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Jailbreak from the Old Order

David Edgar: England’s Brexit, 25 April 2018

The Lure of Greatness: England’s Brexit and America’s Trump 
by Anthony Barnett.
Unbound, 393 pp., £8.99, August 2017, 978 1 78352 453 2
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... This revolt against the era and ethos of the CBCs (Bill Clinton, Blair, Bush Jr, Brown, Cameron and Hillary Clinton) offered the giddy prospect of ‘a jailbreak from the old order’, filling its supporters with ‘energy and glee’. Barnett respects ‘the audacity of those I know who voted to Leave. They are not racists, they are ...

Misappropriation

Colin Kidd: Burke, 4 February 2016

Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke 
by Richard Bourke.
Princeton, 1001 pp., £30.95, September 2015, 978 0 691 14511 2
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Training Minds for the War of Ideas: Ashridge College, the Conservative Party and the Cultural Politics of Britain, 1929-54 
by Clarisse Berthezène.
Manchester, 214 pp., £75, June 2015, 978 0 7190 8649 6
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The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Vol. IV: Party, Parliament and the Dividing of the Whigs, 1780-94 
edited by P.J. Marshall and Donald Bryant.
Oxford, 674 pp., £120, October 2015, 978 0 19 966519 8
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... foundational is required, and at such moments politicians have recourse to party tradition. In the Cameron era, the Conservatives have happily aligned the Big Society concept of charities and volunteers with the ‘little platoons’ championed by their acknowledged forebear, the political philosopher Edmund Burke. One of the few intellectual stars on the ...

Your mission is to get the gun

Theo Tait: Raoul Moat, 30 March 2016

You Could Do Something Amazing with Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat] 
by Andrew Hankinson.
Scribe, 204 pp., £12.99, February 2016, 978 1 922247 91 9
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... with time.’ Since In Cold Blood, murderers have been a staple of the non-fiction novel, from Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song to Gordon Burn’s horribly fascinating books about Peter Sutcliffe and Fred and Rosemary West. Andrew Hankinson’s new book dramatises the last days of Raoul Moat, the Newcastle bouncer and bodybuilder who in July 2010 ...

Mailer’s Psychopath

Christopher Ricks, 6 March 1980

The Executioner’s Song 
by Norman Mailer.
Hutchinson, 1056 pp., £8.85, November 1979, 0 09 139540 2
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... my hair. You need it worse than I do.’ Thy need, or necessity or whatever, is greater than mine. Norman Mailer’s book about Gilmore is a work of genius in its range, depth and restraint. It has speed, which Gilmore had, and patience, which he had not. It has lucidity, even when dealing with legal entanglements. It has forbearance, even when witnessing ...

Nigels against the World

Ferdinand Mount: The EU Referendum, 18 May 2016

... see if we can reach a different agreement and perhaps you could have a second agreement.’ David Cameron ridiculed this scenario: a refusal to accept the democratic implications of a vote to leave would cause an explosion of justified outrage. He would be honour-bound to activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty the next day and set in motion the procedure ...

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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... None other than the most drippingly ‘wet’ of the dissidents in Thatcher’s first cabinet, Norman St John-Stevas. And which Tory journalist then 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 ...

The Great Business

Nicholas Penny, 21 March 1985

Art of the 19th Century: Painting and Sculpture 
by Robert Rosenblum and H.W. Janson.
Thames and Hudson, 527 pp., £25, March 1984, 0 500 23385 3
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Romanticism and Realism: The Mythology of 19th-Century Art 
by Charles Rosen and Henri Zerner.
Faber, 244 pp., £15, October 1984, 0 571 13332 0
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Géricault: His Life and Work 
by Lorenz Eitner.
Orbis, 376 pp., £40, March 1983, 0 85613 384 1
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Tradition and Desire: From David to Delacroix 
by Norman Bryson.
Cambridge, 277 pp., £27.50, August 1984, 0 521 24193 6
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... which we discover in ourselves when we ask why we find it hard not to smile at Julia Margaret Cameron’s photographic illustrations to the Idylls of the King. Historians of photography inform us that photographers, having vainly endeavoured to imitate paintings in order to be artistic, came eventually to see their folly. But ...

World’s End

John Ryle, 13 October 1988

The Missionaries 
by Norman Lewis.
Secker, 245 pp., £10.95, May 1988, 0 436 24595 7
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... its style more personal and episodic and its condemnation of the missionaries more unequivocal. Norman Lewis is a writer of unusual anthropological sensibility with an honourable record in the field: government policy in Brazil was changed as a result of the international protests which followed his campaigning article in the Sunday Times on the massacres ...

Every Latest Spasm

Christopher Hitchens, 23 June 1994

A Rebel in Defence of Tradition: The Life and ‘Politics’ of Dwight Macdonald 
by Michael Wreszin.
Basic Books, 590 pp., £17.99, April 1994, 0 465 01739 8
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... in spite of its invocation of the conservative revolutionary. While a genuine radical like James Cameron could famously say of himself that he was ‘conservative about everything except politics’, and while it’s true that the Anglo-American political culture holds a special niche permanently vacant for those bookish old ranters (Michael Foot, ...

Stick in a Pie for Tomorrow

Jenny Turner: Thrift, 14 May 2009

Make Do and Mend: Keeping Family and Home Afloat on War Rations 
Michael O’Mara, 160 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 1 84317 265 9Show More
The Thrifty Cookbook: 476 Ways to Eat Well with Leftovers 
by Kate Colquhoun.
Bloomsbury, 256 pp., £14.99, April 2009, 978 0 7475 9704 9
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The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less 
by India Knight.
Fig Tree, 272 pp., £14.99, November 2008, 978 1 905490 37 0
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Jamie’s Ministry of Food: Anyone Can Learn to Cook in 24 Hours 
by Jamie Oliver.
Michael Joseph, 359 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 7181 4862 1
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Eating for Victory: Healthy Home Front Cooking on War Rations 
Michael O’Mara, 160 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 1 84317 264 2Show More
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... bottle (‘cleans, no added promises’) on a fire. Words rear up and loom enormous – David Cameron, for example, may find this with his plan for ‘thrifty government’ – and fizz and collapse and make a nasty smell. It is, I take it, obvious that one of the many things no one particularly needs at the moment is a book that tells you how to save ...

What makes Rupert run?

Ross McKibbin: Murdoch’s Politics, 20 June 2013

Murdoch’s Politics: How One Man’s Thirst for Wealth & Power Shapes Our World 
by David McKnight.
Pluto, 260 pp., £12.99, February 2013, 978 0 7453 3346 5
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... institutions and individuals in the United States. There are the usual suspects: William Kristol, Norman and John Podhoretz and the circle around them, Pat Robertson and Rick Santorum, whom Murdoch supported for the presidency. He employed and was friendly with Roy Cohn, Senator McCarthy’s unpleasant little helper. When anti-Communism ran out of ...

Be careful what you wish for

Stephen Sedley: Human Rights Acts, 30 August 2018

The Conservative Human Rights Revolution: European Identity, Transnational Politics and the Origins of the European Convention 
by Marco Duranti.
Oxford, 502 pp., £59, February 2017, 978 0 19 981138 0
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... have faced repeated assaults from the same political quarter as conceived and promoted them. David Cameron announced that he felt ‘physically sick’ at the Strasbourg court’s ruling that the UK’s blanket ban on prisoners voting was a disproportionate interference with a fundamental right, evidently forgetting that people serving up to 12 months in jail ...

Snobs v. Herbivores

Colin Kidd: Non-Vanilla One-Nation Conservatism, 7 May 2020

Remaking One Nation: The Future of Conservatism 
by Nick Timothy.
Polity, 275 pp., £20, March, 978 1 5095 3917 8
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... when Hill and Timothy became scapegoats for the loss of the slim majority May inherited from David Cameron. But the real surprise wasn’t the downfall of May’s advisers so much as their earlier rise to brief but utter dominance in a party whose upper reaches have in recent times seemed to belong almost exclusively to Old Etonians. Hill was born in ...

Don’t Look Down

Nicholas Spice: Dull Britannia, 8 April 2010

Family Britain 1951-57 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 776 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 0 7475 8385 1
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... tale. Anti-semitism was not uncommon in postwar Britain, whether among the establishment (Montagu Norman, for example, the governor of the Bank of England, was notoriously anti-semitic) or on the street – in 1947 there were anti-semitic riots in several British cities. In 1948, there were race riots of a different kind in Liverpool, when white mobs attacked ...

The Raging Peloton

Iain Sinclair: Boris Bikes, 20 January 2011

... Third Policeman. How far Father Tebbit actually travelled in his quest for employment is unclear. Norman was born in Ponders End and elected to Parliament as the member for Chingford, a distance of about three miles. Ponders End is more of a transport collision than a settlement and nobody needs much political arm-twisting to move on. Probably the best ...

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