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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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... which is why Jack London once famously wrote that it was only when the Creator had perfected the snake, the rat and the toad that he began work on designing the scab. In an Edward Thompsonian echo, SeumasMilne 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 ...

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 ...
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 ...


Christopher Hitchens

12 January 1995
... a hostage, either to blackmail or to exposure. And not just you. And not just from the KGB. Gott has 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 ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough

21 October 2015
... came out for Corbyn and people registered as supporters in their tens of thousands, soon turned to horror, and finally to stunned resignation. A scattering of dissident voices on the payroll – SeumasMilne, 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 ...

Spookery, Skulduggery

David Runciman: Chris Mullin

4 April 2019
The Friends of Harry Perkins 
by Chris Mullin.
Scribner, 185 pp., £12, March, 978 1 4711 8248 8
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... the book follows the fortunes of Perkins’s former press secretary, Fred Thompson, who was portrayed in the first novel (and especially by Keith Allen who played him in the TV version) as a proto SeumasMilne, 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 ...

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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... massacre) was opposed by the balance of expert historical opinion, as well as the mass of Hellenic patriotic sentiment. When presented with this evidence in a series of articles in the Guardian by SeumasMilne 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 ...


Peter Pomerantsev: What fascists?

18 June 2014
... sending me links to the Guardian. Comment is Free has become well known for its references to the Ukrainian fascist takeover. My Kiev friends began to message me, looking for an explanation: ‘Is SeumasMilne 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 ...
3 July 1997
... The other lesson both parties will be reluctant to learn. The size of the Conservative defeat suggests that the electorate was much more fed up with the system than New Labour thought it was. As SeumasMilne 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 ...

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