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Diary

Peter Clarke: True or False?, 16 August 1990

... campaigned in the 1959 Election on the slogan: ‘You’ve never had it so good.’ 7. Edward Heath gave his word to ‘cut rising prices at a stroke’. 8. Shirley Williams joined Arthur Scargill on a mass picket at Grunwicks. 9. James Callaghan said: ‘Crisis? What crisis?’ 10. An experienced cabinet minister said in an interview: ‘I’m not ...

Anti-Hedonism

David Marquand, 20 September 1984

Politics and the Pursuit of Happiness: An Inquiry into the Involvement of Human Beings in the Politics of Industrial Society 
by Ghita Ionescu.
Longman, 248 pp., £16.50, September 1984, 0 582 29549 1
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... policies, to be put right by the appropriate bag of economic tricks. Those who belong to what Roy Jenkins once called the ‘radical centre’ rightly reject the economism of their rivals. For them, the crisis is not only, or even mainly, economic, but political as well. Yet even the ‘radical centre’ has so far seen it in a curiously narrow ...

Oh God, can we face it?

Daniel Finn: ‘The BBC’s Irish Troubles’, 19 May 2016

The BBC’s ‘Irish Troubles’: Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland 
by Robert Savage.
Manchester, 298 pp., £70, May 2015, 978 0 7190 8733 2
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... that would address nationalist grievances, especially in the field of policing, eased after Heath replaced Wilson in 1970. The emergence of the Provisional IRA, which put itself forward as a defender of the Catholic ghettos before launching its first attacks on British soldiers in the spring of 1971, led government ministers in London and Belfast to ...

Centrepoint

Dick Taverne, 21 February 1980

Memoirs 
by Jo Grimond.
Heinemann, 316 pp., £7.95, October 1980, 0 434 30600 2
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... Labour Opposition was divided and moving steadily to the Left. However, the unexpected defeat of Heath in his battle with the unions, in an election which even Wilson expected the Tories to win, saved the Labour Party from the kind of trauma which it is suffering today. Heath’s attempt to salvage something from defeat by ...

Fear and Loathing in Limehouse

Richard Holme, 3 September 1987

Campaign! The Selling of the Prime Minister 
by Rodney Tyler.
Grafton, 251 pp., £6.95, July 1987, 0 246 13277 9
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Battle for Power 
by Des Wilson.
Sphere, 326 pp., £4.99, July 1987, 0 7221 9074 3
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David Owen: Personally Speaking 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 297 79206 7
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... disclosing an observation made at an Alliance strategy meeting in 1985 – was well expressed by Roy Jenkins, who said that with the British electoral system a hung Parliament might be a statistical outcome, but that it could not be a political objective. The second was that the strategy immediately invited the question: ‘With whom would the Alliance ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... instance, Burns Singer, one of the most original poets of the Fifties, or David Wright and John Heath-Stubbs. All three were friends of Graham, and their inclusion might have helped the Forties and Fifties out of their New Apocalypse v. Movement stand-off. Hamish Henderson, whose 1948 Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica (reprinted by Polygon in 1990) falls on ...

So much was expected

R.W. Johnson, 3 December 1992

Harold Wilson 
by Ben Pimlott.
HarperCollins, 811 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 00 215189 8
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Harold Wilson 
by Austen Morgan.
Pluto, 625 pp., £25, May 1992, 0 7453 0635 7
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... Opie, who played the key role of assistant to Keynes at Bretton Woods, examined both Wilson and Heath in economics in their Oxford Finals and, by chance, kept his notes, which he once showed to me. Heath he thought uninspired, a good solid Second, a man of immense sturdiness and yeoman rectitude. Of Wilson he noted that ...

Is this successful management?

R.W. Johnson, 20 April 1989

One of Us: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 570 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 333 34439 1
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... a while to come. Some things were new to me. I hadn’t known that as Minister for Education under Heath, Mrs Thatcher had fought to preserve the Open University, or that she regretted her measure to abolish free milk in schools (characteristically blaming the Civil Service for her mistake), or that she had fought against the idea of abolishing the rates when ...

Two Giant Brothers

Amit Chaudhuri: Tagore’s Modernism, 20 April 2006

Selected Poems 
by Rabindranath Tagore, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri.
Oxford India, 449 pp., £23.99, April 2004, 0 19 566867 7
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... of the Upanishads, a text that his father’s friend, the scholar, reformer and thinker Rammohun Roy, had translated into English in the early 19th century, and which Anquetil-Duperron, too, had played his part in bringing to the world’s attention. The Upanishads became, for both Roy and Debendranath Tagore, a prism ...

Buggering on

Paul Addison, 21 July 1983

Winston Churchill: Companion Vol. V, Part III, The Coming of War 1936-1939 
by Martin Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1684 pp., £75, October 1982, 0 434 29188 9
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Finest Hour: Winston Churchill, 1939-1941 
by Martin Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1308 pp., £15.95, June 1983, 0 434 29187 0
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Churchill 1874-1915 
by Ted Morgan.
Cape, 571 pp., £12.50, April 1983, 0 224 02044 7
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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 
by William Manchester.
Michael Joseph, 973 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 0 7181 2275 5
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... possibly even the end of a nation.’ But what era feels more remote today than that of Wilson and Heath, the great modernisers for whom modernity failed to arrive? In spirit at least, Churchill has outlived them, taking his place again in British politics as one of the household gods of Mrs Thatcher. Once more his legend influences the future. There is more ...

Homage to Wilson and Callaghan

Ross McKibbin, 24 October 1991

Power, Competition and the State. Vol. II: Threats to the Post-War Settlement, Britain, 1961-1974, Vol. III: The End of the Post-War Era, Britain since 1974 
by Keith Middlemas.
Macmillan, 480 pp., £50, March 1990, 0 333 41413 6
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Labour’s Economic Policies, 1974-1979 
edited by Michael Artis and David Cobham.
Manchester, 310 pp., £40, June 1991, 0 7190 2264 9
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... that the Labour leadership wishes to attend: on the contrary – as Mrs Thatcher did with the Heath government – they seem either to pretend that the Wilson and Callaghan governments did not exist or that they were mistakes for which the Party must endlessly atone. This received view need not go uncontested. In the first place, we have had 12 years of ...

Lying abroad

Fred Halliday, 21 July 1994

Diplomacy 
by Henry Kissinger.
Simon and Schuster, 912 pp., £25, May 1994, 9780671659912
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True Brits: Inside the Foreign Office 
by Ruth Dudley Edwards.
BBC, 256 pp., £16.99, April 1994, 0 563 36955 8
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Mandarin: The Diaries of Nicholas Henderson 
by Nicholas Henderson.
Weidenfeld, 517 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 297 81433 8
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... teaching it to obey simple commands in French), and much about the comings and goings of Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher, Roy Jenkins, Prince Charles and the like – plenty of material here for a comparative study of the discourteous and the bibulous, with suggestions of an inverse correlation between the two. At one ...

Her way of helping me

Hugo Young, 6 December 1990

Listening for a Midnight Tram: Memoirs 
by John Junor.
Chapmans, 341 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 9781855925014
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... Sunday Express as he was getting from the Government.’ Reginald Maudling, Alec Home and even Ted Heath appear among the intimates. At Home’s 80th birthday party, given by Rupert Murdoch, ‘who hardly knew Alec’, Junor finds himself among a mere 20 people and is pathetically grateful that Alec has done him ‘the extraordinary honour’ of inviting him ...

What can be done

Leo Pliatzky, 2 August 1984

Government and the Governed 
by Douglas Wass.
Routledge, 120 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 7102 0312 8
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... every year. BBC Television has, each year, a single Dimbleby Lecture. It was one of these which Roy Jenkins used to put forward the ideas which led to the creation of the Social Democratic Party and the SDP-Liberal Alliance. One cannot imagine his lecture being spread over six broadcasts. The effect of doing so would have been to reduce, not enhance, the ...

What’s going on?

Peter Jenkins, 21 November 1985

How Britain votes 
by Anthony Heath, Roger Jowell and John Curtice.
Pergamon, 251 pp., £15.50, September 1985, 0 08 031859 2
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Partnership of Principle 
by Roy Jenkins.
Secker in association with the Radical Centre, 169 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 436 22100 4
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The Strange Rebirth of Liberal Britain 
by Ian Bradley.
Chatto, 259 pp., £11.95, September 1985, 0 7011 2670 1
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Report from the Select Committee on Overseas Trade, House of Lords 
HMSO, 96 pp., £6.30, October 1985, 0 10 496285 2Show More
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... the future of the Labour Party as an electoral force. Nevertheless, it is useful to be reminded by Roy Jenkins in the preface to a collection of his essays and speeches that he broke with Labour ‘not because I feared it could not be elected, but because, with its new policies, I did not want it to be elected’. In the 1979 Dimbleby Lecture, here ...

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