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We Are Many

Tom Crewe: In the Corbyn Camp, 11 August 2016

... one of them, Margaret Beckett, has described herself as a ‘moron’ for doing so.) His shadow cabinet, devastated by a series of staged resignations, is now a patchwork of very young MPs and very old ones, many of them doing more than one job. After 29 years in Parliament the 81-year-old Paul Flynn has made his front bench debut as both ...
Carrington: A Life and a Policy 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Dent, 182 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 460 04691 8
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Thatcher: The First Term 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Bodley Head, 240 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 370 30602 3
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Viva Britannia: Mrs Thatcher’s Britain 
by Paolo Filo della Torre.
Sidgwick, 101 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 283 99143 7
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... in the first place, manifests itself in the power of the leader (when in Opposition) to choose his shadow cabinet, and when in Downing Street, to hire and fire almost at will. This inheritance is magnified by the steadily growing power of the prime minister, no longer primus inter pares, which has been observed since the end of the war – a process which ...
Possible Dreams: A Personal History of the British Christian Socialists 
by Chris Bryant.
Hodder, 351 pp., £25, July 1996, 0 340 64201 7
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... of them’. Tony Blair is ‘one of them’. And so are Chris Smith and Jack Straw and half the Shadow Cabinet and many more on the backbenches including Frank Field, that one-man think-tank of the Labour Right. ‘They’ are the Christian socialists, architects of New Labour, ready to provide the movement with the ethical foundations which seem ...

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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... to worker rights and social justice. ‘You might be interested to see,’ he records saying to a Shadow Cabinet meeting on 31 July 1971, ‘the address on which my father’ – William Wedgwood Benn, a Liberal, then Labour MP, created Viscount Stansgate in 1941 – ‘fought the election in 1906: cheap food, reform and prosperity for the Port of ...

Little Mercians

Ian Gilmour: Why Kenneth Clarke should lead the Tories, 5 July 2001

... the Europeans at bay and enable it to remain a satellite of the United States. Maybe Hague’s Shadow Cabinet was in agreement with the chief economist of the Institute of Directors, Graeme Leach, who informed us during the election that God is against a single European currency. Evidently God is an extreme Thatcherite, as is Mr Leach, who believes ...

Stanley and the Activists

Philip Williamson, 13 October 1988

Baldwin and the Conservative Party: The Crisis of 1929-1931 
by Stuart Ball.
Yale, 266 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 300 03961 1
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... and tentative. He disturbed many by countenancing promises by the Viceroy of India and the Labour Cabinet of further advances towards native representation in Indian central government. Critics of his leadership were consequently able to obtain considerable rank-and-file support. Centres of opposition included the diehards (the ...

Tearing up the Race Card

Paul Foot, 30 November 1995

The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker 
by Nigel Harris.
Tauris, 256 pp., £25, October 1995, 1 85043 956 7
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The Cambridge Survey of World Migration 
edited by Robin Cohen.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £75, November 1995, 0 521 44405 5
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... assiduously dismantling. As always when a course of action is urged on him by his enemies in the cabinet, whom he describes as ‘bastards’, nice Mr Major rolls over on his back and pants happily in agreement. The Queen’s Speech makes it clear that immigration and political asylum will be an issue at the general election. Judging from the predictions of ...

Dream Ticket

Peter Shore, 6 October 1983

The Diary of Hugh Gaitskell 1945-1956 
by Philip Williams.
Cape, 720 pp., £25, September 1983, 0 224 01911 2
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... in April 1951 and which ended (with Bevan but not with the Bevanites) only when Bevan became Shadow Foreign Secretary in 1957; third, Gaitskell’s first nine months as Leader and his heavy preoccupation, during that time, with the Russians whose leaders, Khrushchev and Bulganin, made their first visit to London, and with the events that led to the ...

Tam, Dick and Harold

Ian Aitken, 26 October 1989

Dick Crossman: A Portrait 
by Tam Dalyell.
Weidenfeld, 253 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79670 4
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... Neil Kinnock is undeniably neither Oxbridge nor an intellectual. Nor are many members of his shadow cabinet – or, indeed, of the present Parliamentary Labour Party. There is at least room for debate about whether this is a good or a bad thing. Moreover, the reasons for the trend are by no means easy to identify. Should he feel inclined, Mr Kinnock ...

Harold, row the boat aground

Paul Foot, 20 November 1986

Memoirs 1916-1964: The Making of a Prime Minister 
by Harold Wilson.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 214 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2775 7
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... not to say reactionary President of the Board of Trade. In 1951, he resigned from the Cabinet with Aneurin Bevan over the imposition of health charges and the armaments programme, was a Bevanite for a few years, but neatly stepped into Bevan’s shoes in the Shadow Cabinet when his former hero resigned over ...
... Left had become a Trojan Horse for the hard left wreckers. Then, as a member of Jim Callaghan’s Cabinet. I had become aware of the overbearing influence of the Trade Unions, culminating in the Winter of Discontent. As a member of the Shadow Cabinet, following Labour’s 1979 defeat, I had consistently ...


William Rodgers: Party Conference Jamboree, 25 October 1990

... twice on that occasion, first against the denationalisation of road haulage by Mr Churchill’s Cabinet and then in a sharp attack on the hypocrisy of the Bevanites, who had swept to victory in the previous day’s NEC elections. It was a bitter, ugly and exhausting Conference. Herbert Morrison and Hugh Dalton, who had helped to carry the Labour Party ...

The Man Who Stood Behind the Man Who Won the War

E.H.H. Green: Andrew Bonar Law, 16 September 1999

Bonar Law 
by R.J.Q. Adams.
Murray, 458 pp., £25, April 1999, 0 7195 5422 5
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... at his house on the ‘wrong side of the Park’ and the fact that he used outside caterers for Shadow Cabinet dinners. He was rather dour and not particularly clubbable, though he was a fanatical bridge player, an excellent chess player, keen on tennis and golf, and the founding president of the Campaign for Real Smoking. Dubbed ‘Mr Smoke’ by Max ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Dr Macgregor’s Diagnosis, 3 March 2011

... of state for health and once the principal private secretary to Norman Tebbit. Like so many of his cabinet colleagues, and so many of those student politicians in the shadow cabinet, he appears to grasp the bullet points of an argument without ever grasping the argument. There’s a little moral seasoning to his dinner ...

Christopher Hitchens states a prosecution case

Christopher Hitchens, 25 October 1990

Crossman: The Pursuit of Power 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 361 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 224 02592 9
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... Wilson’s first ministry, Richard Crossman recorded the following in his Diaries of a Cabinet Minister: Then Harold Wilson raised the issue of Anthony Howard. He has just been appointed by the Sunday Times to be the first Whitehall correspondent in history, looking into the secrets of the Civil Service rather than leaking the secrets of the ...

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