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Born Again

Phillip Whitehead, 19 February 1981

Face the future 
by David Owen.
Cape, 552 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 224 01956 2
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... When a young man who has thrust himself to the centre of the political stage writes a book on politics, he will suffer the condescension of his seniors, the condemnation of his critics, and the faint sniggers of academics offstage. David Owen has had his prescription for Britain patronised by Grimond and Powell, dissected by Ken Coates, and treated like a first-year undergraduate’s essay by Professor Peter Townsend ...

Images of Violence

Phillip Whitehead, 17 September 1981

The Media and Political Violence 
by Richard Clutterbuck.
Macmillan, 191 pp., £15, July 1981, 0 333 31484 0
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... As the sullen summer of ’81 ends, we know that we shall remember it for images of violence: a soldier writhing aflame on the streets of Belfast, rioters on British streets using petrol bombs, and two images of the British bobby – bruised and frightened men cowering in a blinded phalanx under riot shields, and the kicked-in doors and sore heads of Railton Road ...

Labour Pains

Phillip Whitehead, 8 November 1979

Arguments for Socialism 
by Tony Benn.
Cape, 206 pp., £5.95
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Socialism without the State 
by Evan Luard.
Macmillan, 184 pp., £3.95
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Can Labour Win Again? 
by Austin Mitchell.
Fabian Society, 30 pp., £75
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Enemies of Democracy 
by Paul McCormick.
Temple Smith, 228 pp., £7.50
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... Great parties are born and not made, and they endure for a long time. The Labour Party came into existence less than eighty years ago. With the tumult of Brighton scarcely over, it may seem unfair to ask if it is still, and can continue to be, a mass party. A party, that is, which has a large and enthusiastic membership of individuals, agreed on the road they are taking even if they differ about the speed of the journey; a party with an accepted forum for debating, refining and presenting policy, enabling it to look outward both to the domestic electorate and to fellow socialist parties abroad ...

Permissiveness

Paul Addison, 23 January 1986

The Writing on the wall: Britain in the Seventies 
by Phillip Whitehead.
Joseph, 438 pp., £14.95, November 1985, 0 7181 2471 5
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... one catastrophe and the next. But the Seventies had no separate identity. Recognising this, Phillip Whitehead begins his book – written to accompany the Channel 4 series of the same name – with the euphoria of Harold Wilson’s victory in 1964. He ends in 1981 with the ‘drying-out of the wets’ by Mrs Thatcher in her autumn reshuffle. The ...

Institutions

Alan Ryan, 26 November 1987

Ruling Performance: British Governments from Attlee to Thatcher 
edited by Peter Hennessy and Anthony Seldon.
Blackwell, 344 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 631 15645 3
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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Blackwell, 667 pp., £45, September 1987, 0 631 13841 2
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Judges 
by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... obstinate, he had the intelligence to turn away from the cliff-edge. Conversely, David Walker and Phillip Whitehead do nothing to rescue the reputation of Lord Wilson, and it’s hard to believe anyone will ever treat the last six months of Jim Callaghan’s Government with anything resembling sympathy. Time and detachment may eventually diminish the ...

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