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Legal Vampire (Buckinghamshire, England)

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Jesus of Nazareth [DVD] [1977]
Jesus of Nazareth [DVD] [1977]
Dvd ~ Robert Powell
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Has lost whatever magic it once had, 26 Oct. 2014
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'Lew Grade Presents a Franco Zeffirrelli Production 'Jesus of Nazareth'', starring nearly everyone famous from Robert Powell and Ian Holm to Laurence Olivier, James Mason and Peter Ustinov (young persons reading this who don't know who Lew Grade, Laurence Olivier, James Mason or Peter Ustinov were -or these days even Jesus of Nazareth??- believe me, they were famous in their day.

When this series was on television in the 1970s it was a smash hit with critics and public alike and shown around the world. Girls at my then secondary school who were not otherwise particularly religious admitted crying at the scene where Jesus dies.

So it should have been good.

For some reason I missed most of it at the time and only realised afterwards what a success it had been so many years later ordered a DVD to find out what I had missed.

Sorry to say it, but to me whatever magic this series may once have had is lost. I cannot help wondering if some of the 5 star reviews here are based on people's memories of the impression this series made on them all those years ago rather than an appraisal of how it holds up now.

Yes, I understand that this is a shortened version of the original, which included some controversial scenes adding things to Jesus' life not recorded in the Gospels. However, from what I have seen I would not want this to be even longer than it is.

What is left is frankly a fairly conventional portrayal of Jesus' life, its style looking back to what had already been done before in the Cecil B De Mille-type Biblical epics of the 1950s, ending, in this edited DVD, with James Mason as Joseph of Arimathea staring at Christ's empty tomb and saying with unconvincing portentiousness 'This is how it begins. This is how it all begins'. The music was probably good once, but the sound quality of the recording has deteriorated

Jesus of Nazareth has none of the fresh impact of say Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ [DVD] (which is interesting, although not for the faint hearted, because of its realistic stress on the cruelty and violence of execution by crucifixion.)

Veep: The Complete Season One [DVD] [2013]
Veep: The Complete Season One [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, clever, lively, cynical comedy, probably closer to reality than we would like to think, 14 Oct. 2014
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Enjoyable, clever, lively, cynical comedy about an imaginary woman Vice President of the USA and her staff.

Good cast. I especially like sweet little Anna Chlumsky (she pronounces it 'Chumsky') as Amy, with her wonderfully expressive facial expressions and body postures.

Are politics & government really like this? Speaking as an ex-Whitehall Civil Servant (some years ago) who had slight exposure to government ministers, I would guess the answer is 'yes and no', but it is probably closer to reality than we would like to think.

Only 8 episodes this season but a lot of extras, mostly well worth watching especially, the 'Chung' episode 'Apology' scene and the episode commentaries, with the show's Scottish-Italian creator Armando Iannucci and the main cast members. These are mostly great fun to listen to, and sound as though the cast enjoyed recording them too, although there may be slightly too many commentaries (12 in total).

(The next Season, Season 2, has lost a little of its freshness and making it had perhaps become a little more just a regular job for the cast, but it is still good.)

Oroonoko, the Rover and Other Works (Penguin Classics)
Oroonoko, the Rover and Other Works (Penguin Classics)
by Aphra Behn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very mixed interest but Oroonoko is a gem, 9 Oct. 2014
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The controversial late seventeenth century writer Aphra Benn was one of the first women in history to earn a living by her pen. In Oroonoko (a gem, included here) and other 'novellas' (as we would now call them) she was one of the inventors of the English novel, before Richardson, Fielding, Defoe and Swift.

In 'the Widow Ranter' (also included here) she wrote the first play ever to be set in North America.

She also wrote much else including some more standard Restoration period tales, poems and plays probably suited to their time but for many modern readers less exciting.

Popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, her work referred too frankly to sex for the nineteenth century and fell into obscurity (although those looking for titillation or pornography would do better elsewhere!). In recent times, with changing mores, as well as a feminist interest in early women writers, Aphra Benn came back into fashion in literature courses, although she is still little known to the general public.

But surely more important than any of that, for most readers, is how enjoyable her work is to read! On that basis, I can only give this collection 3 Stars overall but 5 Stars to Oroonoko (read it if you can in some form even if you do not buy this collection).

Oroonoko is the story of a African Prince, a tragic hero, taken across the sea to be a lowly plantation slave in Surinam in South America, then briefly an English colony (although later captured by the Dutch). There, Oronooko leads an attempted mass escape of slaves, until doomed by the odds against him and his followers' failure of courage. This work is as lively and interesting as Robinson Crusoe or Gulliver's Travels but with more love interest, and is just as much a novel in everything except its length and the fact that the term 'novel' had not yet been invented. (The word 'Novel', originally simply meaning 'something new', was later applied to this form of literature because people realised it was different from the kind of tales written previously, and they had no other word for it.)

Aphra Benn draws no explicit moral about slavery. We should not assume she anticipated later opposition to the institution of slavery, although I think it possible that she did. She tells us without explicit moral judgment that her hero Oroonoko, when a war leader in Africa, had himself sold captured enemies into slavery, which I suppose is arguably slightly more humane than the obvious alternative of killing them.

The authoress as a believer in aristocracy (although not of noble birth herself) may have been less concerned with general questions of race or the rights and wrongs of slavery as an institution as with her hero's naturally noble character. However, her readers then and now must have been struck by the injustice of an African man kept in slavery although his courage, dignity and intelligence exceeded those of his white masters.

I would give the 'Widow Ranter' 3 or 4 stars. Set in colonial Virginia, it is a lively if somewhat unsubtle and overlong farce, with elements of tragedy towards the end. The hero Bacon, who leads a rebellion against the corrupt and cowardly local authorities, is another tragic hero whose nobility of spirit is contrasted with the mean and squalid 'types' he must contend with (many of the other characters are literally 'types', being given names such as 'Timorous' or 'Whimsy', like personifications of vices in Pilgrim's Progress or Medieval 'Mystery' plays).

I have not yet read the other play included in this collection 'The Rover'.

Much of the rest of this book I would only give 2 or even 1 stars. But do read Oroonoko.


So far as the modern revival of interest in Aphra Benn as an outspoken an early woman writer is linked to feminism, then, if it is not too presumptuous to try to judge what someone 300 years ago would make of modern ideas, I think she would agree with quite a lot of the ideas of modern feminism and racial equality, in their less dogmatic forms, but scarcely at all with modern political correctness.

She wanted men to be 'gentlemanly', but to her 'gentlemanly' should definitely include being 'manly' as well as being 'gentle'.

In politics (British party politics began during her lifetime) Aphra Benn was a Tory, the more traditional party, rather than a Whig.

Breaking Bad - Season 1 [DVD]
Breaking Bad - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bryan Cranston
Offered by Shop4World
Price: £6.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Very well made and original. Nice to see a subject like chemistry made potentially cool, 28 Aug. 2014
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Very well made, original series that maintains its standards in subsequent seasons.

Nice to see a subject like chemistry being made potentially cool.

Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White who we first see as a High School Chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who once had greater ambitions as an industrial research chemist co-founding his own company, until he lost that chance by quarrelling with his then business partner.

When Walter is diagnosed with a fatal illness, knowing he has not made enough money as a teacher to provide adequately for his family after his death, using his ordinary, respectable job as a cover, he decides to use his scientific skills to make money fast and dangerously. He does so by secretly manufacturing the illegal drug crystal methamphetamine to an exceptionally high quality and purity compared to those previously offered by local drug dealers.

Aided by his former pupil, the volatile Jesse, played by Aaron Paul, Walter becomes drawn into a world previously foreign to him of drug dealing networks, money laundering and murderous drug barons, with whom he learns to co-operate and then compete, and shows he has a ruthless streak himself.

You might think Walter's original motive of making money to provide for his family after he is gone comes close to excusing what he does, yet the strains of leading a secret life threaten to break up his marriage and family. His need for money is also partly due to being too proud to ask his former business partner for help.

This means that although this programme is sufficiently well made that we can become involved enough to actually want Walter and his side-kick Jesse not to be caught, Walter is never fully likeable. The makers of this series intended it that way, as they, rightly, do not want us to go away thinking that supplying illegal drugs is a `cool' career choice. However, this also creates the one major weakness of `Breaking Bad' as entertainment: we can be interested in the central character and what he does, but we cannot really like him.

Hence, although Breaking Bad has won many awards, is interesting to watch and I recommend it, compared to another very good and original US crime related series of recent years that also has with a morally ambiguous hero, Dexter, while Breaking Bad may on balance be just slightly the better of 2 very good programmes for acting, directing and script writing, Dexter is just slightly more enjoyable to watch. If you can, watch both Breaking Bad and Dexter; but if you only see one, I personally would go for Dexter: Complete Season 1 [DVD].

Dexter: Complete Season 1 [DVD]
Dexter: Complete Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael C. Hall
Offered by Direct Entertainment Supplies
Price: £9.77

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easier to Like than Breaking Bad, 28 Aug. 2014
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If I describe this excellent series it will sound worse than it is so please do not be put off from trying it.

Dexter, a forensic `blood splatter analyst' for the Miami Police, is a secret `controlled sociopath'.

A sociopath is a person with a currently untreatable mental condition whereby they have no conscience, remorse or sympathy to restrain selfish, destructive or violent impulses.

It is of course easy for someone like that to become a criminal and many do.

However, many others, the controlled sociopaths like Dexter, while realising they are different, learn to live mostly unnoticed among us, mimicking our behaviour so as not to stand out. Such people are restrained in their conduct not by any solid sense of morality or sympathy for others, but by learning that life is easier if they work within society's laws and morality; or at least, to seem to do so enough not to be caught.

In Dexter's case his adoptive father, a policeman, recognised early on that Dexter was a sociopath, but instead of disowning him taught him to direct his more violent and destructive impulses in a way that is, arguably, better both for Dexter and for society than if he had become a straight criminal. By night he secretly tracks down and eliminates murderers, rapists and such like he encounters in his day job as a scientist with the Miami Police Department who are clearly guilty but who cannot be convicted under the law with all its procedural safeguards.

I know that probably sounds terrible, but, as I have said, it will sound worse than it is so please do not be put off from trying Dexter. You may well find you like him; indeed while you might not expect to like a serial killer, Dexter is actually easier to like than the hero of `Breaking Bad' with which this series is often compared.

Particularly good among the cast are Julie Benz as Dexter's shy and vulnerable girlfriend (here playing a very different character from her other best known role as Darla the vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel) and Jennifer Carpenter as Dexter's policewoman sister Debra [wrong spelling of the name in my opinion but let that pass]. Both are attached to Dexter but neither knows about his darker, secret life. Like many sociopaths, knowing most people could not take the truth about him, hiding in plain sight has become second nature to Dexter.

Anyone who becomes interested in the subject of controlled sociopaths may want to check out Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding In Plain Sight by ME Thomas (a pseudonym) and her blog She is a former assistant professor of law who is a diagnosed controlled sociopath herself. She said that this first Season of Dexter while not quite 100% accurate is was so close she suspected there was a sociopath among the script writers (she suggested if one of the writers had a CV that looked 'too perfect' it would probably be them). She thought later Seasons became somewhat less accurate as a portrayal of a sociopath but that it was still a good programme.

The novel on which this series is based, Jeff Lindsay's 'Darkly Dreaming Dexter' is also really good.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 3, 2014 5:44 PM BST

The Jazz Age
The Jazz Age
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun even if you are not normally a jazz fan, 28 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Jazz Age (Audio CD)
Bryan Ferry's pop songs are here turned into traditional style instrumental jazz so skilfully that if you do not know to listen for the tunes of his pop songs you would miss them. Fun even if you are not normally a jazz fan.

Brian does not personally perform on this album and much credit to those who do, but it is still in some sense very much Bryan Ferry's.

By the way, if you find familiar pop songs performed in a different way can revivify them, while it has nothing to do with jazz, let me recommend the unfairly little known 1970s album All This & World War II (if only Amazon revert to offering it for a reasonable price!) in which Bryan Ferry and about 20 other famous singers including Tina Turner, the Bee Gees, Leo Sayer, Helen Reddy and many others perform Beatles songs with an orchestral backing (Bryan performs `Elena Rigby')

Offered by encorerecords
Price: £9.28

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you are not already a Lana del Rey fan, this album will not convert you, 28 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Ultraviolence (Audio CD)
If you are not already a Lana del Rey fan, this album `Ultraviolence' will probably not convert you, so if you are not very familiar with her music but want to know what all the fuss is about you will do better to start with her previous album `Born to Die' or subsequent singles, EPs or videos like `Ride', `Burning Desire', `Young & Beautiful' from the Great Gatsby film or the video of `Chelsea Hotel No 2' on YouTube. These are all usefully collected on LANA DEL REY Greatest Hits/Live at iTunes Festival/Videos CD DVD BOX if you can still buy that. )

This particular album `Ultraviolence' does display most of the good things about her previous work such as intelligent lyrics, good instrumental introductions and the unique sound of Lana's voice when she sings deeper notes; just not as much or enough of these things. Compare `Old Money' from this album with her earlier `Young and Beautiful', which has similarities of theme; while both certainly have an appeal `Young and Beautiful' is obviously better. The same can be said of `F*ck*d My Way Up To the Top' from this album compared to her earlier `Gods and Monsters'.

`Black Beauty' from this album, in which the singer chides her lover for only wanting to see the darkness in everything, is a good song, but would not have been a standout track on her main previous album. Perhaps Lana herself might have paid more attention to the message when making this one!

The title track `Ultraviolence' has a good if short instrumental introduction, but is not her best song. I am not sure what to make of the singer's ambivalent attitude to domestic violence:

`He hit me and it felt like a kiss/ I can hear Sirens, Sirens'

The `Sirens, Sirens' skilfully expresses in just 2 words a lot about what must have happened (we can assume the incident got out of hand, someone called police and possibly an ambulance and there was much noise and commotion). However, the sentiment is worrying, unless Lana is just expressing rather than condoning the ambivalence that, like it or not, a minority of victims of domestic violence may feel. If so, brave of Lana to risk feminist abuse for admitting this. (It is notorious among police and local authority housing officers that many women who complain of domestic violence voluntarily go back to their abusers.)

I am also uncomfortable with the album's title `Ultraviolence', given its meaning in the late Stanley Kubrick's brilliant but disturbing film of 'A Clockwork Orange', which was the first recorded use of the term; fortunately nothing on this album is actually as violent as that.

For those who bought this as a CD, it would have been nice if the little booklet accompanying it had printed the lyrics in full; Lana's lyrics are often good enough to stand as poetry on their own but it is hard to make out all the words just listening to the songs.

I do not want to be too critical of Lana who may have her own problems or bad memories, or her Muse just does not strike consistently. It cannot have helped that while making this album she is supposed to have flown into New York planning to record the song on this album `Brooklyn Baby' in collaboration with the ex-Velvet Underground musician Lou Reed, who is mentioned in the song, only to find that he had died that morning. However, this album is not Lana's best.

Pretty Little Liars - Season 2 [DVD]
Pretty Little Liars - Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Troian Bellisario
Price: £10.90

5.0 out of 5 stars good programme not like any other, 28 Aug. 2014
This really good programme is not like any other. Although conceived for especially a teenage girl market, just as some ‘children's’ books and films are good enough to appeal to people of any age, Pretty Little Liars should appeal to intelligent people of either sex and any age from older chid to elderly. After all, most of us who are not teenagers at school either used to be or will be, so we can still identify with some of the situations.

Anyone who has not yet seen Season 1, better to start with that as the plot is complex.

This Season 2 has everything going for it that Season 1 did, and at least as excellent.

The mysteries linked to the death of the 4 girls’ friend Alison, and threatening messages and worse from the anonymous ‘A’ [is this Alison still alive? Someone pretending to be?] when they continue to ask questions about her death, continue. We learn a good deal but each answer or revelation exposes a new mystery hiding behind it.

The large cast of characters continue to be good. Of the four central characters, little Lucy Hale playing Aria continues to be both sweet and a talented actress. Trioan Bellisario as Spencer is also especially interesting but Emily & Hannah are good too.

Of the other characters especially good are Keegan Allen as Toby and Tammin Sursok [funny name, good actress] as his vengeful, blind sister Jenna, and among the parents especially Holly Marie Combs (Aria’s mother) and Laura Leighton (Hannah’s mother).

Thank you to everyone involved in any way with ‘Pretty Little Liars’. I can only hope they can pull off the difficult feat of keeping it as interesting for all 7 projected Seasons and intended spin-off, without the mysteries within mysteries that are at the heart of the plot becoming too impossibly convoluted to follow!

The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Economy (Cambridge Companions to the Ancient World)
The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Economy (Cambridge Companions to the Ancient World)
by Walter Scheidel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting accessible book for anyone with a curiosity about this subject, 13 Aug. 2014
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Interesting book for anyone with a curiosity about this subject, quite accessible to non-specialists in Classics and/or Economics. Consists of essays by various authors (often the best approach to a large subject) on different aspects of how Romans earned their living and traded.

The Roman Empire increased productivity and (for a time) standards of living by a combination of:

-New technology e.g. water mills greatly reduced the labour required to grind corn and powered other processes like saw mills

-Specialisation made possible by an unprecedentedly large market, especially in the city of Rome. The number of different occupations for which names have been preserved from Roman times exceeds that for e.g. Renaissance Italy, as well as reflecting easier entry to occupations due to shorter apprenticeships than craft guilds imposed in later centuries. There may have been as many different varieties of wine grapes planted in Italy in Roman times as there are today. In later Roman times North African Red Slipware pottery became the premium `brand' all over the Mediterranean; a couple of centuries after the Western Empire fell, it seems the only pottery in use in Rome was manufactured within a 30 mile radius.

-Utilising previously underemployed rural labour. A peasant household with several sons could not easily increase its landholding to employ them all fully; hence alternative opportunities to work permanently or seasonally in the city (many worked on building sites in Rome part of the year but returned to the country for the harvest) allowed fuller productive use of labour

However, the economy was still heavily seasonal. Grain and therefore bread, the staple food, were most abundant and cheap after the harvest, so people had surplus income to spend on other goods then. Bread became more expensive through the year until the next harvest, so surplus income to spend on other goods fell. Demand for the products of urban craftsmen and traders further fluctuated seasonally because the upper classes, who had most to spend, tended to live only part of the year in town and part on their country estates. Although ships carried goods all over the Empire and beyond, the weather only made it safe to sail at certain times of year.

All this meant that with rare exceptions like shield factories in the Late Roman Republic, there was not enough regular demand to support large business organisations or factories producing continuously. Craftsmen (free or slave) mostly worked independently making individual pieces to order, so there was a limit to the economies of scale that could be achieved.

The Romans never created banks, joint stock companies or the equivalent of Medieval Guilds. However, they did have private mutual credit arrangements to transfer payments over large distances and trade fellowships with a pagan religious dedication, in which fear of expulsion and ostracism encouraged members to honour debts to each other.

In some ways their economy was in advance of, but in other ways less advanced than, early modern Europe, but for its time it was a considerable achievement. Roman lead smelting was on such a scale that the traces of what we would now call atmospheric pollution it produced can be detected preserved in the ice of faraway Greenland, far beyond where any Roman, as far as we know, ever ventured or Rome was ever heard of.

However, the Roman Empire failed to create an industrial revolution. Consequently, in the long term the increases in productivity allowed an increase in population, which in turn ate up the benefits of the increased productivity. Increased standards of living in the long term therefore proved temporary. (This is sometimes called the 'Malthusian' trap after the nineteenth century clergyman Thomas Malthus who described this problem.)

In fact the evidence of skeletons from excavated burial sites is that the average Roman was never as well-nourished and healthy as the average barbarian beyond the frontier, where the sparser population made it harder for diseases to spread, and left more space for animal pasture & hunting grounds to supplement the mainly cereal and vegetable diet of the Roman masses.

If interested in this subject, I also recommend The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean: The Ancient World Economy and the Kingdoms of Africa, Arabia and India which deals with the Roman Empire's trade and other contacts with East Africa, Arabia, India and Sri Lanka and further east than that, and their effects on the Roman economy and society.

Margaret Thatcher's Revolution Revised Edition: How It Happened and What It Meant
Margaret Thatcher's Revolution Revised Edition: How It Happened and What It Meant
by Subroto Roy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars half a revolution, 23 July 2014
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For those interested in this subject, this interesting and well informed book, written about 15 years after Mrs Thatcher fell from power, cuts through much prejudice and propaganda on both sides of the debate, to assess some of the main achievements and failures of Mrs Thatcher's 1979-1990 government, probably the pivotal government of the last 60 years of British history.

This is not a narrative history but a collection of essays on different aspects, each by a different author. Some, like Norman Tebbit and Malcolm Rifkind, were in Mrs Thatcher's cabinet; others are from 'think tanks' or academia, but more realistic than you might expect from academics. Most find things to criticise in the Thatcher government's record but all are broadly sympathetic to the majority of its aims. The subject essay approach means that inevitably some topics on which Mrs Thatcher had significant influence are left out, notably immigration, national identity and the Union between England and Scotland, but those have become more important questions again since this book was written.

This book is not for those emotionally convinced that there was 'nowt wrong with British industry' until Mrs Thatcher went round the country deliberately creating unemployment because she was evil, and that jobs and wealth come from the government, not from economic competitiveness. For those with a more open mind, it shows Mrs Thatcher frequently determined, sometimes stubborn and occasionally stupid in pursuit of her policies, but also that she probably had to be like that to get her policies through against the considerable forces working to frustrate her, including the 'appeasement' and 'establishment' types in her own party.

However, it also shows she could be a realistic politician practicing the `art of the possible', settling for what she could get even if it was much less than she wanted.

She succeeded in drastically reducing especially the higher rates of income tax (a punitive 80-90% for high earners when she took office); but although her example inspired some of the new Eastern European democracies to introduce a `flat' percentage income tax, she never achieved that here

After the great, painful conflict of the year long miner's strike (a fight Mrs T avoided until she was ready to win it) the number of strikes, for which Britain had been notorious, greatly reduced.

While that vast, monopolistic, bureaucratic beast the National Health Service was unlikely to be the most efficient way to deliver healthcare, public gratitude for the work of its doctors and nurses was unthinkingly transferred to the NHS as an institution, which limited the changes Mrs T dared to make to it. Even so, she so disastrously managed to seem `uncaring', that people automatically blamed any shortcomings in the NHS on supposed `Tory cuts', although in most years Mrs T's government increased health spending

The question of `education vouchers' is only briefly mentioned, dismissed without evidence as `not politically possible'. (How hard did anyone in government try? The market forces of consumer choice would have been a better check on the the ideological educational establishment than the bureaucratic National Curriculum. If education vouchers had worked, the public might have accepted a similar reform of public healthcare. That would within a few years have fundamentally reduced the size of the public sector payroll vote, and thereby made Thatcherism's achievements much more secure long-term than they are.)

In foreign policy Mrs Thatcher managed to be both a genuine ally but also an effective critic of US President Ronald Reagan. She was never seriously accused of being his poodle as Tony Blair later was in relation to President George W Bush.

She stood firm against the Communist leaders of the Soviet Union when they seemed to threaten western freedoms, but was also quick to recognise that Gorbachev was different, and to encourage fellow Western leaders to form a constructive relationship with him.

She became increasingly suspicious of the drive towards a European super-state, until by the end of her political life her real sympathies may have been closer to the policies of UKIP than the current Conservative leadership, but that was an idea whose time had not yet come.

With so many top people even in her own party Euro-enthusiasts, Mrs Thatcher felt obliged to concede more than she wanted. The subsequent costly fiascos of British membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (backed by senior ministers Geoffrey Howe & Nigel Lawson), committing the RAF to the expensive but short-range Eurofighter (at the insistence of the euro-enthusiast Michael Heseltine), trying to make sterling follow the ups and downs of the Deutschmark (which Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson did without telling the Prime Minister), and the permanent economic crisis that the Euro single currency subsequently became, all vindicated Mrs Thatcher's doubts and discredited the judgment of those like Lawson, Howe and Heseltine who were instrumental in Mrs Thatcher's downfall.

While it was certainly not Mrs T's wish to undermine the traditional family or to create welfare dependency, perverse incentives in the Benefits system meant that a mother was often financially better off living as single parent than married to the father of her children. Probably not coincidentally, the numbers of single parents living on benefits grew under Mrs Thatcher's government to the point that more was being paid in benefits to single mothers than to the unemployed. However, that would have been a difficult and emotive problem to try to tackle.

In a Preface, former editor of Sunday Telegraph, Peregrine Worsthorne, survivor of a vanishing generation (born in 1923, his Wikipedia entry says that he was effectively brought up by the family butler), quaintly argues that Mrs T failed to understand the importance of "aristocracy" in the "English constitution". However, he complains with a degree of truth that while Mrs T set out to create a land fit for solid citizens like her revered father Alderman Roberts the Grantham grocer, she ended up creating a land more suited to her rich but `dodgy' international businessman son Mark Thatcher.

Overall, although this book is called `The Thatcher Revolution' Mrs Thatcher presided over `half a revolution' not a complete one.

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