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After the May Day Flood

Seumas Milne, 5 June 1997

... There might be only an inch of difference between Labour and Conservatives, the one-time counter-culture celebrity Richard Neville said long ago, but it is in that space that we live. The opening weeks of the first Labour Government for a generation have been a daily reminder of how far Neville’s aphorism still holds. So tirelessly had Tony Blair strained to ratchet down expectations during the run-up to the election, so assiduously had the Millbank machine tailgated Tory policy, that almost any innovation by the new regime was bound to seem like a political thunderbolt ...

My Millbank

Seumas Milne, 18 April 1996

The Blair Revolution: Can New Labour Deliver? 
by Peter Mandelson and Roger Liddle.
Faber, 274 pp., £7.99, February 1996, 0 571 17818 9
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... In politics, Peter Mandelson and Roger Liddle explain for the benefit of their less worldly-wise readers, ‘getting your way can require a degree of intrigue and manoeuvring.’ The straight-dealing Tony Blair would, they say, prefer that this was unnecessary and does not really ‘enjoy the modus operandi’. How very fortunate the Labour leader is, then, to be able to count on the services of one whose name has become a byword for political manipulation and deviousness ...

Who Runs Britain?

Christopher Hitchens, 8 December 1994

The Enemy Within: MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair 
by Seumas Milne.
Verso, 352 pp., £18.95, November 1994, 0 86091 461 5
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... the rat and the toad that he began work on designing the scab.In an Edward Thompsonian echo, Seumas Milne reminds us of the British tradition of police espionage by quoting from the constitution of the London Corresponding Society, drawn up in 1795: ‘Extreme zeal is often a cloak of treachery.’ Since well before the time of Pitt, the authorities ...


Christopher Hitchens, 12 January 1995

... known for some years that British Intelligence had rumbled him. He knew that this was why Alasdair Milne and Aubrey Singer were overruled by an MI5 vetting officer when they tried to appoint him editor of the Listener in 1981. He would certainly have known what the political fall-out of his exposure might be. But he did nothing to prepare any friend or ...

Spookery, Skulduggery

David Runciman: Chris Mullin, 4 April 2019

The Friends of Harry Perkins 
by Chris Mullin.
Scribner, 185 pp., £12, March 2019, 978 1 4711 8248 8
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... in the first novel (and especially by Keith Allen who played him in the TV version) as a proto Seumas Milne, all flinty attitudes and angry disdain for the bastards trying to do down his boss. But this isn’t Milne’s story either. We discover that after the coup that did for Perkins, Thompson gave up on politics ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... to horror, and finally to stunned resignation. A scattering of dissident voices on the payroll – Seumas Milne, Owen Jones, Zoe Williams, George Monbiot – were drowned out by a host of detractors, from within the paper and without: Tim Bale, Nick Cohen, Anne Perkins, Michael White, Martin Kettle, Peter Hain, Alan Johnson, Tony Blair (twice), Jonathan ...

Everyone’s Pal

John Sutherland: Louis de Bernières, 13 December 2001

Red Dog 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 119 pp., £10, October 2001, 0 436 25617 7
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Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World 
by Louis de Bernières.
Vintage, 119 pp., £6.99, October 2001, 9780099428442
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... patriotic sentiment. When presented with this evidence in a series of articles in the Guardian by Seumas Milne in July 2000, de Bernières emailed the journalist to say that he was ‘no longer as sure of anything as I once was’ and that he would be prepared to change his mind on the ‘production of convincing evidence’. The makers of the film (in ...


Peter Pomerantsev: What fascists?, 19 June 2014

... Ukrainian fascist takeover. My Kiev friends began to message me, looking for an explanation: ‘Is Seumas Milne in the pay of the Kremlin?’ they would ask. Probably not, I said. ‘It all fits into a larger pattern of English racism towards Eastern Europeans,’ Oksana Forostyna, executive editor of the Ukrainian cultural magazine Krytyka, told me. She ...

Why the Tories Lost

Ross McKibbin, 3 July 1997

... that the electorate was much more fed up with the system than New Labour thought it was. As Seumas Milne pointed out here (LRB, 5 June), the British electorate remains stubbornly attached to the welfare state and public provision. Indeed, throughout the English-speaking world, where market politics has been most successful, such politics has always ...

Failed Vocation

James Butler: The Corbyn Project, 3 December 2020

Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour under Corbyn 
by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire.
Bodley Head, 376 pp., £18.99, September, 978 1 84792 645 6
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This Land: The Story of a Movement 
by Owen Jones.
Allen Lane, 336 pp., £20, September, 978 0 241 47094 7
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... obsessions into press releases or undermined collective decisions; Corbyn vanished at key points. Seumas Milne, appointed as a loyal and politically sympathetic figure to guide the communications strategy, was so obviously in the wrong job that it is all but impossible to understand how he remained in place after botching the response to the Skripal ...

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