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Incompetence at the War Office

Simon Jenkins: Politics and Pistols at Dawn, 18 December 2008

The Duel: Castlereagh, Canning and Deadly Cabinet Rivalry 
by Giles Hunt.
Tauris, 214 pp., £20, January 2008, 978 1 84511 593 7
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... At five o’clock in the morning on 21 September 1809, two men set out from London in two carriages and headed for Putney Heath. They brought two seconds, two sets of pistols, two hatreds and a total misunderstanding about what had recently passed between them. They then fought a duel. One was unscathed and the other received a flesh wound to his thigh, narrowly avoiding an artery ...

The Leader’s Cheerleaders

Simon Jenkins: Party Funding in Britain, 20 September 2007

The Cost of Democracy: Party Funding in Modern British Politics 
by K.D. Ewing.
Hart, 279 pp., £30, March 2007, 978 1 84113 716 2
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... Men are dying daily to bring Western democracy to supposedly less advanced parts of the world. Its export is the chief cause of conflict between the developed and the developing world, in Asia, Africa and Latin America. But how healthy is that democracy? Most people assume that its requirements are met by a periodic visit to a polling booth, but dictators can arrange that ...

Politician’s War

Tam Dalyell, 3 March 1983

The Battle for the Falklands 
by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins.
Joseph, 384 pp., £10.95, February 1983, 0 7181 2228 3
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... In the opening paragraph of their important book on the Falklands War, Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins write: ‘So extraordinary an event was it that, even after men began to die, many of those taking part felt as if they had been swept away into fantasy, that the ships sinking and the guns firing round them had somehow escaped from a television screen in the living-room ...

Nostalgia for the Vestry

James Buchan: Thatcherism, 30 November 2006

Thatcher and Sons: A Revolution in Three Acts 
by Simon Jenkins.
Allen Lane, 375 pp., £20, October 2006, 0 7139 9595 5
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... down: discord, harmony, error, truth, despair and hope, often at the same time. In doing so, Simon Jenkins argues in his new book, she set in train a pair of revolutions which continue to do whatever revolutions do – revolve? – today. The first revolution is the one everybody knows about and, with few exceptions, accepts as a precondition for ...

Diary

Ian Aitken: Closing Time at the Last Chance Saloon, 6 August 1992

... that its purpose (apart from making money) is to do down the Labour Party. I have no idea whether Simon Jenkins, the Time’s highly civilised editor, whose resignation precipitated the offer to Mr Dacre, really did intend to quit after two or three years, as he says he did. Nor do I know whether his departure was as amicable as he and his employers ...

William Rodgers reads the papers

William Rodgers, 19 February 1987

The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... its revenue, the company was vested in trustees. But the press as a whole had no such luck. As Simon Jenkins has reminded us, the great proprietors bought and sold their newspapers for power, prestige and, they hoped, money. The brothers Harmsworth launched the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror while Scott was wrestling with Home Rule for Ireland and the ...

Monopoly Mule

Anthony Howard, 25 January 1996

Plant Here the ‘Standard’ 
by Dennis Griffiths.
Macmillan, 417 pp., £35, November 1995, 0 333 55565 1
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... Even in his later incarnation – when he was brought back to succeed his own chosen dauphin Simon Jenkins (an episode rather slidden over in this book) – he fought all the might of Associated Newspapers with remarkable ferocity and daring, finally winning the war when in 1980 the Evening News was merged with the Evening Standard rather than the ...

Sir Jim

Reyner Banham, 22 May 1980

Memoirs of an Unjust Fella: An Autobiography 
by J.M. Richards.
Weidenfeld, 279 pp., £10, March 1980, 9780297777670
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... of the ‘failure of Modern architecture’ has been a lucrative occupation for the likes of Simon Jenkins, but unlike Jenkins, Richards was the Great Insider. As he said in ‘The Hollow Victory’, he was ‘in the middle of the campaign for modern architecture’, and sure enough, among the illustrations to ...

Diary

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

... NHS always cry out against the past. They see only ugliness and failure, never success, and, like Simon Jenkins writing in the Guardian last month, they seem content to throw out the baby, the bathwater, the taps, along with the reservoir supplying the taps. Jenkins is right when he says there are too many back-office ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: You had better look out, 10 December 1998

... of Major Ltd by Blair & Co. Nor did I expect to be reproved, however gently, for indiscretion by Simon Jenkins on the op-ed page of the Times – as if I hadn’t cleared what I proposed to print with anyone quoted directly who might have suffered in consequence, or would have dreamed of disclosing to LRB readers without ...
Goldenballs 
by Richard Ingrams.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 144 pp., £4.25
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... buy a newspaper, began to back down and to deal with Ingrams for a settlement. Ingrams describes Simon Jenkins, then editor of the Evening Standard, bringing Goldsmith’s final peace terms to him in a coffee bar, when it looked as if Goldsmith might buy the ailing Standard. At that point, Ingrams, too, was ready to settle: The strain of an apparently ...

Bus Lane Strategy

Tristram Hunt: London Governments, 31 October 2002

Governing London 
by Ben Pimlott and Nirmala Rao.
Oxford, 208 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 19 924492 8
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... an executive mayor included Michael Heseltine (the hammer of the GLC), the Evening Standard and Simon Jenkins, a long-standing critic of London council bungling. Opposition to the idea was led by Labour’s Environment spokesman, the former Camden councillor Frank Dobson – an irony not lost on the future mayoral candidate. Blair decided on directly ...

Will the Empire ever end?

John Lloyd, 27 January 1994

Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics 
by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Oxford, 221 pp., £17.95, March 1993, 0 19 827787 3
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Nations and Politics in the Soviet Successor States 
edited by Ian Bremner and Ray Taras.
Cambridge, 577 pp., £55, December 1993, 0 521 43281 2
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The Post-Soviet Nations 
edited by Alexander Motyl.
Columbia, 322 pp., £23, November 1993, 0 231 07894 3
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The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence 
by Anatol Lieven.
Yale, 454 pp., £22.50, June 1993, 0 300 05552 8
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... Nearer home, the continued intractability of the Northern Ireland conflict has led Simon Jenkins, in the Spectator, to condemn the current initiative by the British and Irish Governments to hold new talks on the province for its ‘centralism’. Instead, Jenkins offers the prospect of devolution to ...

Hobnobbing

Simon Hoggart, 24 April 1997

Michael Heseltine: A Biography 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 496 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 241 13691 1
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... been insulted for their intellectual shortcomings. One (possibly apocryphal) story about Roy Jenkins illustrates the point. He’d been persuaded by a Welsh colleague to hobnob with some of the lads. ‘Buy ’em a drink, Roy. They’ll always remember your kindness and they’ll be flattered you sought them out.’ So ...

Cold-Shouldered

James Wood: John Carey, 8 March 2001

Pure Pleasure: A Guide to the 20th Century’s Most Enjoyable Books 
by John Carey.
Faber, 173 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 571 20448 1
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... to readers of the Sunday Times and the Spectator. Carey’s cousins in populism sometimes include Simon Jenkins, Paul Johnson, A.N. Wilson and the late Auberon Waugh. An easy moralism animates this worldview. Picasso was a pig; Edmund Gosse was ‘a bore’; D.H. Lawrence hit Frieda and wanted to exterm-inate whole races; Virginia Woolf was a pretentious ...

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