Chris Mullin

Chris Mullin, a former Labour MP, is the author of Error of Judgment: The Truth about the Birmingham Bombings and A Very British Coup, among other books.

From The Blog
7 May 2024

‘And this,’ our guide said, ‘is where Colonel Piroth committed suicide.’ We were standing by a fenced-off scrap of wasteland on the edge of a busy market. The only evidence that anything of significance happened there is a white cement block carved with an image of two artillery pieces and an almost illegible inscription in Vietnamese. The entrance to Piroth’s bunker, if it still exists, is overgrown and filled with rubble. Piroth was the deputy commander of French forces at Dien Bien Phu, a one-armed war hero and gunnery expert who had boasted that ‘no Viet Minh cannon will be able to fire three rounds before being destroyed by my artillery.’ In fact the Viet Minh made short work of the French artillery. ‘I have been dishonoured,’ Piroth said. Soon afterwards, using his teeth, he pulled the safety pin out of a grenade and blew himself to pieces.


The Birmingham Six

7 April 2022

Graham Boal insists that in the appeal hearing for the Birmingham Six, the Crown did not seek to uphold their convictions (Letters, 12 May). At that hearing, he did indeed concede that the collapse of the two main planks of the case against the defendants – the forensic evidence and the confessions – meant that the Crown would not contest the quashing of the convictions. However, he then tried...

Diary: In Court, Again

Chris Mullin, 7 April 2022

Friday,​ 25 February. To the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court, to respond to an application – under the Terrorism Act, no less – from the West Midlands Police. They are demanding that I hand over notes I made in the 1980s during my investigation into the Birmingham pub bombings, in the hope that these will help them to track down one of the two surviving bombers. A bit...

‘Every prime minister since Blair has supported Britain’s involvement’ in the war in Iraq, Tom Stevenson writes (LRB, 1 July). At the time maybe, but not subsequently. In his memoir My Life, Our Times (2017), Gordon Brown writes: ‘We were misled by the Americans and the intelligence services. In retrospect I regret that I did not press as hard as I should have. By not questioning the evidence...


Chris Mullin, 19 March 2020

Byfar the worst appointment made by Boris Johnson in his cabinet reshuffle last month was that of Anne-Marie Trevelyan as secretary of state for international development. An ardent Brexiteer, Trevelyan has no known interest in overseas development; just about her only previous public utterance on the subject was an observation that ‘charity begins at home.’ But then she is...

Spookery, Skulduggery: Chris Mullin

David Runciman, 4 April 2019

Chris Mullin’s​ A Very British Coup was a nostalgic book that turned into a prophetic one. First published in 1982 and set towards the end of that decade, it nonetheless recalled...

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I’m on research leave in Finland, which, like any well-ordered social democracy, but unlike the UK, maintains an air of strenuously contained bedlam. Public notices in Finnish look as if...

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The Card-Players

Paul Foot, 18 September 1986

For several weeks after 21 November 1974 most Irish people in Birmingham took cover. Even the most respected and entrenched felt unsafe. Outrage and grief overwhelmed the city and spread far...

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A Good Girl in Africa

D.A.N. Jones, 16 September 1982

Buchi Emecheta’s novel is dedicated to her 1981 students at the University of Calabar. Double Yoke is a tale of student life at that university and evidently the teacher has learned a great...

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Post-Bourgeois Man

Peter Jenkins, 1 October 1981

He has come a long way. Born the Hon. Anthony Wedgwood Benn, he inevitably became by public-school nickname ‘Wedgie’ and later, by his own socialist deed-poll, plain ‘Tony...

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