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Tam Dalyell: Yesterday’s News, 18 September 1986

... One of the reasons I like being asked to write for the London Review of Books is that it is one of the few publications in Britain that allow a writer to return to old ground. Most papers insist on the semblance, at least, of some new slant, if not on new facts. Otherwise it’s yesterday’s news. The situation has, I believe, dire consequences for public life ...

After the Battle

Matthew Coady, 26 November 1987

by Tam Dalyell.
Hamish Hamilton, 152 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 241 12170 1
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One Man’s Judgement: An Autobiography 
by Lord Wheatley.
Butterworth, 230 pp., £15.95, July 1987, 0 406 10019 5
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Changing Battlefields: The Challenge to the Labour Party 
by John Silkin.
Hamish Hamilton, 226 pp., £13.95, September 1987, 9780241121719
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Heseltine: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Julian Critchley.
Deutsch, 198 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 0 233 98001 6
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... usually more candid. In their accounts the bruises tend to show; so does the anger. The fury of Mr Tam Dalyell, Labour Member of Parliament for Linlithgow, at his inability to damage the Prime Minister over her role in the Belgrano affair and other matters, borders upon the uncontainable. He is the politician who has turned tenacity into an art ...
The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons 
HMSO, 46 pp., £3.95, December 1982Show More
Sea Change 
by Keith Speed.
Ashgrove Press, 194 pp., £7.95, December 1982, 0 906798 20 5
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One Man’s Falklands 
by Tam Dalyell.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.50, December 1982, 0 900821 65 5
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War in the Falklands: The Campaign in Pictures 
Weidenfeld, 154 pp., £7.95, November 1982, 0 297 78202 9Show More
Armed Forces and the Welfare Societies: Challenges in the 1980s 
edited by Gwyn Harries-Jenkins.
Macmillan, 281 pp., £20, December 1982, 0 333 33542 2
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... In all, 255 task-force lives were lost in the operation. A further 777 were injured but, pace Tarn Dalyell, who has already asked more than three hundred Parliamentary questions about the war, the majority were not ‘maimed for life’: indeed, seven hundred are said to be fully employed. Some thirty-four aircraft were lost (including nine helicopters aboard ...

Seductive Intentions

John Ziman, 2 August 1984

A Science Policy for Britain 
by Tam Dalyell.
Longman, 135 pp., £5.95, September 1983, 0 582 90257 6
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... so inconclusive: the parties stand firmly at opposite poles, and shout past each other. If, like Tam Dalyell, your basic political philosophy is progressive, then you seize upon the intentional character of science, and make your case on the assumption that well-planned research is an effective way of opening a path to any desired goal. What society can ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: Brexit and the SNP, 3 November 2016

... In​ his recent book, The Question of Scotland: Devolution and After (Birlinn, £9.99) Tam Dalyell, for many years the Labour MP for West Lothian, identifies several points at which the march of Scottish nationalism could have been halted. His list is typically eccentric: had Willie Whitelaw succeeded Ted Heath, Scotland’s industrial base would have been saved from Thatcherism; had Geoffrey Crowther, chair of the Royal Commission on the Constitution, not died of a heart attack at Heathrow in 1972, the commission would never have recommended setting up a Scottish parliament ...

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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... may still have had a few qualms when they saw their man in the flesh. A photograph reproduced in Tam Dalyell’s peculiar but highly entertaining memoir of Crossman gives some idea of what he might have looked like. It shows the young Dick seated in the centre of a group of five Winchester scholars. Grave and gowned, he looks out with supreme ...


Stephen Sharp: The ‘Belgrano’ and Me, 8 May 2014

... meetings with the intention of discussing the Falklands with him, but this was now history and Tam Dalyell didn’t seem interested in answering my letters. A member of the party had prostate cancer and ‘PC’ started appearing on number plates. It meant either ‘President Clinton’ or ‘Prostate Cancer’. I prayed to God that the president ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... W.G. Runciman, Neal Ascherson, Christopher Hitchens, R.W. Johnson, Ross McKibbin, E.P. Thompson, Tam Dalyell and Peter Clarke. What they wrote seemed excellent to me, with Runciman bearing the palm for aphoristic conciseness. In embarking on a review, also in 1989, of Hugo Young’s biography of her, R.W. Johnson was also concise: ‘personally, she is ...

After the war

Diana Gould, 15 November 1984

Another Story: Women and the Falklands War 
by Jean Carr, introduced by Jane Ewart-Biggs.
Hamish Hamilton, 162 pp., £7.50, October 1984, 0 241 11391 1
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... a peaceful solution to the problem of the Falkland Islands. In a recent London Review of Books, Tam Dalyell has highlighted the vast increase in the armaments the Argentinians possess compared with what they had in 1982. Paul Rogers, defence analyst at Bradford University, can show that 74 strike aircraft lost by the Argentine Air Force during the ...


Glen Newey: Life with WikiLeaks, 6 January 2011

... a rat sandwich with the authorities. When Ponting, having been tried for passing information to Tam Dalyell about the sinking of the General Belgrano in the Falklands War, was acquitted on public interest grounds, the government stipulated in the Official Secrets Act 1989 that the ‘public interest’ is what the government of the day takes it to ...

The Road to Goose Green

Paul Rogers, 15 September 1983

... of these unprovoked attacks the previous day. Careful Parliamentary questioning, notably by Tarn Dalyell,* coupled with inquiries from journalists such as Paul Foot and from defence analysts, has shown that all of these assertions are false. The Conqueror had been shadowing the cruiser for over thirty hours with orders to attack only if it entered the ...

Boofy’s Bill

Alex Harvey, 18 September 1997

... accepted this. Abse’s rather florid taste in waistcoats had already made him conspicuous. Tam Dalyell begged him not to ‘wear his funny dresses’ but Abse’s idiosyncrasies seemed to help the cause along. All his speeches assumed that no MP had ever taken part in such depraved activity. Homosexuals were a handicapped species, completely alien ...

What is this Bernard?

Christopher Hitchens, 10 January 1991

Good and Faithful Servant: The Unauthorised Biography of Bernard Ingham 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 202 pp., £14.99, December 1990, 0 571 16108 1
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... whined at the withdrawal of his megaphone from their ears. Nor did any Member of Parliament – Tam Dalyell excepted – raise the constitutional point made by Harris that ‘in the past, the rule which Prime Ministers had insisted upon was that the Cabinet could argue strenuously in private, but that in public a united front must be presented. Mrs ...

Beyond Proportional Representation

David Marquand, 18 February 1982

The People and the Party System: The Referendum and Electoral Reform in British Politics 
by Vernon Bogdanor.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £20, September 1981, 9780521242073
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... and perhaps even make governments. We applaud the gritty independence of a George Cunningham or a Tam Dalyell; we rejoice when a backbench revolt emasculates a Government measure; we call for stronger committees, more independent of the Whips; we deplore the mania for secrecy that dominates Whitehall. But on a different level, on the level of actual ...

Calcutta in the Cotswolds

David Gilmour: What did the British do for India?, 3 March 2005

Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India 
by Elizabeth Buettner.
Oxford, 324 pp., £25, July 2004, 0 19 924907 5
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... and became a music teacher. Another Loch maverick, whose father took his mother’s name, is Tam Dalyell, the Father of the House of Commons and indefatigable critic of British foreign policy. But he was only 14 at the time of Indian independence. The roll-call of families might give the impression that a vast British population was settled over a ...

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