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Here come the judges

Conor Gearty: The constitution, 4 June 1998

This Time: Our Constitutional Revolution 
by Anthony Barnett.
Vintage, 371 pp., £6.99, December 1997, 0 09 926858 2
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The Voice of the People: A Constitution for Tomorrow 
by Robert Alexander.
Weidenfeld, 214 pp., £17.99, September 1997, 0 297 84109 2
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The Making and Remaking of the British Constitution 
by Lord Nolan and Stephen Sedley.
Blackstone, 142 pp., £19.95, November 1997, 1 85431 704 0
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... with that we’re off again. This time into freedom of information, open government and the late Lord Franks (‘the representative of the British political-administrative élite’). In the same year that Barnett was kicking Charter 88 into life in various basement flats and leftist magazine offices, Robert Alexander accepted ennoblement as a Tory peer in ...

Where will the judges sit?

Stephen Sedley: What will happen to the Law Lords?, 16 September 1999

The House of Lords: Its Parliamentary and Judicial Roles 
edited by Brice Dickson and Paul Carmichael.
Hart, 258 pp., £30, December 1998, 1 84113 020 6
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Constitutional Futures: A History of the Next Ten Years 
edited by Robert Hazell.
Oxford, 263 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 0 19 829801 3
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The Law and Parliament 
edited by Dawn Olivier and Gavin Drewry.
Butterworth, 219 pp., £15.95, September 1998, 0 406 98092 6
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Crown Powers: Subject and Citizens 
by Christopher Vincenzi.
Pinter, 343 pp., £47.50, April 1998, 1 85567 454 8
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... force, in 1876, a further Act was pushed through, against the advice of both the Liberal reformer Lord Selborne and the Conservative reformer Lord Cairns, restoring the Lords’ nationwide appellate jurisdiction (apart from criminal appeals from Scotland) and creating the office of ...

The Irresistible Itch

Colin Kidd: Vandals in Bow Ties, 3 December 2009

Personal Responsibility: Why It Matters 
by Alexander Brown.
Continuum, 214 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 84706 399 1
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... of departmental policy, such as Sir Thomas Dugdale’s in 1954 over the Crichel Down affair or Lord Carrington’s in 1982 after the invasion of the Falkland Islands, don’t happen very often. More recently, Michael Howard’s reluctance as home secretary to accept blame for the failures of the prison service introduced some new distinctions into the ...


W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... On the other hand, John Birt is suitably impressed when I tell him that I actually met the great Lord Reith on the day of his extraordinary speech in the House of Lords likening commercial broadcasting to the Black Death. It was as if I’d said to the present Chief of me Defence Staff that I’d met the first Duke of Wellington. 15 March 1994. A reply ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... Peter Brooke each receiving £8049 of public money to assuage their sense of political failure. Lord Waddington stood down as Leader of the House of Lords at the same time, for which he received £12,639, plus (shortly afterwards) the Governorship of Bermuda, at a salary of £63,000 per annum. David Mellor received £8049 when he resigned. Michael Mates ...

Cronyism and Clientelism

Peter Geoghegan, 5 November 2020

... response of many people in power to a difficult situation is to call on their corporate contacts. Lord Deighton, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs and chief executive of the London 2012 Olympics, was appointed ‘PPE tsar’ in April. The Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith was a Deloitte consultant before becoming MP for Norwich North at the age of ...

To Serve My Friends

Jonathan Parry, 27 January 2022

Trust and Distrust: Corruption in Office in Britain and Its Empire, 1600-1850 
by Mark Knights.
Oxford, 488 pp., £35, December 2021, 978 0 19 879624 4
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... more assiduously and used the honours system to gratify the desire for social acceptance. In 1895, Lord Rosebery’s short-lived Liberal government gave peerages to a banker and a linoleum manufacturer in return for assistance. In the following decade, Conservative ministries created 1447 knights, against 448 in 1875-84. By the late 1890s, the ...

The Common Law and the Constitution

Stephen Sedley, 8 May 1997

... with the remit contained in the white paper which set it up. It is not the leading judgment of Lord Parker which today merits rereading bur the second one, in which Lord Justice Diplock observed that what was in dispute was the last unclaimed prize of the constitutional conflicts of the 17th century. Government had ...

Judicial Politics

Stephen Sedley, 23 February 2012

... Among the last, now more than half a century ago, were James Reid QC, a Scottish Tory MP who, as Lord Reid, became one of the best judges of the postwar years, and Cyril Radcliffe QC, a distinguished public servant and barrister. The legislation which in 2009 took final appeal in the UK out of the legislature and into its own space, and which populated it ...
Sleaze: Politicians, Private Interests and Public Reaction 
edited by F.F. Ridley and Alan Doig.
Oxford, 222 pp., £10.99, April 1996, 0 19 922273 8
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Changing Trains: The Autobiography of Steven Norris 
Hutchinson, 273 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 09 180212 1Show More
The Quango Debate 
edited by F.F. Ridley and David Wilson.
Oxford, 188 pp., £10.99, September 1995, 9780199222384
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... breach of Parliamentary privilege. Hamilton untied that knot at once. Supported by Lady Thatcher, Lord Archer and the entire Parliamentary Tory Party, he conspired to force through Parliament an amendment to the Defamation Act which allows MPs to waive their privilege in order to sue for libel. Backed by his new law, Hamilton charged back into court and, a ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: On Greensill, 6 May 2021

... Stanley), was hired by Greensill while working for the civil service. The former Met Police chief Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe was a paid adviser for Greensill while he was acting as a non-executive director of the Cabinet Office. Francis Maude, another member of the House of Lords, has also been drawn into the scandal: he was Cabinet Office minister when the ...

Turning on Turtles

Stephen Sedley: Fundamental values, 15 November 2001

Fundamental Values 
edited by Kim Economides et al.
Hart, 359 pp., £40, December 2000, 1 84113 118 0
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... life than we were; but it would be useful to look – as Bridge does not – at some of the parts Lord Nolan’s reforms have not reached. Some minor scams which escaped Nolan, such as the merchandising of MPs’ addresses (for a sizable fee MPs gave as their home address the office of a lobbying organisation, to which ...

Foreign Body

Tim Winton, 22 June 1995

Patrick White: Letters 
edited by David Marr.
Cape, 678 pp., £35, January 1995, 0 224 03516 9
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... in his correspondence with the novelist Elizabeth Harrower, the painter Brett Whitely and Cynthia Nolan, as well as supportive letters to Randolph Stow, his modest and neglected peer. There are moments, too, in his long relationship with Viking’s Ben Huebsch, but the brightest example, the most sustained retraction of the claws, is reserved for Philip ...

Hot Air

Nicholas Penny: Robert Hughes, 7 June 2007

Things I Didn’t Know: A Memoir 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 395 pp., £25, September 2006, 1 84655 014 9
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... was being punished by the press for being ‘a fucking elitist cunt’. The grandson of the first lord mayor of Sydney, and the son of a successful lawyer and war hero, the young Hughes did not ‘talk Australian’ and was singled out as a ‘pom’ by a ‘mean, iron-muscled bully of a grazier’s son’ when he arrived at his tough Roman Catholic boarding ...

It is very easy to die here

Rachel Nolan: Who killed the 43?, 4 April 2019

A Massacre in Mexico: The True Story behind the Missing 43 Students 
by Anabel Hernández, translated by John Washington.
Verso, 416 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 1 78873 148 5
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I Couldn’t Even Imagine that They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks against the Students of Ayotzinapa 
by John Gibler.
City Lights, 264 pp., £12.99, December 2017, 978 0 87286 748 2
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... It is harder to cite proof at the federal level, though a witness at the recent trial of the drug lord El Chapo alleged that Enrique Peña Nieto, the PRI president at the time of Ayotzinapa, accepted a $100 million bribe from the Sinaloa cartel. We don’t know exactly who is involved with what, or when. Who brought down the plane, if anyone? Who disappeared ...

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