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Short Cuts

Rory Scothorne: Under New Management, 13 August 2020

... Rebecca Long-Bailey, the left’s candidate to replace Corbyn, has already been sacked from the shadow cabinet. The party’s National Executive Committee has a majority defined ostensibly by loyalty to Starmer, but more concretely by opposition to Corbynism. The Socialist Campaign Group of left-wing MPs, on whose behalf Corbyn stood for the leadership ...

Short Cuts

Philippa Hetherington: Canberra’s Coups, 27 September 2018

... a leader of the opposition, usually the leader of the largest party outside the government, and a shadow cabinet. There is an upper house, the Senate, which resembles an elected House of Lords, but has more powers. And, of course, the queen is the head of state. The six states – the former autonomous British colonies – have their own constitutions ...

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 ...

Impressions of Nietzsche

Keith Kyle, 27 July 1989

The Lives of Enoch Powell 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Bodley Head, 518 pp., £16, April 1989, 0 370 30871 9
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... Health in the Macmillan Government (Macmillan, according to his biographer Alistair Horne, had the Cabinet chairs moved so that he would not have to look at Powell’s staring eyes) – and he never held office again. There was a shock of incredulity when he appeared as one of three contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1965 and only 15 ...
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 ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: The Corbyn Surge, 27 August 2015

... He also lacks the experience. Corbyn at PMQs? Corbyn handling the press lobby? Corbyn managing the shadow cabinet? To see these as relics of the old way of doing politics is to mistake the range of policy possibilities for the range of institutional ones. It may well be true that much of what Corbyn stands for – including a fairer tax system, greater ...

The 4000

Michael J. Glennon, 19 January 2017

... not least because the bureaucracy’s decision-making process is not top-down. Unlike the British cabinet, the American cabinet decides nothing; it is merely a collection of executive department heads. Policy is made not with a single order handed down from on high, but through horse-trading and political jockeying in ...

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 ...

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 ...


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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...
... 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 ...

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 ...

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