After the Battle

Matthew Coady

  • Misrule by Tam Dalyell
    Hamish Hamilton, 152 pp, £10.95, May 1987, ISBN 0 241 12170 1
  • One Man’s Judgement: An Autobiography by Lord Wheatley
    Butterworth, 230 pp, £15.95, July 1987, ISBN 0 406 10019 5
  • Changing Battlefields: The Challenge to the Labour Party by John Silkin
    Hamish Hamilton, 226 pp, £13.95, September 1987, ISBN 0 241 12171 X
  • Heseltine: The Unauthorised Biography by Julian Critchley
    Deutsch, 198 pp, £9.95, September 1987, ISBN 0 233 98001 6

Politics is as much about losers as winners, which is why the defeated repay attention as much as the victors. The vanquished, moreover, are 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 form. Where others may weary, falter and even stumble, he persists. Successive prime ministers, including those on his own side of the party divide, have flinched at the sight of his form rising from Westminster’s back benches. While no premier would choose to see himself as Macbeth, Dalyell relishes the role of Banquo’s ghost.

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