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Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... speaking, Glyn Mathias, a BBC political correspondent, was screaming, ‘Are you gay?’ at Ron Davies, the Secretary of State for Wales, who had resigned after being caught searching for the kindness of strangers on Clapham Common. The Director-General of the BBC, Sir John Birt, was knighted by Tony Blair and worked with and befriended Mandelson at London ...

Heathrow to Canary Wharf

Nick Richardson: Crossrail, 11 October 2012

... Court Road and Soho Square point in the wrong direction, and Dean Street has been rechristened Davies Street. Mostly, though, people don’t like Crossrail because they can’t see why the taxpayer has to shoulder most of the cost of building a stretch of tunnel that basically duplicates the stretch of Hammersmith Line between Paddington and ...

The NHS Dismantled

John Furse, 7 November 2019

... of the Kaiser consultant Alain Enthoven was acknowledged in Parliament by the then Tory MP Quentin Davies. ‘The fund-holding practice concept owes something to the system of HMOs in the United States … Elements of the Bill reflect some of the thinking of Professor Enthoven in his famous report and reflect his concept of an internal market.’ Enthoven was ...

Cronyism and Clientelism

Peter Geoghegan, 5 November 2020

... and allies have attracted official attention. The head of the National Audit Office, Gareth Davies, has said that the spending watchdog is investigating pandemic contracting, following ‘concern about the transparency of some of the procurement contracts around PPE and other areas’. It intends to produce a report later this year. ‘We’re doing a ...

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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... a supercharged send-off. Even in our own day, Dyer has had his defenders, or at least mitigators. Nick Lloyd, like Wagner a fortyish historian at King’s College London, gave his account of Amritsar the subtitle ‘The Untold Story of One Fateful Day’ (2011). It is certainly an unfamiliar story. According to Lloyd, Dyer was no premeditated murderer. His ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London, 19 June 2008

... old Limehouse Town Hall. I attended this public debate and heard the Hackney solicitor Bill Parry-Davies describe, quietly, remorselessly, how, after a series of mysterious fires, Dalston Lane had lost its Victorian theatre and sections of Georgian terrace, facilitating the new transport hub that would service the vital axes, south to the City, east to the ...

In the Streets of Londonistan

John Upton: Terror, Muslims and the Met, 22 January 2004

... Special Branch at deputy chief constable level. Last year, in a special feature in the Guardian, Nick Davies, writing on the UK’s response to terror, drew attention to the faults listed in the report and proposed the creation of an overarching national security agency. The article seemed to accept at face value all the complaints the police make about ...

Barely under Control

Jenny Turner: Education: Who’s in charge?, 7 May 2015

... I started out as a school governor, one of the first books I read was The School Report (2000) by Nick Davies. The copy I have is second-hand and stamped ‘Withdrawn’ from the library of the Department for Education and Employment. It’s a pity they didn’t keep it. Davies was writing in the early years of New ...

How bad can it get?

LRB Contributors, 15 August 2019

... Neal Ascherson, Mary Beard, Jonathan Coe, Tom Crewe, William Davies, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Lorna Finlayson, Daniel Finn, Katrina Forrester, Jeremy Harding, Daisy Hildyard, Colin Kidd, James Meek, Ferdinand Mount, Jan-Werner Müller, Jonathan Parry, David RuncimanNeal Ascherson‘On​ 17 June poor France fell. That day, as we trudged past Greenwich … a tug skipper yelled gaily across the water: “Now we know where we are! No more bloody allies!”’ The writer A ...

Say thank you

Clive James: Witty Words in Pretty Mouths, 23 May 2002

Fast-Talking Dames 
by Maria DiBattista.
Yale, 365 pp., £19.95, June 2001, 0 300 08815 9
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... else, there are unrecognised talents whose worth she is able to weigh at a glance. With Marion Davies a glance is all you get. Nowadays her movies are hard to find, but DiBattista has seen enough of William Randolph Hearst’s mistress working at her other job to reach the proper conclusion: she had a disarming gift for delivering a line. Just the gift, in ...

Strange, Angry Objects

Owen Hatherley: The Brutalist Decades, 17 November 2016

A3: Threads and Connections 
by Peter Ahrends.
Right Angle, 128 pp., £18, December 2015, 978 0 9532848 9 4
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Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism 
by Barnabas Calder.
Heinemann, 416 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 0 434 02244 1
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Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75 
by Elain Harwood.
Yale, 512 pp., £60, September 2015, 978 0 300 20446 9
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Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings around the World 
by Christopher Beanland.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £18, February 2016, 978 0 7112 3764 3
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This Brutal World 
by Peter Chadwick.
Phaidon, 224 pp., £29.95, April 2016, 978 0 7148 7108 0
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Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture 
by Nicolas Grospierre.
Prestel, 224 pp., £29.99, February 2016, 978 3 7913 8229 6
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Modernist Estates: The Buildings and the People Who Live in Them 
by Stefi Orazi.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 7112 3675 2
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Architecture an Inspiration 
by Ivor Smith.
Troubador, 224 pp., £24.95, November 2014, 978 1 78462 069 1
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... Her judgments are well considered, the historical detail is abundant, and the photographs by James Davies are remarkable in their often eerie glamour. However, this is very much the official story, coming from someone who, given that her business has been the listing of buildings of exceptional quality, notices mainly the finest buildings of the era. One of ...

I’m an intelligence

Joanna Biggs: Sylvia Plath at 86, 20 December 2018

The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Vol. I: 1940-56 
edited by Peter Steinberg and Karen Kukil.
Faber, 1388 pp., £35, September 2017, 978 0 571 32899 4
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The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Vol. II: 1956-63 
edited by Peter Steinberg and Karen Kukil.
Faber, 1025 pp., £35, September 2018, 978 0 571 33920 4
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... of the St Botolph’s Review party 25 February, Ted’s birthday 17 August, Frieda’s 1 April, Nick’s 17 January and the day she would die 11 February 1963. When she meets Ted – which is not the same as saying it is his fault – her death comes into view. He first drew her horoscope four and a half months into the marriage. Sylvia had ‘Mars in 24 of ...

Death in Greece

Marilyn Butler, 17 September 1981

Byron’s Letter and Journals. Vol. XI: For Freedom’s Battle 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 243 pp., £11.50, April 1981, 0 7195 3792 4
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Byron: The Complete Poetical Works 
edited by Jerome McGann.
Oxford, 464 pp., £35, October 1980, 0 19 811890 2
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Red Shelley 
by Paul Foot.
Sidgwick, 293 pp., £12.95, May 1981, 0 283 98679 4
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Ugo Foscolo, Poet of Exile 
by Glauco Cambon.
Princeton, 360 pp., £15, September 1980, 0 691 06424 5
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... the vaults of Barclay’s Bank in a trunk deposited in 1820 by Byron’s Cambridge friend Scrope Davies. The latter series, dated 1809-19, are more obviously entertaining. To read them after the Greek letters is to be carried back to the Byron of the delightful third volume of the letters, that real-life Liaisons Dangereuses which covered the episode in 1813 ...

What’s the point of HS2?

Christian Wolmar, 17 April 2014

... railway planner at the Strategic Rail Authority and founder of the transport consultancy Steer Davies Gleave, he believes the project is essential for Britain’s future welfare. ‘Do you know what the population of Britain will be in 2085?’ he asks, and then answers his own question: ‘85 million. Where will all those people go? London can only ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... to light a fire under the debate and we want to make money as well,’ the pro-fracking pundit Nick Grealy said. The fracturing will start at Harrow and follow a track across town, in the footsteps of Tory grandees like Winston Churchill, all the way to Downing Street. The gimmick is that urban fracking will be a horizontal manoeuvre, like sliding poker ...

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