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Bus Lane Strategy

Tristram Hunt: London Governments, 31 October 2002

Governing London 
by Ben Pimlott and Nirmala Rao.
Oxford, 208 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 19 924492 8
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... It’s unlikely that Sidney Webb features in Tony Blair’s pantheon of political heroes. It would, in fact, be difficult to think of a less likely match for Tony and Cherie than Sidney and Beatrice. Yet, after almost a century, the Webbs’ thinking about local government – their disdain for civic initiative and zeal for state uniformity – still appears to influence Labour Party policy ...

Herberts & Herbertinas

Rosemary Hill: Steven Runciman, 20 October 2016

Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman 
by Minoo Dinshaw.
Penguin, 767 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 0 241 00493 7
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... two sons, followed his brother, Leslie, to Eton, where he was a contemporary and friend of Eric Blair. In later life he was much irritated by questions from the compilers of the ‘Orwelliad’, as he called them, asking him for his impressions of a person who, as he pointed out, he had not by then seen for 77 years. This didn’t stop him from supplying ...

Leave me alone

Terry Eagleton: Terry Eagleton joins the Yeomen, 30 April 2009

What Price Liberty? How Freedom Was Won and Is Being Lost 
by Ben Wilson.
Faber, 480 pp., £14.99, June 2009, 978 0 571 23594 0
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... but liberty as the right to be cussedly, bloody-mindedly oneself. ‘John is John,’ as Tony Blair wryly murmured of John Prescott when he punched a demonstrator, suggests something of this tautological quality. This brand of liberty is not in principle opposed to authority, not least because without its minatory presence it would have nothing to grumble ...

Help-Self

Jenny Diski: Alastair Campbell’s Dodgy Novel, 6 November 2008

All in the Mind 
by Alastair Campbell.
Hutchinson, 297 pp., £17.99, November 2008, 978 0 09 192578 9
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... with their problems . . . Oh, let me evade for a moment more. Campbell’s first book was The Blair Years. That was not a novel, but an account of being spin-doctor supreme in the government of Tony Blair. As Blair’s director of communications and strategy and then adviser, Campbell ...

Motherblame

Anna Vaux: Motherhood, 21 May 1998

Bad Mothers: The Politics of Blame in 20th-Century America 
edited by Molly Ladd-Taylor and Lauri Umansky.
New York, 416 pp., £16, April 1998, 0 8147 5119 9
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Madonna and Child: Towards a New Politics of Motherhood 
by Melissa Benn.
Cape, 288 pp., £12.99, January 1998, 0 224 03821 4
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... from Work and Says Where’s My Supper? The Man Who Has Never Made a Bed in His Life’. Even Tony Blair (who grew up in an era when feminism should have had an influence, says Benn) knows where the washing machine is, but is not (Cherie once confessed) ‘intimate’ with it. Occasionally it appears as though Benn’s ...

Saved and Depoliticised at One Stroke

Jeremy Harding: The Dangers of Intervention, 17 July 2008

... for the internationals. (Matrix Chambers took on the brief, and it was a short step, via Cherie Booth, from the verdict to a full conspiracy theory involving Tony Blair.) Years ago, in western Kosovo, I stumbled on a lone Albanian family, one of many who’d crept back to the ruins of a village destroyed a few ...

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