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Nanny knows best

Michael Stewart, 4 June 1987

Kinnock 
by Michael Leapman.
Unwin Hyman, 217 pp., £11.95, May 1987, 0 04 440006 3
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The Thatcher Years: A Decade of Revolution in British Politics 
by John Cole.
BBC, 216 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 563 20572 5
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Thatcherism and British Politics: The End of Consensus? 
by Dennis Kavanagh.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 19 827522 6
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The New Right: The Counter-Revolution in Political, Social and Economic Thought 
by David Green.
Wheatsheaf, 238 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 7450 0127 0
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... Kinnock out of the script for good. He is a young man – at 45, four years younger even than David Owen and David Steel; and the electoral college system, with its 40 per cent trade-union weighting, makes him reasonably invulnerable to coups from left or right. As long as he wants to go on leading the Labour Party ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Milosevic is delivered to the Hague, 19 July 2001

... about the time-servers – quite a lot, if he wants to air it, on Richard Holbrooke, Douglas Hurd, David Owen. On the UN, which is less a matter of dishing dirt than asking very basic questions, he is in a trickier position. In March 1999, Nato was in breach of international law and until quite recently, Milosevic was a stickler for international law. But ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: On Not Being Egocentric Enough, 4 August 1983

... this hotchpotch of a party will expire before the next general election. Incidentally, how much David Owen must be regretting that the SDP is still alive. If he had remained in the Labour Party nothing could have prevented his becoming its leader. Perhaps the Executive Committee of the Labour Party could dispatch a telegram saying: ‘Come back, ...

Diary

Clive James: Lord's Day, 7 February 1985

... Parliament. The argument against was rehearsed at the eleventh hour by Lord Chalfont, talking to David Dimbleby on BBC 1. Lord Chalfont was against the televising of the House of Lords because he suspected that it was just a stratagem on the part of the broadcasters so that they could force the door of the House of Commons, after which the House of ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: The Mosleys and Other Affairs, 17 November 1983

... SDP will die before next time; there seem to be quite enough parties without it. I suppose that Dr David Owen now regrets going over to the SDP. If he had remained in the Labour Party he would now be its leader. The Liberals put on a spirited performance to as little effect as ever. The Labour Party Conference was overshadowed by the question of who was ...

Old Europe

Jeremy Harding: Britain in Bosnia, 20 February 2003

Indictment at The Hague: The Milosevic Regime and the Crimes of the Balkan Wars 
by Norman Cigar and Paul Williams.
New York, 339 pp., $24.95, July 2002, 0 8147 1626 1
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Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia 
by Brendan Simms.
Penguin, 464 pp., £8.99, July 2002, 0 14 028983 6
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Under Orders: War Crimes in Kosovo 
by Fred Abrahams.
Human Rights Watch, 593 pp., £18, October 2001, 1 56432 264 5
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Milosevic: A Biography 
by Adam LeBor.
Bloomsbury, 386 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 7475 6090 0
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... or at least its dedicated mourner. He has written a polemic against John Major’s Government and David Owen, the EU mediator in the remains of Yugoslavia from 1992 to 1995, for their connivance in the ferocious dismantling of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He is keen on Major’s New Labour successors, and confident that Tony Blair’s support for the Milosevic ...

Up the avenue

Peter Clarke, 11 June 1992

Election Rides 
by Edward Pearce.
Faber, 198 pp., £5.99, April 1992, 0 571 16657 1
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... when, with its own poll showing a 6 per cent Labour lead, it leads the front page instead with David Owen’s long-expected endorsement of the Tories. Ha, ha. He quips: ‘And indeed David Owen may have found a last role as hired mute at a Conservative funeral.’ But whose was the last laugh? Pearce still ...

Believing in the Alliance

Keith Kyle, 19 November 1981

... We have defied the laws of arithmetic,’ declared a buoyant David Steel after he had heard the result of the Croydon, North-West by-election, ‘One plus one really does equal three.’ It is now apparent that the public opinion polls were consistently correct in showing that, while support for the Liberal Party as such remained of a traditionally modest order and support for the Social Democrats alone was a similar or even smaller percentage, backing for the two-party alliance as a third force in British politics was a wholly different matter, and promised the chance of a complete breakthrough under the existing electoral system ...
Breaking the Mould 
by Ian Bradley.
Martin Robertson, 172 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 85520 469 9
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... Evan Luard’s Socialism Without the State, John Horam’s calls for ‘market socialism’ and David Owen’s evocation of the co-operative, decentralist element in the British socialist tradition exemplified a widespread mood, with which the old Right of the Labour Party had no more in common than had the Left. It was not as new a mood as he seems to ...
Who Framed Colin Wallace? 
by Paul Foot.
Macmillan, 306 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 333 47008 7
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... lists were drawn up of such notorious Communists or Communist sympathisers as Brian Walden, David Owen, Robert Mellish, John Stonehouse, Roy Hattersley and Reg Prentice; and even a bogus pamphlet on ‘revolutionary strategy’ for the installation of socialism in Britain was contrived for off-the-record briefing of American journalists, the joint ...

With or without the workers

Ross McKibbin, 25 April 1991

The Progressive Dilemma: From Lloyd George to Kinnock 
by David Marquand.
Heinemann, 248 pp., £20, January 1991, 0 434 45094 4
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... This book contains reflections on both history and theory, and is written with David Marquand’s usual elegance and intelligence. Its 19 essays concern themes familiar to readers of his biography of Ramsay MacDonald and his distinguished study, The Unprincipled Society: how can we devise for modern Britain an appropriate ‘social democratic’ theory of social action, and how can we construct a ‘progressive’ coalition which might give it adequate electoral support ...

1966 and all that

Michael Stewart, 20 December 1984

The Castle Diaries. Vol. II: 1964-70 
by Barbara Castle.
Weidenfeld, 848 pp., £20, October 1984, 0 297 78374 2
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... times have changed, incidentally: Hattersley bobs up all over the place in these pages, and David Steel gets a couple of footnotes, but Margaret Thatcher, Neil Kinnock, David Owen and Arthur Scargill make no appearance.) Mrs Castle was generally rated a highly effective departmental minister, and from these ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... electorate from succumbing to the over-optimistic prospectus presented by the SNP. Surely, David Cameron reckoned, the same formula would work again a mere two years later in the UK-wide Brexit referendum. After all, there was also the reassuring story of the UK’s first Euro-referendum in 1975. Then, the prime minister, Harold Wilson, had gone ...

Smoking for England

Paul Foot, 5 July 1984

Smoke Ring: The Politics of Tobacco 
by Peter Taylor.
Bodley Head, 384 pp., £9.95, March 1984, 0 370 30513 2
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... on by the medical profession, set out to curb the tobacco industry. They were Kenneth Robinson and David Owen (Labour) and Sir George Young (Tory). All three were routed. The hardest fighter of the three was Sir George Young. His determination to cut down, for instance, on tobacco’s sponsorship of sports made him unpopular in those parts of the Tory ...

Under the Staircase

Robert Neild, 1 April 1983

War Plan UK: The Truth about Civil Defence in Britain 
by Duncan Campbell.
Burnett, 488 pp., £12.95, November 1982, 0 09 150670 0
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With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War 
by Robert Scheer.
Secker, 279 pp., £8.95, February 1983, 0 436 44355 4
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... home and sit under the staircase. And his conclusion is consistent with that scathingly drawn by David Owen: ‘the Royal Family, central government and local government politicians, the admirals, generals and air marshals and senior administrators all survive. But millions of others lose their lives. Money is to be spent on Sub-Regional ...

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