Goodbye to All That

Students of opinion polls were surprised by the outcome of the British general election but students of history should not have been. Politicians, it appears, are not the only people who tell lies at election time. The opinion polls were universally and spectacularly wrong, and not, although this is their …

The Making of Mr. Major

On the day the war ended in the Persian Gulf so did Britain’s phony domestic peace. Prime Minister John Major went to the House of Commons to give the expected praise to the courage of soldiers and airmen and the prescience of their commanders. He added some words of gratitude …

Mrs. Thatcher’s Last Stand?

The Iron Lady: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher

by Hugo Young

The Thatcher Decade

by Peter Riddell
Since the celebration, on May 4, 1989, of the tenth anniversary of her becoming prime minister, not much has gone, right for Margaret Thatcher. By the end of last year the euphoric talk of an “economic miracle” that had followed Nigel Lawson’s tax-slashing budget of 1988 had given way to …

Her Majesty’s Secret

The Enchanted Glass: Britain and its Monarchy

by Tom Nairn
An armored black Zil draws up at the ceremonial entrance to Windsor Castle. Out gets Mr. Gorbachev. He comes forward to meet the Queen. As he does so, he anxiously tucks his scarf into his black overcoat, a gesture equivalent to making certain his fly isn’t undone. This, apparently, is …

Not-so Free Speech in Britain

There is a growing sense, here in Britain and abroad, especially in the United States, that freedom of speech is being diminished under Margaret Thatcher’s government. The indictment rests on a number of specific instances. In the coming session of parliament Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act of 1911 …

Odd Man Out

The Stalker Affair

by John Stalker
Two stories unwind together: police murders in Northern Ireland; the ruin of a distinguished policeman’s career. A question posed by John Stalker’s fascinating but, in the end, baffling book is whether the two stories are connected by an official conspiracy. In March 1984 John Stalker took up his duties as …

Mrs. Thatcher’s New England

The Changing Anatomy of Britain

by Anthony Sampson
Until Mrs. Thatcher’s recent victory, no prime minister since Lord Salisbury in 1900 had won an election, served a full term, and then been reelected. And these should be hard times for incumbents. Since the period of postwar prosperity came to its abrupt end in 1973, no Western leader has …