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David Craig, 6 July 1989

A Search for Scotland 
by R.F. Mackenzie.
Collins, 280 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 00 215185 5
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A Claim of Right for Scotland 
edited by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 202 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6022 4
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The Eclipse of Scottish Culture 
by Craig Beveridge and Ronald Turnbull.
Polygon, 121 pp., £6.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6000 3
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The Bird Path: Collected Longer Poems 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 239 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 245 2
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Travels in the Drifting Dawn 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 160 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 240 1
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... Foster and Ian Carter, writers as good as John McGrath and Tom Nairn, politicians as energetic as Robin Cook and Jim Sillars. To write for it felt like good militant fun (I contributed the piece on ‘The Radical Literary Tradition’) – a fling at the Establishment which Gordon Brown, as a student at Edinburgh, had defied in the most practical way by ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... exploiting well-worn anecdotes. Moorcock sketches his version of the late Derek Raymond (a.k.a. Robin Cook) as a Soho revenant: ‘Cookie was still alive in those days . . . and telling your stories back to you faster than you could recount them.’ Much of King of the City is like that, using the ‘twist’ to reconstitute chat rehearsed by ...


Gerald Hammond: Taiwan and China, 3 September 1998

... and cut its diplomatic ties with Taiwan was South Africa, late last year. Nelson Mandela, like Robin Cook, knows, or thinks he knows, that the huge potential market of the PRC is more important than human rights. You might expect that such hypocrisy would depress the Taiwanese, but not a bit of it. Used to living on the edge of the world’s ...

What Blair Threw Away

Ross McKibbin: Feckless, Irresponsible and Back in Power, 19 May 2005

... and Brown himself is not an ideal successor: see the London Underground. Furthermore, unlike Robin Cook, he is even less likely to finish New Labour’s unfinished constitutional business than Blair. But he will not continually undermine Labour’s real achievements, as Blair has done in his will-o’-the-wisp pursuit of ‘choice’. Nor will he be ...

What’s the story?

Audrey Gillan: Trying to find the evidence for mass atrocities in Kosovo, 27 May 1999

... Yet I could see that much of this rough treatment of female refugees was a direct consequence of Robin Cook telling the world that there was evidence of rape camps inside Kosovo. ‘Young women are being separated from the refugee columns,’ he said, ‘and forced to undergo systematic rape in an army camp. We have evidence from many refugees who have ...

The Angry Men

Jean McNicol: Harriet Harman, 14 December 2017

A Woman’s Work 
by Harriet Harman.
Allen Lane, 405 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 0 241 27494 1
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The Women Who Shaped Politics 
by Sophy Ridge.
Coronet, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 4736 3876 1
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... son and his friend to the cinema when she was called into the Commons to deputise for her boss, Robin Cook, who was stuck in Edinburgh. She says it would have been easy enough to change her plans, but ‘my maternal self-esteem, precarious at the best of times, would have collapsed altogether if I turned into one of those parents who let their children ...

Blair Must Go

Peter Clarke: Why Tony Blair should go, 11 September 2003

... a crisis of leadership. ‘The only plausible alternative to Tony Blair is not Gordon Brown but Robin Cook,’ was Ross McKibbin’s challenging conclusion in the LRB last month – all members of the present Cabinet are thereby disqualified from the succession. But although Cook’s manifest vindication warrants his ...

Staggering on

Stephen Howe, 23 May 1996

The ‘New Statesman’: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-31 
by Adrian Smith.
Cass, 340 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 7146 4645 8
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... The notions that made their mark on the magazine were more individualist, radical-liberal ones. Robin Cook’s personal credo is more obviously New Statesmanly than Blair’s: ‘what attracted me to the Labour Party was not the values of collectivism but the values of individualism, of rebellion, of freedom, of liberation from the machinery of state ...

How to put the politics back into Labour

Ross McKibbin: Origins of the Present Mess, 7 August 2003

... the country and say why. The only plausible alternative to Tony Blair is not Gordon Brown but Robin Cook. Cook, however, has not made the most of his opportunities. The Foreign Office is no place for a politician of progressive ideas and as a progressive he never made the most of his comparatively short time as ...

Green Thoughts

Colin Ward, 19 January 1989

Seasons of the Seal 
by Fred Bruemmer and Brian Davies.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0214 5
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Whale Nation 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 191 pp., £15, August 1988, 0 224 02555 4
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Falling for a dolphin 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 47 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 0 224 02659 3
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Prisoners of the Seas 
by K.A. Gourlay.
Zed, 256 pp., £25.95, November 1988, 0 86232 686 9
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Progress for a Small Planet 
by Barbara Ward.
Earthscan, 298 pp., £5.95, September 1988, 1 85383 028 3
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Future Earth: Exploring the Frontiers of Space 
edited by Nigel Calder and John Newell.
Christopher Helm, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780747004202
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Sizewell B: An Anatomy of the Enquiry 
by Timothy O’Riordan, Ray Kemp and Michael Purdue.
Macmillan, 474 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 333 38944 1
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Early Green Politics 
by Peter Gould.
Harvester, 225 pp., £29.95, June 1988, 0 7108 1192 6
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Dreamers of the Absolute 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
Radius, 312 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 09 173240 9
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The Coming of the Greens 
by Jonathon Porritt and David Winner.
Fontana, 287 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 00 637244 9
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Ecology and Socialism 
by Martin Ryle.
Radius, 122 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 09 182247 5
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... aims. ‘The future of socialism may lie more with William Morris than with Herbert Morrison,’ Robin Cook said in 1987. Morris died over ninety years ago, but remains wise and relevant for his insistence on combining social justice with a respect for nature. Can the Left recover his kind of vision, and can it win the support of its fellow-citizens? Or ...

More ‘out’ than ‘on’

Glen Newey: Chris Mullin’s Diaries, 27 August 2009

A View from the Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin 
by Chris Mullin.
Profile, 590 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84668 223 0
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... events. The entry for Wednesday, 1 May 2002 reports a warning by the then Leader of the House, Robin Cook, at a meeting of the Labour Parliamentary Committee. The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living. ‘We are in a jam. Few members have yet tumbled to the juggernaut heading their way.’ Mullin explains that ‘under the Freedom ...

Our Flexible Friends

Conor Gearty, 18 April 1996

Scott Inquiry Report 
by Richard Scott.
HMSO, 2386 pp., £45, February 1996, 0 10 262796 7
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... allusion, a sort of political bible with Sir Richard Scott in the role of the Yahweh/ Saviour and Robin Cook and Ian Lang fighting it out to play St Paul. In fact, the occasional double negative aside (these alone have been enough to drive our illiterate media into hysterical denunciations of prolixity), the Report is a model of clarity. Its narrative is ...


Christopher Harvie: Cars and Cuckoo Clocks, 26 January 1995

... playing Captain Boyle at the Lyceum. Laurence Daly of the Miners’ Union, John Mackintosh MP, Robin Cook. The Hamilton by-election had taken place six months before, and the advent of the SNP had kicked Scottish politics into life. It was a talking rather than a dancing party, and the politics themselves seemed intoxicating enough. Around two we ...

Sleazy, Humiliated, Despised

Ross McKibbin: Can Labour survive Blair?, 7 September 2006

... have seemed. Although his ministers might not have acted as impulsively as Blair has, only one, Robin Cook (or two, if we count Clare Short’s rather eccentric departure), resigned in protest – and that is shocking. All his other ministers at least acquiesced in the prime minister’s policies and, more usually, strongly defended them. They did so ...

The Cadaver Club

Iain Sinclair, 22 December 1994

Original Sin 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 426 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 0 571 17253 9
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Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 282 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 1 85619 507 4
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The Hidden Files: An Autobiography 
by Derek Raymond.
Warner, 342 pp., £5.99, December 1994, 0 7515 1184 6
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Not till the Red Fog Rises 
by Derek Raymond.
Little, Brown, 248 pp., £15.99, December 1994, 0 316 91014 7
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... reflex, the Agatha Christie cornerstone, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Or as Derek Raymond (Robin Cook) frequently proclaimed, paraphrasing Edmund Wilson: ‘who gives a fuck who killed Roger Ackroyd?’ Raymond, attempting in The Hidden Files to define the ‘black novel’ in which he specialised, glossed the Jamesian school as ‘pretentious ...

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