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An Enemy Within

Paul Foot, 23 April 1987

Molehunt: The Full Story of the Soviet Mole in MI5 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 297 79150 8
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... back of the Labour Government had been broken. Harold Wilson resigned, and begged his successor, James Callaghan, to carry out a full-scale investigation into what he felt had been the subversion of his office by the security services. Callaghan refused. Although Wilson continued with his allegations, the security ...

Passionate Purposes

Keith Kyle, 6 September 1984

by Christopher Hitchens.
Quartet, 192 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 7043 2436 9
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The Cyprus Dispute and the Birth of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 
by Necati Ertekun.
K. Rustem, Nicosia, PO Box 239, Lefkosa, via Mersin 10, Turkey, 507 pp., £12.50
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... invasion, which in two instalments defeated the not very robust efforts of Henry Kissinger and James Callaghan to call a halt, and which had the effect of precipitating that vast shift in populations that was the requisite preliminary to the achievement of the Turkish Cypriot programme of 1964. The Cyprus crisis of 1974 was not a very glorious chapter ...

A Falklands Polemic

Tam Dalyell, 20 May 1982

... the name of Thatcher to reverberate round the planet. As I know from close-quarters experience of James Callaghan on Devolution, Ted Heath on the miners and Michael McGahey, Harold Wilson on Rhodesia and Harold Macmillan on Profumo, occupants of 10 Downing Street can come to see the world in highly personal and in gladiatorial terms. It may have been the ...
... have given Margaret Thatcher. The uncertainty which the absence of a Parliamentary majority caused James Callaghan in the last Labour government was of a kind and degree for which many an American President would gladly have settled. The Constitution fragments political power by completely separating the executive from the legislature, and by separating ...

E.S. Turner shocks the sensitive

E.S. Turner, 20 August 1992

Quartered Safe Out Here: A Recollection of the War in Burma 
by George MacDonald Fraser.
Harvill, 255 pp., £16, June 1992, 0 00 272660 2
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Tyrants and Mountains: A Reckless Life 
by Denis Hills.
Murray, 262 pp., £19.95, June 1992, 0 7195 4640 0
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... of Tyrants and Mountains, is the man who in 1975 was rescued from Idi Amin’s death squads by Mr James Callaghan, then Foreign Secretary, who flew to Uganda for that purpose. As a serving officer in World War Two and its immediate aftermath, Hills himself exercised what amounted to the power of life or death over thousands of persons who had ended the ...

How did Blair get here?

Conor Gearty, 20 February 2003

... Attlee nor Harold Wilson and not even attempted by the Party’s only other postwar premier, James Callaghan. Blair has skilfully contrived his views to appeal to that section of voters which determines the outcome of British general elections; the apparent effortlessness with which he has done this is evidence of a keen political instinct. Yet he ...

Operation Big Ear

Tam Dalyell, 3 May 1984

The Unsinkable Aircraft-Carrier: American Military Power in Britain 
by Duncan Campbell.
Joseph, 351 pp., £12.95, April 1984, 0 7181 2289 5
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... And if I do so, it is because my version of events has a relevance to the immediate past when James Callaghan agreed to Chevaline without telling most of the Cabinet, let alone the Labour Party, and when Margaret Thatcher with the solitary aid of Cecil Parkinson conducted the major decisions of the Falklands War. It so happens that Arthur Tedder was ...

It’s so beautiful

Jenny Diski: V is for Vagina, 20 November 2003

The Story of V: Opening Pandora’s Box 
by Catherine Blackledge.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £18.99, August 2003, 0 297 60706 5
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... We must hope that the likes of Baroness Thatcher, Elizabeth Windsor, the Emperor Akihito and James Callaghan were informed of this when they were inducted into the order. Unfortunately for those of you keen to check the reference, the book has no notes, only a further reading list which has no mention of Signore Belvaleti. Nor are we told which ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... who had been an outstanding chancellor of the exchequer. Even failures at the Treasury, such as James Callaghan, sometimes become party leaders, and a highly successful chancellor like Clarke should have been in an overwhelmingly strong position for the job. This was particularly so as there was no other clearly suitable ...

How to dislodge a leader who doesn’t want to go

Ross McKibbin: Where are the Backbenchers?, 8 July 2004

... Morrison, or in the unions, like Ernest Bevin, or had a political standing, like Aneurin Bevan or James Callaghan, that made them to some extent proof against their leader’s displeasure. With the exception of Gordon Brown, and possibly John Prescott, no member of the present cabinet has such standing. Ministers have no power bases within the party or ...

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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... a hideous woolly jumper displaying the flags of the EEC nations. Back in the mid-1970s the tycoon James Goldsmith, the future founder of the anti-European Referendum Party, was a prominent supporter of the Common Market. The position of the press also changed. In the earlier campaign the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express enthusiastically made the case ...

My Life with Harold Wilson

Peter Jenkins, 20 December 1979

Final Term: The Labour Government 1974-76 
by Harold Wilson.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 322 pp., £8.95
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... within our democracy, can lead this nation.’ An answer to that question was given to Mr Callaghan this year. The In Place of Strife affair was a disaster for Wilson and the Government, but in the shower of abuse which descended upon his head it was scarcely noticed that his offences were mostly the opposite of those of which he was customarily ...

Credibility Brown

Christopher Hitchens, 17 August 1989

Where there is greed: Margaret Thatcher and the Betrayal of Britain’s Future 
by Gordon Brown.
Mainstream, 182 pp., £4.95, May 1989, 1 85158 233 9
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CounterBlasts No 3: A Rational Advance for the Labour Party 
by John Lloyd.
Chatto, 57 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0 7011 3519 0
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... There is a sea change in British politics – the sort of slow but irresistible movement which Jim Callaghan detected when the tide was flowing the other way in 1978.’ Yes, I think that covers everything. First announcing, with his usual gift of phrase, that ‘the facts behind the figures’ are what count, Hattersley proceeds to list a series not of facts ...

Downhill from Here

Ian Jack: The 1970s, 27 August 2009

When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 576 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 571 22136 3
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... manners and stale customs, whose social revolutionaries were libertines (Mae West) and gangsters (James Cagney). Perhaps more than any other agency, it was Hollywood that defined those decades for people too young to know them. The American experience became the way the 1920s were remembered, even though only a tiny proportion of the world’s population in ...

Keith Middlemas on the history of Ireland

Keith Middlemas, 22 January 1981

Ireland: Land of Troubles 
by Paul Johnson.
Eyre Methuen, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 413 47650 2
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Acts of Union 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 221 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 571 11648 5
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by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Faber, 96 pp., £2.95, November 1980, 0 571 11645 0
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Ireland: A History 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £9.95, December 1980, 0 297 77855 2
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... agreement, who acted uprightly and failed, seeps through, as does his dislike of De Valera and Sir James Craig. His good guys were duped and let down, while the last two died in their beds, full of Irish honours. Thus O’Connell and Parnell seem to react primarily to English stimuli, and the autonomous growth of Sinn Fein occurs in a chapter given over ...

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