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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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... with such ferocity today that she reviles Major but sent her husband along to attend the launch of Lamont’s book – Lamont and Major have not been on speaking terms for six years now – to show where her favours lay. Norman Lamont, who served continuously at the Treasury from 1986 ...


Paul Foot: The Impotence of Alan Clark, 5 August 1993

... In office, but not in power’. It seemed unlikely that anything ever said by Norman Lamont would make history, but this phrase from his resignation speech struck a chord. A common charge against Labour governments throughout the century has been that they have been at the mercy of other people’s power; that the combined influence of hostile bankers, businessmen, judges and media moguls ‘blew them off course’, as Harold Wilson put it ...


Conor Gearty: Various Forms of Sleaze, 24 November 1994

... after disclosures that he had sent gifts and messages of support to the businessman Asil Nadir. Norman Lamont caused an uproar over his use of public money to evict a tenant from his property. Other lesser Tories, such as Mrs Thatcher’s successor in Finchley, Hartley Booth, have left office under a moral cloud. Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith are part of ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... soap: Allan Stewart, wielder of the pick-axe; Michael Mates, sender of the famous watch; Norman Lamont, evictor (with some help from the tax-payer) of the tenant with too colourful a professional life; Patrick Nicholls, suspected drunk driver; Nicholas Ridley, too loquacious an advocate of anti-German feeling; and Mrs Edwina Currie (‘most of ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... of corporate affairs at Carlton Communications, and otherwise has worked as a political adviser to Norman Lamont at the Treasury and Michael Howard at the Home Office. He has been an MP for only four years. Furthermore, he seems something of a Blairite (and not only in his apparent dislike of verbs), which is pretty odd, as Blair must surely be the least ...

Reproaches from the Past

Peter Clarke: Gordon Brown, 1 April 2004

The Prudence of Mr Gordon Brown 
by William Keegan.
Wiley, 356 pp., £18.99, October 2003, 0 470 84697 6
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... Adelelm was in office if not in power for three years before being dismissed (which is pretty much Norman Lamont’s career in a nutshell). Later in the century, Richard FitzNeal, first as dean of Lincoln and latterly as bishop of London, continued in his day job in the church while moonlighting as treasurer ” for an apparently unbroken forty ...
Whatever Happened to the Tories: The Conservatives since 1945 
by Ian Gilmour and Mark Garnett.
Fourth Estate, 448 pp., £25, October 1997, 1 85702 475 3
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... owned monopolies – as against those in her Party who would have liked to privatise them. Of Norman Lamont, he says: ‘Chief Secretary to the Treasury should have been his ceiling.’ Nor is he much less crushing about those others who led the Conservative Party after 1979. Given the second-rateness of its opponents, why did One-Nation Toryism ...

What difference did she make?

Eric Hobsbawm, 23 May 1991

A Question of Leadership: Gladstone to Thatcher 
by Peter Clarke.
Hamish Hamilton, 334 pp., £17.99, April 1991, 0 241 13005 0
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The Quiet Rise of John Major 
by Edward Pearce.
Weidenfeld, 177 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 297 81208 4
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... however passionately lobby correspondents and Tory politicians may want to know exactly what, say, Norman Lamont said to Jeffrey Archer on 20 November 1990. Nevertheless, Clarke’s interest in these matters is also lucky for his readers, since it enables a stylish amateur of political private diaries and other forms of planned indiscretion to satisfy our ...

Huff and Puff

John Sutherland, 3 October 1996

We Should Know Better 
by George Walden.
Fourth Estate, 231 pp., £9.99, September 1996, 1 85702 520 2
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All Must Have Prizes 
by Melanie Phillips.
Little, Brown, 384 pp., £17.50, September 1996, 0 316 88180 5
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... the equivalent of 3p on income tax.’ Obviously it would be money better spent than the billions Norman Lamont blew on a single night defending sterling. But the idea of the next Labour government (to which Walden is clearly looking for the reform) taxing and spending on this scale is as unlikely as their pledging to re-open every coal-mine closed by ...


R.W. Johnson: Major Wins the Losership, 3 August 1995

... his calculation presumably being that the requirement of loyalty to the leader would allow only a Norman Lamont kamikaze candidacy and that Heseltine and Michael Portillo, the real contenders, would fail to put up and then have to shut up. The result was a political chain reaction. John Redwood saw the opportunity presented by Portillo’s failure to ...

Medes and Persians

Paul Foot: The Government’s Favourite Accountants, 2 November 2000

... Not long after the 1992 election – at around the time the Tories’ fate was sealed by Norman Lamont and Black Wednesday – Andersen Consulting offered its services free to the Labour Party’s Commission on Social Justice, set up by the Labour leader John Smith. The Commission was chaired by Sir Gordon Borrie, former Director General of Fair ...

Dirty Money

Paul Foot, 17 December 1992

A Full Service Bank: How BCCI stole millions around the world 
by James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz.
Simon and Schuster, 381 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 671 71133 4
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Bankrupt: The BCCI Fraud 
by Nick Kochan and Bob Whittington.
Gollancz, 234 pp., £4.99, November 1991, 0 575 05279 1
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The BCCI Affair: A Report to The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 
by Senators John Kerry and Hank Brown.
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 800 pp., September 1992
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Inquiry into the Supervision of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International 
by Lord Justice Bingham.
HMSO, 218 pp., £19.30, October 1992, 0 10 219893 4
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... relief swept over the British Government when they read Bingham. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont, who was educated at Cambridge and trained at Rothschild’s, told the House of Commons he had every faith in Robin Leigh-Pemberton, Governor of the Bank of England, a personal friend of the prime minister who appointed him, Margaret ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian Hamilton: Watch your mouth!, 14 December 2000

Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... In general, he is content to play the attendant lord, hosting grand dinner parties, humouring Norman Lamont, condescending to dispense advice to Rupert Murdoch, Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Each of them, according to Wyatt’s diaries, looks to him for guidance, either in person or via his News of the World ‘Voice of Reason’ column. After a ...

Nigels against the World

Ferdinand Mount: The EU Referendum, 19 May 2016

... something the Brexotics never confront. Many of those who will be voting to leave, such as Norman Lamont, take General de Gaulle as their model, but it was that cynical-romantic statesman who liked to quote Nietzsche’s scorching maxim that ‘the state is the coldest of all cold monsters’ (from Also Sprach Zarathustra – it’s even more ...

Love that Bird

Francis Spufford: Supersonic, 6 June 2002

... urged the Government to take advantage of the new French flexibility. In response, in July 1981, Norman Lamont, a minister at the Department of Industry, officially announced that a survey was underway of the relative costs of three different options: (1) immediate cancellation; (2) gradual rundown over a two to three-year period; (3) indefinite ...

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