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Babylon

William Rodgers, 30 March 1989

European Diary 1977-1981 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 698 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 00 217976 8
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... was summoned across Whitehall from my office in the Ministry of Defence to see the Home Secretary. Roy Jenkins rose from his chair and said: ‘Well, it’s all over, Callaghan is appointing Crosland.’ He nodded to a handwritten envelope addressed to the President of the French Republic. I knew that it contained a letter declaring his willingness to ...

Crisis at Ettrick Bridge

William Rodgers, 12 October 1989

A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-88 
by Chris Cook.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £9.95, August 1989, 0 333 44884 7
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Against Goliath 
by David Steel.
Weidenfeld, 318 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 9780297796787
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Labour’s Decline and the Social Democrats’ Fall 
by Geoffrey Lee Williams and Alan Lee Williams.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, July 1989, 0 333 46541 5
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Penhaligon 
by Annette Penhaligon.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7475 0501 2
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Citizens’ Britain: A Radical Agenda for the 1990s 
by Paddy Ashdown.
Fourth Estate, 159 pp., £5.95, September 1989, 1 872180 45 0
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... seemed to falter, sources close to Steel canvassed support for the idea that he should supplant Roy Jenkins as Alliance leader. Most of us said that this was out of the question in the middle of a campaign, even if it could be justified on merit. We were shocked when Steel raised and pressed the matter in a manner immediately hurtful to ...
... 1981, and the launch of the manifesto that came to be known as the Limehouse Declaration. When Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams, David Owen and I met together that morning, we were clear in our intention: in breaking the mould of contemporary politics, we would create a new radical centre, push the Labour Party into third place, change the electoral ...

A Time for War

Peter Clarke, 21 October 1982

The Rebirth of Britain 
edited by Wayland Kennet.
Weidenfeld, 275 pp., £12, October 1982, 0 297 78177 4
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Claret and Chips 
by Hugh Stephenson.
Joseph, 201 pp., £8.95, September 1982, 0 7181 2204 6
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... crisis has reinforced Labour’s chronic debility, so far the SDP has been able to thrive upon it. Roy Jenkins talked of an experimental aircraft in adumbrating the idea of a centre party in the early summer of 1980: a ‘dangerously caricaturable analogy’, as he admits in a retrospective comment in The Rebirth of Britain. He said then that it ‘might ...

Decisions

John Kenneth Galbraith, 6 March 1986

Truman 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 220 pp., £12.95, February 1986, 0 00 217584 3
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... default to justify a really interesting book. From this depressing background there now emerges Roy Jenkins. As a contrast he is nothing short of spectacular. In Birmingham, long in Whitehall, then in Brussels and lately in Glasgow and over the whole of the Kingdom he has had a political career more obviously interesting than most. Of this he writes ...

After Hillhead

David Marquand, 15 April 1982

... Whatever else it may or may not have been, Hillhead was unquestionably a personal triumph for Roy Jenkins. The crowds which packed the silent, thoughtful meetings were drawn by him. The old ladies who switched tremulously and belatedly from the Tories switched to him. The clever-silly London journalists who explained why the SDP bubble was going to burst made their jokes at his expense ...

Putting it on

David Marquand, 12 September 1991

A Life at the Centre 
by Roy Jenkins.
Macmillan, 600 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 333 55164 8
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... My favourite memory of Roy Jenkins dates from a golden July evening during the Warrington by-election. He is standing in the front garden of a council house, deep in conversation with an elderly Labour housewife, for whose support he is canvassing. Stooping slightly, and with a courtly gravitas that would not have seemed out of place at a European Summit, he is explaining why the ‘fluctooations’ which have characterised British economic policy for the last ten years have done so much damage to our international credit ...

Alternative Tories

José Harris, 23 April 1987

Baldwin 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 204 pp., £12.95, March 1987, 9780002175869
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Rab: The Life of R.A. Butler 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 422 pp., £15, March 1987, 0 224 01862 0
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The Political Culture of Modern Britain: Studies in Memory of Stephen Koss 
edited by J.M.W. Bean.
Hamish Hamilton, 306 pp., £15, January 1987, 0 241 12026 8
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... of government that was largely incomprehensible to the world of geopolitics and the welfare state. Roy Jenkins himself belongs pre-eminently to the school of state intervention, but it is one of the virtues of his new study of Baldwin that he manages to recapture and make sense of some if not all of that now-vanished past. He portrays Baldwin as an ...

‘Spurious’ is the word we want

Ian Gilmour, 28 November 1996

Diplomacy and Disillusion at the Court of Margaret Thatcher 
by George Urban.
Tauris, 206 pp., £19.95, September 1996, 1 86064 084 2
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... on Grenada, in which he was going to speak. In this debate, ‘Wayland Young (Lord Kennet) and Roy Jenkins (Lord Jenkins) were on particularly good form.’ According to Urban, Roy Jenkins announced that Reagan’s ‘grasp of his marbles sometimes seems to be ...

Le Roi Jean Quinze

Stefan Collini: Roy Jenkins and Labour, 5 June 2014

Roy JenkinsA Well-Rounded Life 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 818 pp., £30, March 2014, 978 0 224 08750 6
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... released instead into the free upper air where good arguments are sovereign. It was the fate of Roy Jenkins more than of any other recent figure in British politics to serve, during his life and in some ways since his death in 2003, as the incarnation of these dreams. Over and above his actual achievements and failures, ...

Boofy’s Bill

Alex Harvey, 18 September 1997

... a forgotten figure, rarely given the credit for the change in the law that he brought about – Roy Jenkins usually gets the praise. Known as Boofy, Arran was a red-faced, white-haired little man who seemed to be in a permanent flap, and spoke rapidly with many a what, what punctuating his scattered thoughts. His column in the Evening News, ‘Lord ...

What’s going on?

Peter Jenkins, 21 November 1985

How Britain votes 
by Anthony Heath, Roger Jowell and John Curtice.
Pergamon, 251 pp., £15.50, September 1985, 0 08 031859 2
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Partnership of Principle 
by Roy Jenkins.
Secker in association with the Radical Centre, 169 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 436 22100 4
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The Strange Rebirth of Liberal Britain 
by Ian Bradley.
Chatto, 259 pp., £11.95, September 1985, 0 7011 2670 1
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Report from the Select Committee on Overseas Trade, House of Lords 
HMSO, 96 pp., £6.30, October 1985, 0 10 496285 2Show More
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... the future of the Labour Party as an electoral force. Nevertheless, it is useful to be reminded by Roy Jenkins in the preface to a collection of his essays and speeches that he broke with Labour ‘not because I feared it could not be elected, but because, with its new policies, I did not want it to be elected’. In the 1979 Dimbleby Lecture, here ...

1966 and all that

Michael Stewart, 20 December 1984

The Castle Diaries. Vol. II: 1964-70 
by Barbara Castle.
Weidenfeld, 848 pp., £20, October 1984, 0 297 78374 2
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... pouring out insults to him on the phone’. There are occasional lunches and dinners à deux with Roy Jenkins, sometimes at the Connaught (‘another demonstration of what he calls, with a smile, his “expensive tastes” ’) and sometimes at No 11 Downing Street, at one of which ‘we agreed about a number of things, notably on our contempt for Jim ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... in his speeches. ‘Lazy? Lazy?’ Bevan responded to a sneer about the laziness of his colleague Roy Jenkins: ‘How can a boy from Abersychan who acquired an accent like that be lazy?’ From Princess Margaret comes a comment on the moribundity of the London Season: ‘Every tart in London can get in.’ Kynaston appreciates the respect for ...

My Life with Harold Wilson

Peter Jenkins, 20 December 1979

Final Term: The Labour Government 1974-76 
by Harold Wilson.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 322 pp., £8.95
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... Britain staying in Europe. He has shown great political skill and insight.’ He reports also that Roy Jenkins subsequently conceded, most generously, that he had ‘misunderstood’ Wilson’s handling of the issue. It is true, I now think, that Wilson could not have held the European line, and the Labour Party together, through the years of opposition ...

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