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Balfour’s Ghost

Peter Clarke, 20 March 1997

Why Vote Conservative? 
by David Willetts.
Penguin, 108 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026304 7
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Why Vote Liberal Democrat? 
by William Wallace.
Penguin, 120 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026303 9
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Why Vote Labour? 
by Tony Wright.
Penguin, 111 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026397 7
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... though not, it seems, too radical for the Liberal Democrats, if they form the next government. If. Tony Wright, in Why Vote Labour?, is more cautious about what to expect from a Blair government, no doubt partly because he has left the infinite world of ‘if’ for the finite world of ‘when’. Thus Wallace declares a commitment to raise income tax on ...

Staggering on

Stephen Howe, 23 May 1996

The ‘New Statesman’: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-31 
by Adrian Smith.
Cass, 340 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 7146 4645 8
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... of its first manifestation, and does not seem to be a great admirer of either Ramsay MacDonald or Tony Blair. Few of the major personalities involved in founding the paper emerge with unmixed credit from Smith’s account, least of all Clifford Sharp. Sharp’s political judgment is subjected to repeated censure, but his personal qualities leave even more to ...

What Bill and What Rights?

Stephen Sedley, 5 June 1997

... party-controlled executive has, if anything, been consolidated. As the political scientist and MP Tony Wright has written: It is important to understand how parties have substituted for a constitution in Britain. They have filled all the vast empty spaces in the political system where a constitution should be and made the system in their own image. A ...

Fog has no memory

Jonathan Meades: Postwar Colour(lessness), 19 July 2018

The Tiger in the Smoke: Art and Culture in Postwar Britain 
by Lynda Nead.
Yale, 416 pp., £35, October 2017, 978 0 300 21460 4
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... file, begs importunately and steals. Its leader (played by a choice cut of period beefcake called Tony Wright) is a murderer. They might be revenants from a Neue Sachlichkeit painting. Fog permeates every shot. It seeps into houses. According to Nead: ‘The fogs of the 1950s were different … from the fogs of Conan Doyle and Henry James. They drew on ...
Sleaze: Politicians, Private Interests and Public Reaction 
edited by F.F. Ridley and Alan Doig.
Oxford, 222 pp., £10.99, April 1996, 0 19 922273 8
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Changing Trains: The Autobiography of Steven Norris 
Hutchinson, 273 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 09 180212 1Show More
The Quango Debate 
edited by F.F. Ridley and David Wilson.
Oxford, 188 pp., £10.99, September 1995, 9780199222384
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... information, have had very little success in exposing the prevailing sleaze. The Labour MP Tony Wright is quoted in these essays as saying that ‘not one resignation has been forced by information uncovered by MPs.’ The Commons, he remarked, has been ‘a mere echo chamber for noises off’. This, at least, has not changed. Lord Salmon’s 1976 ...

Getting on

Paul Addison, 9 October 1986

On Living in an Old Country 
by Patrick Wright.
Verso, 262 pp., £5.95, September 1985, 0 86091 833 5
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Religion and Public Doctrine in Modern England. Vol. II: Assaults 
by Maurice Cowling.
Cambridge, 375 pp., £30, November 1985, 0 521 25959 2
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... Here are two books about the relationship of the English to their past. According to Patrick Wright, England is a reactionary society burdened by a false mystique of national identity. To dissolve that mystique must be one of the first priorities of democratic socialists in establishing an alternative society with a renewed faith in its capacity for progress ...

In a Dry Place

Nicolas Tredell, 11 October 1990

On the Look-Out: A Partial Autobiography 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 85635 758 8
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In Two Minds: Guesses at Other Writers 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 296 pp., £18.95, September 1990, 0 85635 877 0
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... Charing Cross Road’. Occasionally, the day’s work done, he goes to pubs and meets poets: David Wright, ‘a literary instrument of precision’, and a long-time friend and supporter; Patrick Kavanagh, who was to be approached ‘with a large whisky in one’s outstretched hand’; George Barker, first seen ‘wearing a check suit and cap, all very new, as ...

A Journey through Ruins

Patrick Wright, 18 September 1986

The Infant and the Pearl 
by Douglas Oliver.
Ferry Press, 28 pp., £2, December 1985
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... Labour Left? Wouldn’t bureaucracy make an altogether more serious demon than poor Aaronovitch or Tony Benn? Oliver seems to take his leave at about this point, pleading innocent of any reference to the real political world and claiming in a prefatory note that his poem speaks only of ‘the phantasmagoria that flit across the world of the media and float ...

Omnipresent Eye

Patrick Wright: The Nixon/Mao Show, 16 August 2007

Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Murray, 384 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 7195 6522 7
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... MacMillan triumphed with that earlier volume, an unexpected bestseller that was praised by Tony Blair as ‘a fascinating piece of history’. Peacemakers is a brilliantly vivid study, which succeeds remarkably in evoking procedures and arguments that might well have seemed exhausting, remote and dry as dust. It also made clear that MacMillan is not ...


Paul Driver, 19 August 1993

Shining Brow 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 86 pp., £5.99, February 1993, 0 571 16789 6
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... He is Daron Aric Hagen, and Shining Brow is an opera about the early life of Frank Lloyd Wright, commissioned by Madison Opera, Wisconsin, Wright’s home state. The work was premièred there in April, but not having heard it, I cannot speak for the opera’s music. That, though, would not appear to be much of a ...


David Runciman: Dylan on the radio, 19 July 2007

... about how to be a DJ. He studied the best he could find, including Kenny Everett and Steve Wright in the UK, and Howard Stern, king of the shock-jocks, in the US. All three were wacky, eccentric rule-breakers, and in the case of Everett and Stern risqué by the standards of their contemporaries. But Moyles saw that this wasn’t what made them so ...

Stainless Steel Banana Slicer

David Trotter, 18 March 2021

Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form 
by Sianne Ngai.
Harvard, 401 pp., £28.95, June 2020, 978 0 674 98454 7
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... of its incubation before and after the Second World War.In June 1939, Joe Jacobs, the manager of Tony Galento, an Italian American brawler who was about to enter the ring against the great Joe Louis, announced that he didn’t like what Louis had supposedly done the previous year to the rather more agile and skilful Max Schmeling. Louis, he claimed, had made ...

Little England

Patrick Wright: The view through a bus window, 7 September 2006

Great British Bus Journeys: Travels through Unfamous Places 
by David McKie.
Atlantic, 359 pp., £16.99, March 2006, 1 84354 132 7
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... way to Labour’s ‘Scottish Raj’, as Jeremy Paxman put it in March 2005. Paxman’s target was Tony Blair’s ‘attack dog’ John Reid, a Glaswegian former Communist who, having enjoyed the hospitality of Radovan Karadzic in 1993, now concentrates on bullying civil servants in the Home Office. The Scottish Raj has included Blair and Gordon Brown from the ...


David Reynolds: The Real Mrs Miniver, 25 April 2002

The Real Mrs Miniver 
by Ysenda Maxtone Graham.
Murray, 314 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 7195 5541 8
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Mrs Miniver 
by Jan Struther.
Virago, 153 pp., £7.99, November 2001, 1 85381 090 8
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... much the embodiment of her own favourite word, ‘zest’. In 1923 she married a Lloyd’s broker, Tony Maxtone Graham; she wrote poems, hymns and short stories, and did well. They had three children and lived in style in Chelsea. After a decade, however, the marriage went cold. His life began to revolve around cars and golf; she retaliated with botany and ...
Who Framed Colin Wallace? 
by Paul Foot.
Macmillan, 306 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 333 47008 7
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... who helped maintain the minority Labour government in power was fair game. Thanks to Peter Wright’s revelations we are more or less familiar with what went on in this period, though it is important to say that Wallace was the first to make public admission of these campaigns, well before Wright. Homosexual smears ...

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