kidd: The Tories

24 January 2013
The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change 
by Tim Bale.
Oxford, 372 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 923437 0
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The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 471 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 7456 4858 3
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Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010 
by Richard Hayton.
Manchester, 166 pp., £60, September 2012, 978 0 7190 8316 7
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... working at the Conservative Research Department issued a warning in the aftermath of the 1964 defeat that the party was seen to represent ‘what might be termed the capital gains classes’? Why, Nigel Lawson, who twenty years later seemed pretty much at ease with loadsamoney, capital gains conservatism when at the helm of the exchequer. Lawson, it transpires, was something of a slow developer as a ...
19 July 1984
... Rowland’s personal choice as a correspondent in Zimbabwe with a roving commission on the continent – an appointment cutting across the role of Richard Hall, the paper’s Africa Correspondent. Nigel Hawkes, then Foreign News Editor, resigned that post in protest. The independent directors did not feel themselves called upon to adjudicate in that dispute since it was the editor’s own decision ...

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