On the 30th anniversary of the release of Britain’s best gangster movie, Hardeep Singh Kohli celebrates its eerie prescience‘I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman with a sense of history... our country is not an island any more...’ Harold Shand; gangster, visionary and entrepreneur. For many, The Long Good Friday is the finest British gangster film ever made. Much as I concur with that recommendation, to describe it as merely a gangster movie is to be excessively reductive.
Once every fortnight or so, David Cameron’s chief strategist lands at San Francisco airport and returns to his own version of Paradise. Steve Hilton has spent just six months living in this self-imposed exile — but his friends joke that, inside his head, he has always been in California. Look at it this way: this is the place on Earth which fuses everything the Cameroons most like in life, where hard-headed businessmen drink fruit smoothies and walk around in recycled trainers.
Matthew d’Ancona reflects on the death of Ivan Cameron and the transformative impact this little boy had upon the man who will probably be our next Prime MinisterWhen people ask me about David Cameron’s character, and what sort of man he is, I always cite a very clear memory I have of sitting in the Commons with him in late 2003. He had been tasked by the then Tory leader, Michael Howard, to prepare the opposition’s response to the Hutton Report on the death of Dr David Kelly — a massive forensic undertaking, as well as a thorny political challenge.
Rod Liddle recalls his own childhood fumblings and says that the case of Alfie Patten proves nothing much has changed. If Britain is ‘broken’, it always wasI still sometimes wonder what would have happened if Julie’s parents had somehow stumbled in. Or mine, for that matter. They would have had to peer pretty hard, the lights being so low. Probably their annoyance would have focused first, as so often, on the music: ‘Turn that bloody row off!’ A confected teen-pap trio called the Arrows, if I remember rightly, emanating from a Dansette, grinding out their only real hit: ‘I wanna touch too much of your sweet sweet loving.
On the night of the Mumbai attacks I spoke to an old security source of mine, who has friends in SIS, MI5 and defence intelligence. There was only one thought on the minds of our security chiefs that night: ‘Are they British?’In the bar of the Travellers Club and the pubs and tapas restaurants of Vauxhall Bridge Cross, drink was taken in double and treble measures amid grim assumption that the terrorists would turn out to have links to the UK.
Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is a conservative’s wet dream. No, it’s better than that. The moment you read it — presuming you’re right-wing, that is — you will experience not only a rush of ecstasy, but also a surge of revolutionary fervour and evangelical zeal. You’ll want to email all your friends and tell them the wonderful news: ‘I’m not an evil bastard, after all!’
What Goldberg very effectively does is to remove from the charge sheet the one possible reason any thinking person could have for not wanting to be right-wing: viz, that being on the right automatically makes you a closet fascist/Nazi scumbag.
It is hard for me not to like James Lovelock. South London grammar-school boy, walker, mountain climber, scientist and admirer of Margaret Thatcher: what is not to like? But as the creator of the Gaia hypothesis, he is arguably one of the most influential and provocative radical thinkers of the last 50 years.Forty years ago he thought up the Gaia concept, and was attacked for what people misguidedly saw as a mystical idea, when it was a very scientific concept.