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Decline & Fall: Diaries 2005-2010 [Hardcover]

Chris Mullin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Aug 2010

Chris Mullin's bestselling A View From the Foothills provided a riveting insider's account of life as a junior minister. Laying bare the personalities, pyrotechnics and political intrigues of the Blair years, it was described as Yes Minister meets Alan Clark.

Funny and self-deprecating, the new diaries run from his sacking by Blair as a minister after the 2005 elections to Election Day 2010 as he prepares to step down after 23 years as an MP wryly observing ' they say failed politicians make the best diarists, in which case I am in with a chance.'

Praise for A View from the Foothills

'...gems sprinkled across every page...' Peter Hain

'Every once in a while, political diaries emerge that are so irreverent and insightful that they are destined to be handed out as leaving presents in offices across Whitehall for years to come. A View from the Foothills is one such book.' David Cameron, Observer Books of the Year

Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (30 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683992
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 24.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Mullin has been the Labour MP for Sunderland South since 1987. He chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee and served in three departments. He is the author of the bestselling novel A Very British Coup, re-published by Serpent's Tail, which was turned into an award-winning television series.

Product Description


Every once in a while, political diaries emerge that are so irreverent and insightful that they are destined to be handed out as leaving presents in offices across Whitehall for years to come.A View from the Foothills is one such book (David Cameron Observer Books of the Year)

At a time when we awash with memoirs of political grandees, the worms-eye view is even more valuable (New Statesman)

The most enjoyable and stimulating of all the political diaries I have read. (Jonathan Dimbleby)

Droll and with a sardonic wit, Chris Mullin, unlike so many other politicians, does not even spare himself (Scotland on Sunday Books of the year)

Captures better than anyone the humdrum everyday existence of the backbench MP; the often frustrating, sometimes inspiring but always time-consuming work on behalf of constitutents, the long train journeys, the routine business of parliament, the nervy election campaigns.... always warm and humane... the best account yet of the death agonies of New Labour (Tribune)

There has been an abundance of political chronicles over the past year. Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson have all fought for honours but their efforts come second best to the wonderful Chris Mullin: Decline And Fall (Profile Books £20).

While the other contenders for political book of the year may lay claim to the high ground they have none of the insight or humour that Mullin brings to his work. Mullin was an MP for 23 years and a minister before standing down at the last election. Decline and Fall is a political diary beginning in 2005 and finishing this year. You will learn more about life inside the New Labour government from Mullin than any of the others.

(Graham Ball Sunday Express)

A treat: well written, witty and observant, a fascinating chance to live again the agonies and the ecstasies of New Labour's slide from glossy fatuousness to a seriousness so heavy it positively crushed the life out of all but Chris. In the deluge of diaries we've had over the years - Crossman, Castle, Benn et al - this one will live because, unlike them, it's fun (Austin Mitchell The House)

Always warm and humane, never sensationalist or self-serving - this is the best account yet of the death agonies of New Labour. I can't wait for the next volume (PAul Anderson Tribune)

Book Description

'Wickedly Indiscreet and Elegant' The Mail on Sunday

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
131 of 138 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chris Mullin's minor acts of rebellion thankfully continue into his retirement. Clearly he has chosen to tackle head on the slightly more well known book by one Anthony Blair by deciding to publish the second volume of his diaries on the same date as "A Journey - or Gordon why I didn't sack him". Neither for Mullin has this book been subject to vice like embargo or threat of a pre publication legal jihad. Indeed it was covered in lengthy extracts by in Radio 4's Book of the Week programme where it was beautifully read by Sam Dale.

Mullin is that rarity, an independent minded MP whose career was not as important as his politics. This simple fact is missed on so many slavish "party creatures" who fail to understand that being an MP and having some views of your own actually endears you to the voting public. Mullin of course was somebody who while aspiring "Blairites" formed a disorderly queue for Ministerial jobs actually turned down the first job he was offered and when eventually he did accept a second offer, walked away when he felt he could make better use of his time. "Decline and Fall" is the second part of Mullin's diary (following the wonderful "View from the foothills") and chronicles those years between 2005 -2010 when Tony "The Man" Blair and other "inhabitants of the stratosphere" played out complex political feuds which would have shocked the Roman Senate (where at least the knives were unsheathed). Mullin's judgements throughout this diary are fascinating and often uncannily right. The departure of Tony Blair particularly his triumphant last performance in the Commons is vividly captured and Mullin's judgement drawn from a Lib Dem peer was that Blair's response to admittedly dire opposition questions was the "bowlers were outshone by the batsman" .
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although Andrew Rawnsley's "End of the Party" is more erudite and more thorough, this description of the worst of the Brown years is the best I have come across. It is gossipy, full of insight and really interesting in what it reveals not just about Brown but about all those around him. New Labour is in total meltdown, they lurch from crisis to crises and Chris Mullin is always there on the sidelines knowing exactly what is happening but powerless to do anything about it.

The way that MPs are moved from job to job, never having time to get on top of their brief, never really knowing what they are expected to do and rarely meeting with those nominally in charge speaks volumes. It is a mix of the mundane and the important, showing that often politicians are unable to distinguish between the two.

He much be VERY pleased that he chose to bail out at the last election.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 3 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book follows on from his previous book and outlines in a humorous and often cutting way, the decline of New Labour. I could not put this book down.It is very highly recommended and is probably a better and truer view of the Labour dream that Blair's 'The Journey' will ever be.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of new labour 23 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Loved it - the decline and fall of New Labour written from the inside with self deprecating humour. I took it on holiday and as someone who cannot stand Gordon Brown it had me chuckling by the pool, much to everyone else's amusement. Liked it so much I have now bought the earlier volume as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris Mullin does it again 23 Sep 2010
Decline & Fall: Diaries 2005-2010
This book keeps the high standard set in previous books. Using humour and pathos the author manages to prove that all politicians are not automotons and at the same time gives a peek at the tensions within government.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Reading events as they unfolded in Labour's downfall as the chicken's came home to roost from the perspective of an honest and kindly man, adds a more useful perspective than any of the other recent political diaries from Campbell, Mandelson and Blair. Regular monitors of our political masters will perhaps feel they know these disgraceful characters by now. But there is room for yet more evidence and confirmation. These other diarists seek to show themselves in the best of lights with breathtaking self-justification, obscurantism and occlusion. It is also astonishing at how stupid they all are. Not Rennaissance men by any stretch. Their diaries may be useful as an insight into the minds of their authors and for future historians, Mullin's diary on the other hand gives us something much more useful, no matter that he was only briefly a Minister and was soon relegated to the back benches. He is intelligent astute and sensitive and he comments on things that matter, sensibly and often brilliantly.

Mullin would also like people to recognise the good as well as the bad that politicians can do, and he loathes members of the public and interest groups who are stuck in that fixed mode of 'professional moanerdom'. There is no dialogue or resolution to be had with such types. However, the diary throws an unusually insightful light on why there has been a major disconnect between politicians and public and a commensurate fall in respect. It is not all to do with our natural iconoclasm and latterday lack of forelock tugging. It is due to a massive underestimation of the public's intelligence, albeit that not all can articulate their sense of outrage well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
up with the best of plitical daiories
Published 2 days ago by HK
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 days ago by steve vaughan
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill'
Great condition
Published 11 days ago by TJ MCGINN
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Easy to read but he does moan!
Published 19 days ago by Carole Lomax
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book from an awful man
The diaries of Chris Mullin re extremely readable, and I enjoyed reading them thoroughly. The diaries are a great insight into the inner workings of government, and all of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by c
4.0 out of 5 stars Revealing
Well written and interesting. No bitterness and some frank revelations about the inside of political life. A few surprises too.
Published 4 months ago by Clive Turner
4.0 out of 5 stars Good background to the workings of political parties
Having read the first book by Chris Mullins I wanted to know what happened next. Very interesting background in to what happens in political parties, particularly when the are in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lizzie
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest politician
A faithful journalist who enhanced a rough trade with wisdom and humanity who is today already is very much missed
Published 5 months ago by Mr. Derek G. Drew
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a memoir
While this is a serious book, it reflects the wit and fun of Mullin the man. Although he can deliver a rapier-thrust with the best of them he is never waspish or spiteful. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Longchamps
5.0 out of 5 stars Political diaries
Half the political autobiographies/diaries of the last 25 years are a marvellous read (Alan Clark, Roy Jenkins, Nigel Lawson) and the other half are a dreary waste of space... Read more
Published 7 months ago by levelheaded
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