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Jingoes

R.W. Johnson: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War, 6 May 2004

The Lion and the Springbok: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War 
by Ronald Hyam and Peter Henshaw.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £45, May 2003, 0 521 82453 2
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... This book begins with real passion as Ronald Hyam and Peter Henshaw lash into those historians who they believe have made unwarranted assumptions about the links between Britain and South Africa: to wit, that Britain fought the Boer War to get its hands on the gold and that economic considerations remained the motivating force in its difficult relationship with South Africa thereafter ...

On the Pitch

Ben Walker, 18 June 2020

... The people’s game without the people,’ the football commentator Peter Drury said on 12 March, introducing BT Sport’s coverage of the Europa League fixture between Wolverhampton Wanderers and the Greek side Olympiacos. ‘It’s not the same for you and it’s not the same without you.’ The match was taking place behind closed doors, as all sporting events will be for the foreseeable future ...

Wadham and Gomorrah

Conrad Russell, 6 December 1984

The Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 
edited by Keith Walker.
Blackwell, 319 pp., £35, September 1984, 0 631 12573 6
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... sons of Wadham’, perhaps took part in writing an obscene farce called Sodom. Dr Walker drily observes that ‘to assert this twenty years ago would have damaged Rochester’s reputation as much as to deny it today.’ We are certainly more able than many of our predecessors to accept that this poetry was of some importance for its age. If we ...

Tearing up the Race Card

Paul Foot, 30 November 1995

The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker 
by Nigel Harris.
Tauris, 256 pp., £25, October 1995, 1 85043 956 7
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The Cambridge Survey of World Migration 
edited by Robin Cohen.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £75, November 1995, 0 521 44405 5
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... on this subject are the two Michaels, Portillo and Howard, whose fathers were both immigrants, and Peter Lilley, whose holidays in his house in France enabled him to break into colloquial French in the course of a ludicrous comic turn about foreigners coming to this country to partake of the social services which he is assiduously dismantling. As always when a ...

Political Purposes

Frances Spalding: Art in postwar Britain, 15 April 1999

New Art New World: British Art in Postwar Society 
by Margaret Garlake.
Yale, 279 pp., £35, July 1998, 0 300 07292 9
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Cultural Offensive: America’s Impact on British Art since 1945 
by John Walker.
Pluto, 304 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 7453 1321 3
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... of Joseph Herman’s images of Welsh miners, Joan Eardley’s Glasgow tenement scenes or Peter de Francia’s political paintings further weakens the realist cause. But Garlake’s assessment of Berger’s stance seems fair, recognising as it does the difficulty he had in formulating criteria to match his beliefs. He focused, she argues, on the ...

Loose Woven

Peter Howarth: Edward Thomas’s contingencies, 4 August 2005

Collected Poems 
by Edward Thomas, edited by R. George Thomas.
Faber, 264 pp., £12.99, October 2004, 0 571 22260 9
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... and free’, which enacts Thomas’s encounters with the contingent even as it narrates them. As Peter Sacks notes in his introduction, Frost’s influence was partly responsible for this formal discovery, but another reason was Thomas’s critical dissatisfaction with his contemporaries, a dissatisfaction which for many years got him bracketed as an ...

Prince and Pimp

Paul Foot, 1 January 1998

The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken 
by Luke Harding and David Leigh.
Penguin, 205 pp., £6.99, December 1997, 0 14 027290 9
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... of State for Defence Procurement, in January 1994. It was put to the then editor of the Guardian, Peter Preston. The words ‘we all’ referred to Aitken himself, his wife Lolicia and his faithful Arab friend Said Ayas. The answer to the question was ‘yes’. They were all bare-faced liars, but none more so than the debonair minister himself. Why did he ...

Less and More

Adam Begley, 15 September 1988

Elephant, and Other Stories 
by Raymond Carver.
Collins Harvill, 124 pp., £9.95, August 1988, 0 00 271912 6
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The Tidewater Tales 
by John Barth.
Methuen, 655 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 413 18770 5
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... to night. The walls were so thin I could hear her munching ice cubes all day. She had to use a walker to get around, but that still didn’t stop her. I’d hear that walker scrape, scrape against the floor from morning to night. That and her icebox door closing ... I had to get out of there. Scrape, scrape. I couldn’t ...

Ruthless Enthusiasms

Michael Ignatieff, 15 July 1982

The Brixton Disorders: Report of an Inquiry by the Rt Hon. the Lord Scarman 
HMSO, 168 pp., £8, November 1981, 0 10 184270 8Show More
Punishment, Danger and Stigma: The Morality of Criminal Justice 
by Nigel Walker.
Blackwell, 206 pp., £9.95, August 1980, 0 631 12542 6
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Punishment: A Philosophical and Criminological Inquiry 
by Philip Bean.
Martin Robertson, 215 pp., £12.50, August 1981, 0 85520 391 9
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Dangerousness and Criminal Justice 
by Jean Floud and Warren Young.
Heinemann, 228 pp., £14.50, October 1981, 0 435 82307 8
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The Abuse of Power: Civil Liberties in the United Kingdom 
by Patricia Hewitt.
Martin Robertson, 295 pp., £15, December 1981, 0 85520 380 3
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... in academic debates on the philosophy of punishment, by a revival of retributivism. As Nigel Walker and Philip Bean make clear in their lucid guides to these debates, it is Kant and Hegel, rather than Bentham and Beccaria, who are winning the arguments these days. Retributivism seems to speak to that yearning for society to speak as a moral actor. As an ...

At the Skunk Works

R.W. Johnson, 23 February 1995

Fool’s Gold: The Story of North Sea Oil 
by Christopher Harvie.
Hamish Hamilton, 408 pp., £18.99, October 1994, 0 241 13352 1
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... reserves of only 8.5 billion to 14 billion barrels. To the companies’ fury, the LSE academic, Peter Odell, argued that this was just an oligopolistic fudge: the true reserves he estimated to be between 78 and 100 billion barrels. In the end this turned out to be far closer to the truth: the early estimates of Brent and Forties both had to be upped ...

‘A Being full of Witching’

Charles Nicholl: The ‘poor half-harlot’ of Hazlitt’s affections, 18 May 2000

... world who would not have recognised her by her former name. For Sarah Tomkins had once been Sarah Walker, also known as Sally Walker; and she was that little ‘lodging-house hussy’ (or ‘poor half-harlot’ or ‘callous jilt’) with whom the great Hazlitt had fallen so hopelessly in love, for whom he had divorced his ...

Celestial Blue

Matthew Coady, 5 July 1984

Sources Close to the Prime Minister: Inside the Hidden World of the News Manipulators 
by Michael Cockerell and David Walker.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £9.95, June 1984, 0 333 34842 7
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... are actually doing. We are in the hands of the manipulators, say Messrs Cockerell, Hennessy and Walker, a trio tried in the ways of Fleet Street and Shepherds Bush. The massage has become the message. The accusation is by no means new, though those principally involved in communication between government and governed have always bristled at its airing. They ...

Three Poems

Peter Porter, 20 December 1984

... things – thus Physics and Euripides alike are soon found under ‘Plots of the Operas’ by J. Walker McSpadden. The most to hope for is to hit something good when you’ve missed your target. A lot of learning is a dangerous thing, and leaves will turn and keep on falling. The trees are erudite. A Bag of Pressmints In the middle of a difficult ...

At the Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: ‘Faces in the Crowd: Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today’, 6 January 2005

... in themselves. The show is visually disjunctive but intellectually suggestive.For example, both Walker Evans’s 1938-41 photographs of subway riders and Käthe Kollwitz’s Prisoners, an etching made thirty years earlier, have their place in an iconography of suppressed individuality. In both cases the faces seem to look inward – painfully (in the case ...

At the National Gallery of Scotland

Peter Campbell: Joan Eardley, 13 December 2007

... for the cinema, can also be seen in photographs taken by Eardley herself and by her friend Audrey Walker. The photographs give the look of one corner of postwar Britain in documentary black and white. Eardley’s paintings give it in colour; bright patches of clothing show up against dark, chalk-scrawled walls. The turn of a head, the angle of a leg, or the ...

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