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Two Spots and a Bubo

Hugh Pennington: Use soap and water, 21 April 2005

Return of the Black Death: The World’s Greatest Serial Killer 
by Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan.
Wiley, 310 pp., £16.99, May 2004, 0 470 09000 6
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The Great Plague: The Story of London’s Most Deadly Year 
by Lloyd Moote and Dorothy Moote.
Johns Hopkins, 357 pp., £19.95, April 2004, 0 8018 7783 0
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Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World’s Most Dangerous Disease 
by Wendy Orent.
Free Press, 276 pp., £17.99, May 2004, 0 7432 3685 8
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... and his colleagues and published in the Lancet last November, has come in for similar criticism. Tony Blair prefers figures from the Iraqi Ministry of Health showing that 3853 civilians were killed between April and October 2004, and his government refers with statistical approval to the Iraqi Body Count Database, which reports 16,352 civilian deaths by 1 ...

Diary

Paul Foot: The Impotence of Alan Clark, 5 August 1993

... home: ‘I wouldn’t do it for anyone else.’ The fate of the Fur Labelling Order reminded me of Tony Benn’s dedicated efforts, while Postmaster General, to cut the Queen’s head off postage stamps. At the time it seemed to him an important gesture, not to republicanism (he was not yet a republican) but to the common sense of the common people – and the ...

Diary

Glen Newey: Life with WikiLeaks, 6 January 2011

... in virtue, may get travestied by the inwardly vicious. Everyone also suspects himself, as Scott Fitzgerald noted, of possessing at least one cardinal virtue. Where politicians continually have to flatter a demos that sees them as clay-footed, each citizen, banjaxed and blandished by turns, is apt to divine in himself a moral purity his political ...

Self-Positioning

Stefan Collini: The Movement, 25 June 2009

The Movement Reconsidered: Essays on Larkin, Amis, Gunn, Davie and Their Contemporaries 
edited by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 336 pp., £18.99, May 2009, 978 0 19 955825 4
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... alike, to identify a new tendency in contemporary writing, before, on 1 October 1954, J.D. Scott, the literary editor of the Spectator, published (anonymously) a leading article entitled ‘In the Movement’. Modern Britain, Scott argued, was emancipating itself from the old social hierarchies of the prewar ...

‘The Sun Says’

Paul Laity, 20 June 1996

... government’ and law and order have long been crusades of British tabloids, but now Tony Blair, sensitive to popular priorities after Labour’s four successive electoral defeats, also feels that Sun readers need courting. Not for nothing did he travel to Hayman Island, Australia to address News Corporation executives; and not for nothing is he ...
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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... John Smith was ‘one 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 sorely missing ...

Love in the Ruins

Nicolas Tredell, 8 October 1992

Out of the Rain 
by Glyn Maxwell.
Bloodaxe, 112 pp., £6.95, June 1992, 1 85224 193 4
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Body Politic 
by Tony Flynn.
Bloodaxe, 60 pp., £5.95, June 1992, 1 85224 129 2
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Red 
by Linda France.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £5.95, June 1992, 1 85224 178 0
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Red-Haired Android 
by Jeremy Reed.
Grafton, 280 pp., £7.99, July 1992, 9780586091845
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Leaf-Viewing 
by Peter Robinson, with an essay by Peter Swaab.
Robert Jones, 36 pp., £9.95, July 1992, 0 9514240 2 5
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... yuppies and lager louts, Essex Men and the Bright Young Things of Waugh and Huxley and Eliot and Scott Fitzgerald. The narrator describes the night of the flood, his glimpse of the entrance to the ark – ‘a dry risen corridor of light’ – and his own strange survival, borne out of the rain by a unicorn into a cottage full of animals – a cottage which ...

On Trying to Be Portugal

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Zionist Terrorism, 6 August 2009

‘A Senseless, Squalid War’: Voices from Palestine 1945-48 
by Norman Rose.
Bodley Head, 278 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 224 07938 9
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Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain’s War against Jewish Terrorism 1945-48 
by David Cesarani.
Heinemann, 290 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 434 01844 4
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... describes this turn using the example of one British newspaper, beginning at the moment when C.P. Scott, its famous proprietor-editor, took up the Zionist cause. No one would now say, as Orwell did late in 1945, that the left was ‘strongly committed to support the Jews against the Arabs’, and a long memory is needed to recall the days when what Gerald ...

Why the Tories Lost

Ross McKibbin, 3 July 1997

... were elected with more than 50 per cent of the votes cast in their constituencies, 44 (including Tony Blair and John Prescott) were elected with over 70 per cent, and two with over 80 per cent. By contrast, only 14 Conservatives won more than 50 per cent of the votes cast. The most successful Conservative, John Major in Huntingdon, received 55.3 per cent of ...

A Human Kafka

Gabriel Josipovici, 5 March 1981

The World of Franz Kafka 
edited by J.P. Stern.
Weidenfeld, 263 pp., £9.95, January 1981, 0 297 77845 5
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... quality into focus. Was our curiosity about Kafka any different from our curiosity about Joyce or Scott Fitzgerald? It was, but how and why? Answers to these questions began to emerge as more and more of his writings began to appear: his diaries, his letter to his father, the batch of letters to Milena Jesenska and, finally, the enormous volume of letters to ...

Zero Grazing

John Ryle, 5 November 1992

To Blight with Plague: Studies in a Literary Theme 
by Barbara Fass Leavy.
New York, 237 pp., £27.95, August 1992, 0 8147 5059 1
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Epidemics and Ideas: Essays on the Historical Perception of Pestilence 
edited by Terence Ranger and Paul Slack.
Cambridge, 346 pp., £35, April 1992, 9780521402767
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The Fourth Horseman: A Short History of Epidemics, Plagues and Other Scourges 
by Andrew Nikiforuk.
Fourth Estate, 200 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 1 85702 051 0
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In Time of Plague: The History and Social Consequences of Lethal Epidemic Disease 
edited by Arien Mack.
New York, 272 pp., $35, November 1991, 0 8147 5467 8
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Miasmas and Disease: Public Health and the Environment in the Pre-Industrial Age 
by Carlo Cipolla, translated by Elizabeth Potter.
Yale, 101 pp., £16.95, March 1992, 0 300 04806 8
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International Journal of STD and Aids. Vol. II, Supplement I: Aids and the Epidemics of History 
edited by Harry Rolin, Richard Creese and Ronald Mann.
Royal Society of Medicine, January 2000, 0 00 956462 4
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Monopolies of Loss 
by Adam Mars-Jones.
Faber, 250 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 571 16691 1
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Aids in Africa: Its Present and Future Impact 
edited by Tony Barrett and Piers Blaikie.
Belhaven, 193 pp., £35, January 1992, 1 85293 115 9
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... in the wake of Aids. How close is the analogy with syphilis in the field of public health? G.R. Scott argues – also in Aids and the Epidemics of History – that the present state of knowledge about Aids parallels that of syphilis in the Twenties or Thirties: the cause of the disease and the means of transmission are understood, he asserts (perhaps too ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... May 2nd is the date of Joseph McCarthy’s death and J. Edgar Hoover’s. It is the date of Tony Blair’s 1997 election victory and the day in 1982 on which a British navy submarine torpedoed the General Belgrano. Soon after colleagues at Camp Abu Naji woke up to news of Anthony Wakefield’s death, Lynndie England would appear in a Texas court to ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... to read the signs, the measured droop of Lord Bragg’s handkerchief, the precise organisation of Tony Blair’s latest consensus hair policy, Lord Archer’s ironic, pre-penitentiary crop, the way Andrew Motion carries off his loden coat as he swirls between taxi and station platform. Julian Barnes’s novels are depilated at source, fat-free. Frisking them ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... from the Home Office. 4 October, L’Espiessac. Staying at the house for a couple of days is Scott Harrison, a young man who once worked as a barman for Lynn W. but is now a photographer, working on a hospital ship which plies up and down the coast of West Africa where it berths at various ports and treats the local population, particularly those ...

Out of the Gothic

Tom Shippey, 5 February 1987

Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction 
by Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove.
Gollancz, 511 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 575 03942 6
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Eon 
by Greg Bear.
Gollancz, 504 pp., £10.95, October 1986, 0 575 03861 6
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts 
by Douglas Adams.
Heinemann, 590 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 434 00920 2
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland 
by Philip K. Dick.
Gollancz, 199 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 575 03875 6
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The Watcher 
by Jane Palmer.
Women’s Press, 177 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4038 0
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I, Vampire 
by Jody Scott.
Women’s Press, 206 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4036 4
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... a conviction that social conditions are epiphenomena. Aldiss cites David Lodge’s argument that Tony-Bungay is a better novel than it appears because it insists on spreading its focus from the Ponderevos and Bladesover House to ‘the Condition of England’ itself. In similar style, one could argue that much ‘near-Science Fiction’ gets misread because ...

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