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They would have laughed

Ferdinand Mount: The Massacre at Amritsar, 4 April 2019

Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre 
by Kim A. Wagner.
Yale, 325 pp., £20, February 2019, 978 0 300 20035 5
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... to look at the series of British actions leading up to the massacre, in particular those of Sir Michael O’Dwyer, the lieutenant governor of the Punjab. Unlike Dyer, O’Dwyer could not be said to be a stupid man; he had a first in jurisprudence from Balliol. But like several clever men who went out to India – Virginia Woolf’s uncle James Fitzjames ...

Cronyism and Clientelism

Peter Geoghegan, 5 November 2020

... in the UK’s response to the pandemic, the government’s messengers were richly rewarded. Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office gave Topham Guerin a £3 million contract for communications work. The contract – agreed without any competitive tendering – was signed in early May but, unusually, backdated to 17 March, two days before Lee Cain’s Zoom ...

The Bayswater Grocer

Thomas Meaney: The Singapore Formula, 18 March 2021

Singapore: A Modern History 
by Michael Barr.
Bloomsbury, 296 pp., £17.99, December 2020, 978 1 350 18566 1
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... Streets and roads bear the names of some of the most savage grandees of the empire – Havelock, Neill, Outram. The bicentennial of 2019 celebrated the arrival of the city-state’s ‘founding father’, Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, whose name graces countless schools and institutions, the famous hotel, and the world’s largest flower. ‘Without ...

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