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Renewing the Struggle

Penelope Fitzgerald: Edward White Benson, 18 June 1998

Father of the Bensons: The Life of Edward White Benson, Sometime Archbiship of Canterbury 
by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd.
Lennard, 226 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 1 85291 138 7
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... It’s more of a difficulty than a help that so much has been written about the Bensons (Palmer and Lloyd have already done a biography of Fred Benson) and that the family should have written so much about themselves. The Archbishop kept diaries, and his wife Minnie wrote two – one a dutiful sightseer’s journal, kept at her husband’s suggestion on her honeymoon, another one 20 years later which told some, at least, of the story of her heart ...


Noël Annan: On Ralph Dahrendorf, 27 September 1990

... democracy as a system is as dead as Communism. Just as Liberalism, victorious under Asquith and Lloyd George, created the social groups and forces that were to destroy it, so social democracy was undone by its victory in the Sixties and Seventies. As the solid blue-collar working class fragmented and an employee class emerged, the old class conflict turned ...

Dummy and Biffy

Noël Annan, 17 October 1985

Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community 
by Christopher Andrew.
Heinemann, 616 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 02110 5
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The Secret Generation 
by John Gardner.
Heinemann, 453 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 434 28250 2
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Two Thyrds 
by Bertie Denham.
Ross Anderson Publications, 292 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 86360 006 9
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The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany 1933-1939 
by Wesley Wark.
Tauris, 304 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 1 85043 014 4
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... desire to trade with Russia came up against the Soviet determination to infiltrate their agents. Lloyd George behaved with admirable sangfroid – so it is no surprise that that archintriguer and hater of politicians, Henry Wilson, should enquire in his diary: ‘Is Lloyd George a traitor?’ In the end, ...

Wright and Wrong

Peter Campbell, 10 November 1988

Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright 
by Brendan Gill.
Heinemann, 544 pp., £20, August 1988, 0 434 29273 7
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... Those who have tried to make sense of Frank Lloyd Wright’s own account of his life will be grateful to Brendan Gill. He relieves us of doubts about our intelligence. As you read the Autobiography much does not quite fit. The feeling grows on you, as it must on the victims of confidence tricksters, that you cannot follow the story because you are stupid ...


Benjamin Markovits: Mark Costello, 5 August 2004

Big If 
by Mark Costello.
Atlantic, 315 pp., £10.99, February 2004, 9781843542179
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... Service: The great mind of that time, the Einstein of this Princeton, was Senior Plans Analyst Lloyd L. Felker . . . author of 57 seminal white papers known collectively at Beltsville as the Certainties, the basic text on every operational topic: signal integrity, the encrypted comm, bafflers and jamming, set-prepping and site-checking, optimal ...


Tobias Jones: Campaigning at the Ministry of Sound, 6 March 1997

... young people since the Sixties’. ‘Tony Blair’s speech brought tears to my eyes,’ whimpered Noel Gallagher, from the rock-hard Oasis, after Blair’s Conference speech last year. Damon Albarn, moody art-house singer with rivals Blur, chips in: ‘I want Labour to get in. I’d like to think that Britain in the 21st century will care about better health ...

Henson’s Choice

C.H. Sisson, 1 September 1983

Hensley Henson: A Study in the Friction between Church and State 
by Owen Chadwick.
Oxford, 337 pp., £18.50, May 1983, 0 19 826445 3
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... off by what looked like Henson’s folly and vanity in including in the third volume a letter from Lloyd George telling him that ‘nothing in his’ – Lloyd George’s – ‘life gave him more satisfaction than his making Hensoa into a bishop.’ The scruple shows something of the quality of the biographer. ‘Did Henson ...

Mauve Monkeys

William Fiennes, 18 September 1997

Wilde’s Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy and the First World War 
by Philip Hoare.
Duckworth, 250 pp., £16.95, July 1997, 0 7156 2737 6
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... on the Somme. It was time for a Malvolio to interrupt the revels. The role was taken on by Noel Pemberton Billing, playwright, inventor, protofascist and musical-comedy star, a man of prodigious energies who turned his hand to everything except tolerance. By the age of 21 Billing had left his first job in the City after throwing ink at ‘a peculiarly ...

The other side have got one

Ian Gilmour: Lady Thatcher’s Latest, 6 June 2002

Ideologies of Conservatism: Conservative Political Ideas in the 20th Century 
by E.H.H. Green.
Oxford, 309 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 19 820593 7
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Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 486 pp., £25, April 2002, 0 00 710752 8
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... All the same, the Conservative Party did not split. In another excellent essay, on the fall of the Lloyd George Coalition, Green lists the main policy reasons why Conservatives turned against the Coalition. These were the Government’s policies on Ireland, India, the Empire and agriculture; there was also considerable hostility to ...

Late Deceiver

Robert Blake, 17 September 1981

Anthony Eden 
by David Carlton.
Allen Lane, 528 pp., £20, August 1981, 0 7139 0829 7
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... Anthony Eden as a lightweight either because of his mannerisms – the ‘My Dear’ which echoed Noel Coward and annoyed Dean Acheson – or because of the striking good looks which prompted jealous Italian journalists to dub him ‘Lord Eyelashes’. But everyone to some extent reflects the social usages of his time and place, and if it is true that most ...

Hinsley’s History

Noël Annan, 1 August 1985

Diplomacy and Intelligence during the Second World War: Essays in Honour of F.H. Hinsley 
edited by Richard Langhorne.
Cambridge, 329 pp., £27.50, May 1985, 0 521 26840 0
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British Intelligence and the Second World War. Vol. I: 1939-Summer 1941, Vol. II: Mid-1941-Mid-1943, Vol. III, Part I: June 1943-June 1944 
by F.H. Hinsley, E.E. Thomas, C.F.G. Ransom and R.C. Knight.
HMSO, 616 pp., £12.95, September 1979, 0 11 630933 4
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... before Dunkirk. In addition, Dick Stokes and some thirty MPs wanted to seek terms and looked to Lloyd George. The old schemer was delighted to cast himself in the role of peacemaker. ‘I shall wait until Winston is bust,’ he said, and refused to join the Churchill Cabinet. Churchill himself said he would consider restoring Germany’s colonies, but he ...

What do we mean by it?

J.G.A. Pocock, 7 January 1993

The Cambridge History of Political Thought: 1450-1700 
edited by J.H. Burns and Mark Goldie.
Cambridge, 798 pp., £60, August 1991, 0 521 24716 0
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... critics’ (Julian Franklin). It is less clear what chapters on ‘constitutionalism’ (Howell Lloyd) and ‘utopianism’ (J.C. Davis), competently constructed though they are, are doing in this company; the latter does review a new and singular dialect of political thought, but one suspects that there was no international community debating for and ...

Who ruins Britain?

Peter Clarke, 22 November 1990

Friends in High Places: Who runs Britain? 
by Jeremy Paxman.
Joseph, 370 pp., £16.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3154 1
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The Sunday Times Book of the Rich 
by Philip Beresford.
Weidenfeld, 336 pp., £18.95, October 1990, 0 297 81115 0
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... younger aristocratic relations. Not until 1988 was the contrapuntal term of art introduced by John Lloyd. ‘Britain is no longer run by an Establishment,’ he wrote in the Financial Times. ‘In its place is a Disestablishment comprising men and women whose values, assumptions and habits are those of outsiders.’ It is useful to have this glossary set out ...

The British Disease

Peter Jenkins, 21 August 1980

Governments and Trade Unions: The British Experience 1964-79 
by Denis Barnes and Eileen Reid.
Heinemann, 240 pp., £12.50, May 1980, 0 435 83045 7
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... left-wing trade-union leadership of which Frank Cousins was the champion. 1961 brought the Selwyn Lloyd ‘pay pause’ (and in its wake the return to planning, or ‘Macmillan Socialism’), and the ‘trade-union problem’ in its modern form can usefully be dated from then. Sir Denis puts his finger on the paradoxical dilemma which faced the ...

Victorian Vocations

Frank Kermode, 6 December 1984

Frederic Harrison: The Vocations of a Positivist 
by Martha Vogeler.
Oxford, 493 pp., £27.50, September 1984, 0 19 824733 8
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Leslie Stephen: The Godless Victorian 
by Noël Annan.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £16.50, September 1984, 0 297 78369 6
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... at the time, figure prominently in these biographies. Of Cambridge in particular we have in Noel Annan’s an account that is not only detailed but exceptionally animated. And I suppose we need help to imagine a Cambridge with little time for science and a suspicious attitude even to the newly-established Moral Science Tripos; a celibate institution ...

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