Modesty in the foothills

4 08 2011

An outstanding political memoir. Remarkable for three main reasons: first, Chris Mullin comes across as a genuine and likeable individual doing his best, sticking to his principles and working hard in the most challenging of circumstances. Secondly, he demonstrates an extraordinary level of respect and loyalty towards ‘the man’. And thirdly, and perhaps most interestingly, he identifies a future Prime Minister in the young and sharp David Cameron.

I don’t think he is at all ‘indiscreet’ as the front cover blurb would have us believe. Rather he just tells it as he finds it.

Well worth a read and looking forward to picking up its successor volume.


I really don’t want to read Kay Burley’s book

7 04 2011

First Ladies by Kay Burley

It isn’t published until May but I think I’ve heard enough already.



According to Steven Fielding “Kay Burley’s book betrays a venerable tradition”. This is probably the kindest thing that is said about it:

Sky News’s Kay Burley probably does not realise it, but her debut novel First Ladies forms part of a once-vibrant tradition within English literature: political women writing about politics.

For the most part writing about politics, as in real life, has been a man’s job. Disraeli and Trollope set the mould. But a few members of what Disraeli would undoubtedly have called “the fairer sex” have made a distinctive overlooked contribution to the canon.

Some will make snide fun of the limitations of Burley’s prose style. Others shall speculate on whom the “suave PM Julian Jenson” and “sexy TV reporter Isla McGovern” might be based. The most culturally and politically significant aspect of Burley’s novel, however, is the sorry place it leaves this once-noble literary tradition.

I like political fiction. I really don’t like the sound of this.

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