Ian Gilmour could scarcely have timed the publication of this book better. The last few weeks really have been a Marxist 'conjuncture': a heightened moment when social realities can no longer be contained by dominant ideologies; or, in the idiom of an un-Marxist age, the moment when the sky is darkened by chickens returning to roost. Within the same few days the true nature of the recession - that it is now largely out of control - has been generally admitted, even by those who throughout the last election campaign stoutly declined to say anything sensible; the precarious position of British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce cars which, like Jaguar and Rolls-Royce aeroengines, had been so unwisely privatised, became all too public; Black Wednesday itself, when delusion and false pride were punished with a speed uncommon even in Classical tragedy. One minute the Prime Minister sees the pound as Europe's hardest currency; the next it is chased out of the ERM, softer than the peseta. And finally, the astonishing decision to obliterate half the country's coal industry - a decision itself a direct consequence of the way gas and electricity were privatised by the Thatcher Government. In the midst of all this Lord Gilmour has published his account of Thatcherism, Dancing with Dogma, a felicitous title to a book which comes wrapped in the fine photo of the author dancing with Dogma which readers of the London Review saw last July - he slightly uneasy, she unnaturally coy. She had just dismissed him from her Cabinet.
LRB 5 November 1992 | PDF Download