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Law and Class

Francis Bennion

1 May 1980
Respectable Rebels 
edited by Roger King.
Hodder, 200 pp., £10.95, October 1979, 0 340 23164 5
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The Judge 
by Patrick Devlin.
Oxford, 207 pp., £7.50, September 1979, 0 19 215949 6
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Human Rights 
edited by F.E. Dowrick.
Saxon House, 223 pp., £9.70, July 1979, 0 566 00281 7
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In on the Act 
by Sir HaroldKent.
Macmillan, 273 pp., £8.95, September 1979, 0 333 27120 3
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Law, Justice and Social Policy 
by Rosalind Brooke.
Croom Helm, 136 pp., £7.95, October 1979, 0 85664 636 9
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Inequality, Crime and Public Policy 
by John Braithwaite.
Routledge, 332 pp., £10.75, November 1979, 0 7100 0323 4
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... enacted. Devlin the law-dispenser shows glimpses of English upper-middle-class hubris: Sir HaroldKent the law-maker revels in it. One aspect is his disdain for what another law-maker (otherwise draftsman) known to me used to call ‘tinted gentlemen’. Devlin says it is even-handed justice rather than law ...

Shoulder-Shrugging

Julian Critchley

11 December 1997
Dear Bill: Bill Deedes Reports 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 333 71386 9
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... enjoyed an excess of charm, and was a moderate in a party that was beginning to lose patience with Harold Macmillan. I thought him the most influential of Tory backbenchers, more so than Major Morrison, the bucolic chairman of the 1922 Committee, or buffoons like Gerald Nabarro. After the ‘Night of the Long Knives’, when Macmillan was panicked by a typical ...

Even Uglier

Terry Eagleton: Music Hall

20 December 2012
My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall 
by John Major.
Harper, 363 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 00 745013 8
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... would sing his songs with what this book enigmatically describes as ‘teddy bear gestures’. Harold Macmillan could do a superb impersonation of the languid patrician he actually was, while Harold Wilson could imitate his true identity as a bluff, plain-speaking Yorkshireman to perfection. David Cameron once worked for ...

Scoop after Scoop

Ian Jack: Chapman Pincher’s Scoops

4 June 2014
Dangerous to Know: A Life 
by Chapman Pincher.
Biteback, 386 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 84954 651 5
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... He denies any particular bias against Labour governments, and is sorry to have fallen out with Harold Wilson (who later expressed sadness that he hadn’t known Pincher was a fellow Yorkshireman, telling him: ‘It would have made a difference, you know’). But while it may be true that he needled Tory as well as Labour administrations, provoking ...

Plonking

Ferdinand Mount: Edward Heath

22 July 2010
Edward Heath 
by Philip Ziegler.
Harper, 654 pp., £25, June 2010, 978 0 00 724740 0
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... explained it. Ted’s father and grandfather were convivial, easygoing men, rooted in their native Kent, fond of a drink and ready to pinch any passing bottom. On his 80th birthday, Heath père, who had started life as a carpenter and later done pretty well as a builder in Broadstairs, was asked if he had any regrets and said: ‘Yes, that the permissive ...
13 May 1999
... in being both economical and spendthrift with the truth. Acceptable glories – the knighting of Sir Francis Drake and Sir Francis Chichester, visits by Samuel Pepys, location work for the latest Jane Austen or for Harrison Ford (more bombs) in Patriot Games – are trumpeted, while the dark history of the Greenwich ...

Wedded to the Absolute

Ferdinand Mount: Enoch Powell

26 September 2019
Enoch Powell: Politics and Ideas in Modern Britain 
by Paul Corthorn.
Oxford, 233 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 0 19 874714 7
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... nobody, not even Oswald Mosley or Richard Nixon, was capable of radiating such unease in company. Harold Macmillan couldn’t stand having Powell opposite him in cabinet looking ‘like Savonarola eyeing one of the more disreputable popes’. So he relocated Enoch way down the table where he couldn’t catch his glittering eye. There is only one passage in ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012

3 January 2013
... then pounced on by some young man who asks if he may introduce the (slightly bewildered) Duke of Kent. We have an awkward few minutes but the day is saved by Clive Swift, whose son Joe has just won a medal at Chelsea. HRH knows about Chelsea and so brightens considerably. Meanwhile lurking by the door HMQ is due to come through is Kate O’Mara and when I ...
22 July 1993
Edward Heath: A Biography 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 876 pp., £20, July 1993, 0 224 02482 5
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... his legitimate successor, just as Eden later forced a smile of approval when Macmillan took over. Sir Alec Douglas-Home, a pocket-sized Balfour, emulated him both in deferring to the Party’s wish for change at the top and in serving under his successor. That successor was Edward Heath, the first leader to be elected under elaborate new rules adopted by the ...

The Person in the Phone Booth

David Trotter: Phone Booths

28 January 2010
... being recognised? Of course, better things do happen in phone booths, at least in fiction. Clark Kent and Dr Who regularly disappear into booths maintained to high standards of hygiene in order to pick up where they left off as extra-terrestrials. The time-travelling booth that launched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) had a curious retractable ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe

27 September 2012
All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... life: who each woman was – or wished to be – when she was alone with herself. For same-sex desire, she implies, has as much to do with introspection as it does with carnality, and in the ‘inopportune ardour’ of her subjects she recognises the potential for a certain radical mental freedom. It makes sense: to embrace one’s sapphic feelings – to ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester: A Memoir

5 July 2001
... Later there was a lot of rushing about that I certainly couldn’t control and didn’t even desire. A nice boy called Alan Mindel slipped on some polished linoleum as he raced around, hit his chin on the veneer of a rosewood dressing-table, and had to have a couple of stitches put in. My mother reacted with fury and gave me a beating in front of several ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan

7 June 2018
... see into his kitchen and she thought at the time that the fire wasn’t very big. There was no siren sounding but some of the other neighbours were woken up by knocks at their doors and they too came out. A call was made to North Kensington fire brigade at 12.54. Maryam Adam left the building immediately. She didn’t even pick up her phone, a fact that ...

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