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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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... but later decided that she had always been flatly against such a thing, a belief she sustains 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. NormanLamont, who served continuously at the Treasury from 1986 to 1993 – a ...


Paul Foot: The Impotence of Alan Clark

5 August 1993
... In office, but not in power’. It seemed unlikely that anything ever said by NormanLamont 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 ...


Conor Gearty: Various Forms of Sleaze

24 November 1994
... was the result of an affair he had been conducting. In 1993, Michael Mates left the government after disclosures that he had sent gifts and messages of support to the businessman Asil Nadir. NormanLamont 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 ...
9 March 1995
... outgrowth of governmental decay. The litany of names reads like the cast-list of some bizarre Antipodean soap: Allan Stewart, wielder of the pick-axe; Michael Mates, sender of the famous watch; NormanLamont, 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 ...
16 April 1998
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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... very cogent reasons why the great utilities, with the possible exception of coal, should remain publicly owned monopolies – as against those in her Party who would have liked to privatise them. Of NormanLamont, 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 ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership

20 October 2005
... Cameron is 39 years old, but he lacks even Hague’s limited experience. He was for seven years head of corporate affairs at Carlton Communications, and otherwise has worked as a political adviser to NormanLamont 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 ...

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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... versatile in his nepotism, happily had another nephew, Adelelm. Well-connected but over-promoted, Adelelm was in office if not in power for three years before being dismissed (which is pretty much NormanLamont’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 ...

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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... is to provide the facts to incriminate the Bank and then to flounce away from incrimination. Enormous relief swept over the British Government when they read Bingham. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, NormanLamont, 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 ...
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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... what actually happened in particular’. This is not necessarily of great historical significance, however passionately lobby correspondents and Tory politicians may want to know exactly what, say, NormanLamont 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 ...

Medes and Persians

Paul Foot: The Government’s Favourite Accountants

2 November 2000
... win the next election, but because it had dropped the Party’s fuddy-duddy suspicions of big City companies. Not long after the 1992 election – at around the time the Tories’ fate was sealed by NormanLamont 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 ...

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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... Certainly, Wyatt rivals Clark in self-importance, but he lacks Clark’s sour and thwarted disposition. In general, he is content to play the attendant lord, hosting grand dinner parties, humouring NormanLamont, 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 ...

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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... he calculates, ‘the total cost of such measures would be in the order of £5 billion annually – the equivalent of 3p on income tax.’ Obviously it would be money better spent than the billions NormanLamont 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 ...


R.W. Johnson: Major Wins the Losership

3 August 1995
... year the same countdown had begun when Major cut the campaign short with a pre-emptive resignation, his calculation presumably being that the requirement of loyalty to the leader would allow only a NormanLamont 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 ...

Nigels against the World

Ferdinand Mount: The EU Referendum

18 May 2016
... and blatantly imperfect institutions of the EU than to warn of the dangers inherent in nation-worship – something the Brexotics never confront. Many of those who will be voting to leave, such as NormanLamont, 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 ...

Love that Bird

Francis Spufford: Supersonic

6 June 2002
... first report, published in March 1981, expressed concern that the figure might be even higher, and urged the Government to take advantage of the new French flexibility. In response, in July 1981, NormanLamont, 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 ...

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