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Scoutmaster General

Peter Clarke, 24 September 1992

Tony Benn 
by Jad Adams.
Macmillan, 576 pp., £20, July 1992, 0 333 52558 2
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The End of an Era: Diaries, 1980-1990 
by Tony Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone.
Hutchinson, 704 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 09 174857 7
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... the soft left in the Parliamentary Labour Party. Now he vaulted over it and challenged not only Roy Jenkins, the old Gaitskellite, but also Michael Foot, the old Bevanite, for the deputy leadership in 1971. The fathers of the other two candidates had been, respectively, a Labour and a Liberal MP; Benn’s father had been both. Rejected nonetheless by ...

Over Several Tops

Bernard Porter: Winston Churchill, 14 January 2002

Churchill: A Study in Greatness 
by Geoffrey Best.
Hambledon, 370 pp., £19.95, May 2001, 1 85285 253 4
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Churchill 
by Roy Jenkins.
Macmillan, 1002 pp., £30, October 2001, 0 333 78290 9
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... to add to them would be the unearthing of new evidence or a radically different interpretation. Roy Jenkins says he is not ‘a great partisan of the “revelatory” biography’, and claims that for Churchill nearly all the ‘facts’ are known in any case. One of Best’s motives for writing his book is to scotch some of the wilder recent ...

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 ...

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 ...

On the State of the Left

W.G. Runciman, 17 December 1981

The Forward March of Labour Halted? 
by Eric Hobsbawm, Ken Gill and Tony Benn.
Verso, 182 pp., £8.50, November 1981, 0 86091 041 5
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... votes being cast for Margaret Thatcher but might, even now, lead to their being switched to Roy Jenkins instead of Tony Benn. It is true that the record of an internal debate among the committed is not to be read as a prospectus for potential converts. But the cries of disappointment and betrayal, the denunciations of the media, Harold Wilson and ...

Anti-Hedonism

David Marquand, 20 September 1984

Politics and the Pursuit of Happiness: An Inquiry into the Involvement of Human Beings in the Politics of Industrial Society 
by Ghita Ionescu.
Longman, 248 pp., £16.50, September 1984, 0 582 29549 1
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... policies, to be put right by the appropriate bag of economic tricks. Those who belong to what Roy Jenkins once called the ‘radical centre’ rightly reject the economism of their rivals. For them, the crisis is not only, or even mainly, economic, but political as well. Yet even the ‘radical centre’ has so far seen it in a curiously narrow ...

A Talented Past

Linda Colley, 23 April 1987

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. I: Survey 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 400 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. II: Constituencies 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 704 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. III: Members A-F 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 852 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. IV: Members G-P 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 908 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. V: Members P-Z 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 680 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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... championed in the past by Harold Macmillan and is protected now by the enthusiasm of men such as Roy Jenkins and Robert Rhodes James. But why should those of us who are excluded from this desirable club at Westminster want such an extended work of collective biography? In the case of these volumes one obvious reason lies in the period that they ...

Diary

Karl Miller: London to Canberra, 25 June 1987

... Roy Jenkins believes this to have been an insular election: it has also had more than its share of the infantilism of show business, and was one of the foulest and most name-calling for a long time. Government will now resume, promises will be kept and broken, and the keepers of official secrets will try some more of their dirty tricks, secure in the knowledge that this was an issue which was never to arise in the course of the election ...

Diary

Clive James, 20 May 1982

... hedged her bets If only for the breathing space it buys While everyone who’s got a job forgets Roy Jenkins once was roughly twice as wise A Chancellor as is Sir Geoffrey Howe – A fact she’d rather like suppressed just now. The Peace of Bishop Stortford and Howe’s Budget – In each case the effect might not be meant, But if it’s by the ...

Famous Four

R.W. Johnson, 30 November 1995

SDP: The Birth, Life and Death of the Social Democratic Party 
by Ivor Crewe and Anthony King.
Oxford, 611 pp., £25, November 1995, 0 19 828050 5
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... triumphs – what bad news these data held for Labour. Take, for example, Bill Rodgers and Roy Jenkins (both grammar school and Oxford, Jenkins the son of a miner MP) not to mention Shirley Williams (professional parents, St Paul’s and Oxford): social mobility had already carried them to Labour’s outer ...

Über-Tony

Ben Pimlott: Anthony Crosland, 3 September 1998

Crosland’s Future: Opportunity and Outcome 
by David Reisman.
Macmillan, 237 pp., £47.50, October 1997, 0 333 65963 5
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... school, Highgate, and thence to Oxford, where he began a lifelong friendship and rivalry with Roy Jenkins, a steadier if equally ambitious intellectual, but one who always conceded Crosland’s superior brain. The Second World War interrupted and leavened his student politics, active service providing its own kind of filter. Afterwards, he returned ...

Questionably Virtuous

Stuart Middleton: Harold Wilson, 8 September 2016

Harold Wilson: The Unprincipled Prime Minister? Reappraising Harold Wilson 
edited by Andrew Crines and Kevin Hickson.
Biteback, 319 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78590 031 0
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... down precisely what it was they disliked about him. Looking back on the factionalism of the 1950s Roy Jenkins recalled that ‘one of the basic tenets of Gaitskellism was that Wilson was a tricky fellow.’ The Gaitskellites’ leading theorist, Anthony Crosland, struggling to convince a journalist of Wilson’s shortcomings, was reduced to ...

Off with her head

John Lloyd, 24 November 1988

Office without Power: Diaries 1968-72 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 562 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 09 173647 1
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... Benn took part in a radio discussion on the working of Parliament, together with John Biffen and Roy (Lord) Jenkins. Asked by the chairman, Peter Hennessy, if he did not think that the Lords now functioned as a ‘focus of opposition’, Benn responded that it was, instead, ‘part of an attack on democracy. After all, why ...
Breaking the Mould 
by Ian Bradley.
Martin Robertson, 172 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 85520 469 9
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... Labour votes and Labour seats. Hence our behaviour during the long gestation period between Roy Jenkins’s Dimbleby Lecture call for a realignment of the ‘radical centre’ and the establishment of the Council for Social Democracy 15 months later. We differed sharply over our tactics. Some of us – notably Colin Phipps and Michael Barnes ...

God’s Endurance

Peter Clarke, 30 November 1995

Gladstone 
by Roy Jenkins.
Macmillan, 698 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 333 60216 1
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... different its assumptions were from those of the 20th century. But there is no snide debunking in Roy Jenkins’s biography. The Gladstone who emerges – temperamentally commanding, conversationally charming, intellectually erudite, theologically obsessed, morally priggish, sexually tormented, socially hierarchical, politically ...

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