Robert Skidelsky
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Articles from The Independent

Essay: Confessions of a long-distance biographer
Robert Skidelsky
independent on Sunday | Sunday, November 23, 2003

 
It is no secret that I have spent a large chunk of my life writing about the economist John Maynard Keynes. In 1973, a few months after my son Edward was born, he got a postcard from my mother-in-law. She clearly believed in encouraging early habits of reading. It was of Gwen Raverat's famous watercolour of Keynes as a young man. "This is a gentleman whom you and Mummy and Daddy will soon grow to hate v. enormously I expect. He looks a bit furtive to me." My son Edward is now 30.
 
My original 1970 contract with Macmillan was to write a single- volume 150,000 word biography to be delivered "not later than 31 December 1972". This must rank high in the annals of contractual fantasy. The first volume was published in 1983, the second in

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Opinion: Beware the collectivisation of education
Robert Skidelsky
The independent | Monday, March 20, 2000

 
TONY BLAIR'S view of the history of education is one of state neglect with occasional exceptions. I don't want to say there's no truth in this story. But there is an alternative story to be told, which is not one of neglect but one of creeping collectivisation.
 
On the resources side, this culminated in the abolition of all fee- paying in local authority and voluntary aided schools in 1944, and the creation thereafter of an apartheid between an independent fee- paying sector, educating less than 10 per cent of all pupils, and a free - that is, tax-financed - state sector. Roughly the same thing happened, at roughly the same time in healthcare, with the setting up of the National Health Service.
 
The effect of the Butler Act was to cut

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Podium: The flaws in the new world order
Robert Skidelsky
The Independent | Tuesday, June 22, 1999

 
ONE OF the oldest divides in politics is between the moralists and the prudentialists. Moralists have a passion to make the crooked path of humanity straight; prudentialists to make the best of an inherently imperfect world. I know that prudence is itself a moral virtue, and moralists are also capable of discarding the sandals of the preacher for the clogs of the politician. But the basic divide goes back at least to biblical times. The New Testament calls the two sides the "children of light" and the "children of this world".
 
 
Both moralists and prudentialists indulge in dreams of a single world. Moralists often think of this in terms of a new world order, a world united by a common set of principles or "norms". Prudentialists

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Essay: The real problem with capitalism is the markets
Robert Skidelsky
The Independent | Saturday, October 24, 1998

 
IN RECENT weeks the newspapers have been full of the world financial crisis. Experts have seriously wondered whether it will lead to a global recession, even another Great Depression. Underlying that question is an even deeper one: will the new globalism that arose from the ruins of Communism and statism in the Eighties have an even shorter life than the old globalism that perished in the First World War and the dole queues of the Thirties?
 
 
The idea that the last two decades of the 20th century have reconnected our century with its first decades is natural, but also tantalising. The century starts and ends - here I quote from a recent book by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, "with markets ascendant and an expanding global economy,

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Obituary: Professor Nicholas Wahl
Robert Skidelsky
The Independent | Wednesday, September 18, 1996

 
The death of Nicholas Wahl at the early age of 66 is a grievous loss to his many friends and to the study of French politics. Nick Wahl was one of the small band of outstanding American scholars of post-war France. His knowledge of French culture and politics was encyclopaedic; he cultivated everyone in France worth knowing; and inspired generations of students with a love of France.
 
His personality and influence were not captured by his all too meagre publications. He was an unabashed admirer of the Fifth Republic, and his one single-authored book, The Fifth Republic: France's new political system (1959), was a sophisticated analysis of its constitution. His admiration for Charles de Gaulle dates from his days as a graduate student at

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