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Sweetly Terminal

Edward Pearce, 5 August 1993

by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 421 pp., £20, June 1993, 0 297 81352 8
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... a Red agent and the man’s who’s going to wreck their careers. I fell into a conversation with Douglas Hurd. His is a split personality. A deux he is delightful, clever, funny, observant, drily cynical. But get him any where near ‘display’ mode, particularly if there are officials around, and he might as well have a corncob up his arse. Michael ...

The Reshuffle and After

Ross McKibbin: Why Brown should Resign, 25 May 2006

... used it to demonstrate a completely different ideology from that of the present government. Douglas Hurd, the last effective home secretary, made little attempt to exploit the Home Office for electoral mobilisation. The rot began with Michael Howard, who was resolute in his attempt to make Labour appear ‘soft’ on crime, immigration etc. In ...


Conor Gearty: Reasons for Loathing Michael Howard, 31 October 1996

... unlawful funding of the Pergau Dam in Malaysia, involved not him but Lady Thatcher and the saintly Douglas Hurd. It is also said that Michael Howard has demeaned his high office by using legislation to embarrass the Opposition. Much is made in this regard of such monstrosities as the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill and the new anti-terrorism ...


Simon Hoggart, 24 April 1997

Michael Heseltine: A Biography 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 496 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 241 13691 1
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... Partly because, over the weekend between the two ballots, Major performed far better on TV than Douglas Hurd and the constituency officers rang their MPs to tell them to go for him. But it’s not a coincidence that Major had spent years being nice to every Tory MP he met, offering himself as a walking tabula rasa on which they could write their own ...

Benetton Ethics

Nick Cohen: Treachery at the FO, 2 July 1998

First Annual Report on Human Rights 
by Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
56 pp., April 1998
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The Great Deception 
by Mark Curtis.
Pluto, 272 pp., £14.99, June 1998, 0 7453 1234 9
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... and politicians who get over-eager in war is intolerable. It is better to have Cook in power than Douglas Hurd. But so what? Cook’s elevation does not justify arms deals and evasion. This human rights Report is a sham. It is not merely insulting to the intelligence, but reveals how Old Britain survives for all the talk of constitutional ...

Not in the Public Interest

Stephen Sedley, 6 March 2014

... of the 1995 Pergau Dam case. The facts of the case were startling. The foreign secretary, Douglas Hurd, was proposing, for overtly political reasons, to go ahead with a subvention of £316 million to Malaysia for a hydroelectric project which the government’s Overseas Development Administration had advised would be uneconomic, an abuse of the ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1990, 24 January 1991

... on TV, thereby producing outrage in the Foreign Office and Downing Street. ‘Nauseating,’ says Douglas Hurd, and Mrs Thatcher is said to have thrown up her hands in horror. There’s some hypocrisy here. The programme was foolish, the propaganda crude, and Saddam H. an obvious villain, but politicians have always made a beeline for babies. This ...

A Different Sort of Tory

Ronald Stevens: Max Hastings, 12 December 2002

Editor: An Inside Story of Newspapers 
by Max Hastings.
Macmillan, 398 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 333 90837 6
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... preferred candidate from the start, but Black would not wear him. So the paper championed Douglas Hurd as a weightier alternative to John Major, whom Hastings regarded as attractive but not up to the job. When Major emerged from the second ballot as the winner, Black was in the uncomfortable position of owning a Conservative paper, arguably the ...

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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... at motorway service stations in the UK, but he left Britain’s Bosnia policy, such as it was, to Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, and Malcolm Rifkind, the Defence Secretary (and briefly Hurd’s successor). One of Simms’s subterranean themes is the extent to which the old guard – ...

Mrs Thatcher’s Admirer

Ian Aitken, 21 November 1991

Time to declare 
by David Owen.
Joseph, 822 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 7181 3514 8
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... including lunches with Kenneth Baker, dinner parties at Tristan Garel-Jones’s with the likes of Douglas Hurd, and a proper nosh-up with the brown sauce man in person – Mr Major. But everything has so far foundered on the inability of the Tories to promise Owen and his two remaining SDP colleagues, John Cartwright and Rosie Barnes, a clear run in ...

Two Men in a Boat

Ian Aitken, 15 August 1991

John Major: The Making of the Prime Minister 
by Bruce Anderson.
Fourth Estate, 324 pp., £16.99, June 1991, 9781872180540
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‘My Style of Government’: The Thatcher Years 
by Nicholas Ridley.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 09 175051 2
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... herself was being worn down by the relentless pressure. So he got his way, with a little help from Douglas Hurd, and it is arguably the sole significant achievement of his political career up until the moment he became PM. It is also arguably the most significant factor in condemning this country to the most sustained and damaging recession since the ...

Items on a New Agenda

Conrad Russell, 23 October 1986

Humanism in the Age of Henry VIII 
by Maria Dowling.
Croom Helm, 283 pp., £25, February 1986, 0 7099 0864 4
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Henry, Prince of Wales and England’s Lost Renaissance 
by Roy Strong.
Thames and Hudson, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 500 01375 6
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Authority and Conflict: England 1603-1658 
by Derek Hirst.
Arnold, 390 pp., £27.50, March 1986, 0 7131 6155 8
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Rebellion or Revolution? England 1640-1660 
by G.E. Aylmer.
Oxford, 274 pp., £12.50, February 1986, 0 19 219179 9
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Politics and Ideology in England 1603-1640 
by J.P. Sommerville.
Longman, 254 pp., £6.95, April 1986, 9780582494329
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... In this sense, it still is an ‘absolute power’, yet it would be paradoxical to argue that Douglas Hurd is therefore an ‘absolute ruler’. Dr Sommerville has not grappled with the late Professor J.W. Daley’s admirable article on the meanings of the word in the 17th century. In some cases, notably his analysis of Chief Baron Fleming’s ...

Prinney, Boney, Boot

Roy Porter, 20 March 1986

The English Satirical Print 1600-1832 
edited by Michael Duffy.
Chadwyck-Healey, February 1986
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... them. In the Daily Telegraph, Norman Tebbit appears as a crazed, bloodthirsty infantryman, with Douglas Hurd and Peter Walker mounted behind him, apparently duetting the Iron Duke’s quip: ‘I don’t know what effect he will have upon the enemy, but, by God, he terrifies me.’ Garland’s cartoon is derivative and poorly executed (it has nothing to ...

Nerds, Rabbits and a General Lack of Testosterone

R.W. Johnson: Major and Lamont, 9 December 1999

The Autobiography 
by John Major.
HarperCollins, 774 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 00 257004 1
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In Office 
by Norman Lamont.
Little, Brown, 567 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 316 64707 1
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... it was entirely her own fault. At which point the Treasury (Major, Lamont) and the Foreign Office (Douglas Hurd) realised that Thatcher was so weak, and so desperate to avoid yet more interest rate increases, that if they wanted to push her into the ERM, now was the time to do it. In this spirit she was told that a judicious series of leaks suggesting ...

Help Yourself

R.W. Johnson: The other crooked Reggie, 21 April 2005

Reggie: The Life of Reginald Maudling 
by Lewis Baston.
Sutton, 604 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7509 2924 3
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... over the battlefield looking for someone to surrender to – and being massacred all the time,’ Douglas Hurd wrote in his diary. Only months later the Poulson affair burst into public view. When Maudling refused to resign, the cabinet secretary cleverly insisted that the Metropolitan Police be involved in the inquiry. Since Maudling could hardly be the ...

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