Monday, July 24, 2006

Summer reading!

These are the last 12 political books I have read and very interesting they all were too, not a duff one among them! Seldon's book on Blair was, in my view, outstanding while some of the revelations in the Oborne book were simply unbelievable!

1. Kill the Messenger...Again by Bernard Ingham (2003; Publisher: Methuen)
2. The Time of my Life by Denis Healey (2006; Publisher; Methuen)
3. Downing Street Diary by Bernard Donoughue (2006; Publisher: Jonathan Cape)
4. The Spin Doctor's Diary by Lance Price (2005; Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton)
5. The Dream of Rome Author by Boris Johnson (2006; Publisher: HarperCollins)
6. Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze by Iain Dale & Guido Fawkes (2006; Publisher: Politico's Media)
7. Smell the Coffee - A Wake up Call for the Conservative Party by Michael A Ashcroft (2005; Publisher: MAA Publishing)
8. Blair by Anthony Seldon (2005; Publisher: Free Press)
9. Heroes & Contemporaries by Jonathan Aitken (2006; Publisher: Continuum)
10. The Rise of Political Lying by Peter Oborne (2005;Publisher: Free Press)
11. The Great Deception - Secret History of the European Union by Richard A E North & Christopher Booker (2005; Publisher: Continuum)
12. David Blunkett by Stephen Pollard (2004; Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton)


Blogger Praguetory said...

Thanks for the ideas. I was in the politics section of Waterstones the other day and couldn't decide what to get. This helps. Cheers again. In a nutshell what did Michael Ashcroft have to say?

11:31 pm  
Blogger Matt Dean said...

Hi Praguetory,
Ashcroft's book is based on a huge amount of private polling he undertook at his own expense both mid-term and in the run up to the last general. His main concern was that we did not campaign on the issues that mattered to ordinary people most but instead campaigned on issues we thought ought to matter - e.g. we went hard on immigration rather than say the economy. As a result people just weren’t thinking what we were thinking to paraphrase the billboard campaign the Conservatives ran in the general. He was very critical that we were not creating a larger 'core' vote and that we seemed to assume that disillusionment with Labour would automatically translate into support for the Conservatives. He also thought we spread our resources too thinly- we didn't target enough. It is a bit dry but interesting analysis. The Seldon book is a must read, the Donoughue book gives an interesting account of the in-fighting Wilson had to put up with while the Ingham book shows the opposite i.e. Thatcher took no messing! The Blunkett book was the one where he let slip his views to the author about his cabinet colleagues while Lance Price shows just how important Campbell was to Blair- read this after Seldon for a comparison! Booker and North's book on the EU is as much an academic text as an enjoyable read and follows on from The Mad Officials that showed how badly we were being damaged by red tape- it is the ultimate Eurosceptic reader and incredibly well researched. The Little Red book of Labour Sleaze is more of a fun compendium of scandal and incompetence, co-incidentally edited by Iain and his mate Guido.
Finally Heroes and Contemporaries is written by Aitken reminiscing with encounters he has had with such luminaries as Thatcher, Beaverbrook and Churchill. It is a great read. I shall be hosting a diner where he shall be talking about the book and the characters within it this Wednesday night in Southampton.
Best wishes,

All can be bought on-line at
which is run by my friend Iain Dale.

1:02 am  
Blogger Praguetory said...

Thanks for the summary. Now I recall some of the Ashcroft ideas coming up in the press. It does sound dry - one to borrow I think.

I got a couple of copies of the Little Red Book as soon as it came out, read them and passed them on to Tory sympathisers who like to attack Labour to whoever's listening. I tend to avoid reading about Blair because I already feel a sense of overfamiliarity, but I will get the Seldon - you have to know your enemy as they say.

I hope you have a successful evening tomorrow. Let us know how it went.

1:00 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home