Tam Dalyell

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. Those in power come to believe that because the world is always ‘moving on’ they will not be held accountable for their actions. Chickens do not come home to roost any more.

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[*] The Oxford Book of Political Anecdotes edited by Paul Johnson. Oxford, 270 pp., £10.95, 18 September, 0 19 21421 X.