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Coke v. Bacon

Stephen Sedley, 27 July 2023

The Winding Stair 
by Jesse Norman.
Biteback, 464 pp., £20, June, 978 1 78590 792 0
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... he had always coveted, with the title Baron Verulam, and was made lord chancellor. By then, as Jesse Norman recounts it, Bacon had trapped Coke into insisting, to the king’s face, that the monarch was not entitled to special consideration in litigation. Coke had consequently lost his job, while Bacon, comfortably installed on the woolsack, was now ...

Be careful what you wish for

Stephen Sedley: Human Rights Acts, 30 August 2018

The Conservative Human Rights Revolution: European Identity, Transnational Politics and the Origins of the European Convention 
by Marco Duranti.
Oxford, 502 pp., £59, February 2017, 978 0 19 981138 0
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... deportation because they are cat-owners. It was left to two leading Conservative intellectuals, Jesse Norman and Peter Oborne, writing in defence of the Human Rights Act in 2009, to point out that the convention was ‘Churchill’s Legacy’. The fact that it was the Europhobe right which took the lead in orchestrating and amplifying the abuse of the ...


Colin Kidd: Burke, 4 February 2016

Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke 
by Richard Bourke.
Princeton, 1001 pp., £30.95, September 2015, 978 0 691 14511 2
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Training Minds for the War of Ideas: Ashridge College, the Conservative Party and the Cultural Politics of Britain, 1929-54 
by Clarisse Berthezène.
Manchester, 214 pp., £75, June 2015, 978 0 7190 8649 6
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The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Vol. IV: Party, Parliament and the Dividing of the Whigs, 1780-94 
edited by P.J. Marshall and Donald Bryant.
Oxford, 674 pp., £120, October 2015, 978 0 19 966519 8
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... One of the few intellectual stars on the Conservative backbenches, the free-range MP for Hereford, Jesse Norman, has published studies of The Big Society (2010) and of Edmund Burke (2013). However, within political traditions the complexities of past politics tend to be viewed through the lens of simplifying mythologies. In fact, Burke was neither a ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: On Greensill, 6 May 2021

... and texted Tom Scholar, the permanent secretary at the Treasury. He also contacted John Glen and Jesse Norman, two MPs who had served under him and were now ministers in Sunak’s department.Despite Cameron’s efforts – and at least ten meetings with Treasury officials – Greensill wasn’t given access to the CCFF scheme, but it did benefit from ...

No Theatricks

Ferdinand Mount: Burke, 21 August 2014

The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: from the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence 
by David Bromwich.
Harvard, 500 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 0 674 72970 4
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Moral Imagination: Essays 
by David Bromwich.
Princeton, 350 pp., £19.95, March 2014, 978 0 691 16141 9
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... Burke’s thought, which makes up the second half of his Edmund Burke (2013), the Conservative MP Jesse Norman sets out the reasons for seeing parties as indispensable to politics: they bring stability, they bring openness (collectively agreed principles cannot be kept dark), they tend to moderate and control headstrong governments, and if a party fails ...


James Wood: These Etonians, 4 July 2019

... them, all involved in varying degrees of Brexit: Cameron, Johnson and Rees-Mogg; Zac Goldsmith and Jesse Norman; Alexander Nix, the co-founder of Cambridge Analytica; Nigel Oakes, the founder of its sinister parent company, SCL; Kwasi Kwarteng, the son of Ghanaian immigrants and a King’s Scholar at Eton, who went on to Cambridge and Harvard and ...

How the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 gave birth to a memorial industry

Norman Finkelstein: Uses of the Holocaust, 6 January 2000

The Holocaust in American Life 
by Peter Novick.
Houghton Mifflin, 320 pp., £16.99, June 1999, 0 395 84009 0
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... both essays as a book. The Forward warned that Holt was ‘preparing to bring out a book by Norman Finkelstein, a notorious ideological opponent of the State of Israel’. Alleging that ‘Finkelstein’s glaring bias and audacious statements ... are irreversibly tainted by his anti-Zionist stance,’ the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham ...


Christopher Hitchens: Reagan and Rambo, 3 October 1985

... proved too strong. For an entire hour the other night, the Reverend Jerry Falwell and the Reverend Jesse Jackson went at it as if the Freedom Riders were even now being bayed by Bull Connor. The two men still detest each other from that period, and neither of them seems to have read anything except the Bible (or ‘the babble’, as they both call ...

If you don’t swing, don’t ring

Christopher Turner: Playboy Mansions, 21 April 2016

Pornotopia: An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics 
by Beatriz Preciado.
Zone, 303 pp., £20.95, October 2014, 978 1 935408 48 2
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Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny 
by Holly Madison.
Dey Street, 334 pp., £16.99, July 2015, 978 0 06 237210 9
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... women and salacious cartoons, he published (or rather, mostly republished) work by John Steinbeck, Norman Mailer, Arthur Conan Doyle, Margaret Atwood, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, Saul Bellow, P.G. Wodehouse, Anne Sexton and John Updike. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was first serialised in the magazine. ‘I only read it for the articles,’ joked ...

Further Left

R.W. Johnson, 16 August 1990

Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Hogarth, 357 pp., £9.99, July 1990, 0 7012 0903 8
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Blood, Class and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 398 pp., £18, July 1990, 0 7011 3361 9
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... spoiled darling left behind in the Home Counties’. But his most furious barbs are reserved for Norman Podhoretz, the reactionary editor of Commentary. Hitchens seems almost obsessed by him, returning to the attack over and over again. It is a curious fact that Podhoretz, an immodest man who has much about which to be modest, so got under the skin of ...
... window stood a canonised Pope with an anchor by his side and beside another a much decayed Tree of Jesse. Do you remember the frescoes? Thence across the fields beneath murmuring poplars to the main road between Eyn-sham and Witney. Crossing this we plunged up the drive of Eynsham Hall, a huge Victorian Tudor house in a few square miles of park. An American ...

The Pocahontas Exception

Thomas Laqueur: America’s Ancestor Obsession, 30 March 2023

A Nation of Descendants: Politics and the Practice of Genealogy in US History 
by Francesca Morgan.
North Carolina, 301 pp., £27.95, October 2021, 978 1 4696 6478 1
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... engages the visual imagination: the invention sometime around the first millennium of the Tree of Jesse (the father of David), representing the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1: ‘And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.’ We are still in the age of the family tree: with ...

Refugees from the Past

James Meek: Jameson on Chandler, 5 January 2017

Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 87 pp., £12.99, July 2016, 978 1 78478 216 0
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... in these novels, they must be white and have a surname that is either Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, Scandinavian or Celtic: Marlowe, Riordan, Sternwood, Ohls, Morgan, Conquest, Potter, Petersen, Haviland. A small number of characters with names that are vaguely Euro-Catholic are grudgingly brought into individual ...

Higher Ordinariness

Jonathan Meades: Poor Surrey, 23 May 2024

Interwar: British Architecture 1919-39 
by Gavin Stamp.
Profile, 568 pp., £40, March, 978 1 80081 739 5
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The Buildings of England: Surrey 
by Charles O’Brien, Ian Nairn and Bridget Cherry.
Yale, 854 pp., £60, November 2022, 978 0 300 23478 7
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... des arts décoratifs. The coinage ‘Art Deco’, possibly by the antiques dealer John Jesse (he couldn’t remember), wasn’t made until the 1960s. It was previously known as the Jazz Style and the Daily Mail style: the newspaper’s Ideal Home exhibition introduced the horizontally-banded Crittall window. It was gaudy, brash and carnivalesque ...

Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity

James Meek, 18 February 2016

... Nottinghamshire, or Missouri, or Victoria, once homes to the mythical Robin Hood and the real Jesse James and Ned Kelly, no longer are. Still, if we move out from Hobsbawm’s focus on the social bandit as actual individual, and consider the entire Robin Hood myth, the ideal remains familiar in our outlaw-free world. The myth requires a great mass of ...

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