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Diaries 1987-1992 [Paperback]

Edwina Currie
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Oct 2003

In the late 1980s, when she began keeping a diary, Edwina Currie was the second most prominent woman in British politics - after Margaret Thatcher. Indeed, she was often spoken of as a potential Prime Minister. Her outspokenness and her lively, media-friendly personality won her a much higher profile than her status as a junior minister would otherwise have commanded. When she was forced to resign from the Government after warning of the danger signs of salmonella infection in eggs, she was already a national figure.

The appearance of these diaries is an important publishing event. Like Alan Clark's diaries, they provide a remarkable insight into politics at the top, by a writer with an observant eye and a sharp sense of humour. Edwina Currie's honesty, her frankness and her courage make these unexpurgated diaries an irresistible read. Their revelation of her four-year affair with former Prime Minister John Major has already been a media sensation.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New Ed edition (2 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751534943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751534948
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 310,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


An important and revelatory set of diaries (THE TIMES)

Edwina has done contemporary history a service (Anne Robinson, DAILY TELEGRAPH)

It is impossible to underestimate the seismic nature of these revelations (INDEPENDENT)

Her diaries are full of interesting vignettes from her years as minister and backbencher and they're written in a characteristically forthright style. (DAILY MAIL)

Book Description

Explosive political diaries by broadcaster and former government minister Edwina Currie

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Just finished reading papers in preparation for my visit to Gravesend tomorrow: they're proposing a complicated reorganisation of local health services and we're being bounced into it. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curried Memories 17 Jun 2005
It is said that most people of appropriate vintage recall where they were when they heard news of the Kennedy assassination; the same seems to be true of Edwina Currie's (EC's) December 1988 statement about how most of the eggs in Britain were contaminated with salmonella bacteria (in this reviewer's case, heard late at night via the BBC World Service at the Grand Hotel, Warsaw). In retrospect, that statement, its effect (huge damage to egg producers and other enterprises) and her ensuing resignation from Government (though not Parliament--she was voted out in 1997) put paid to her political career. These Diaries, published in 2002, cover the period up to 1992.
EC was, at time covered by these Diaries, unsatisfactorily married to Ray, an accountant trainer, who spent much of his time in Derbyshire. They had two daughters, she had one or two lovers, most surprisingly, John Major (he was "outed" in these Diaries towards the end of the book: up until then he is referred to as "B" when in "lover" mode). As for Ray, she alternates between concern for him (albeit very much de haut en bas) and quite blatantly putting him down. Ray's interests of golf, snooker and drinking with his mates scarcely interface with EC's high-profile politicking.
On her own website, EC says she was brought up in "an argumentative Jewish household" in Liverpool. Her Jewishness seems muted, however, despite her obviously Semitic looks. When she visits Israel for the first and only time, she feels little spiritual connection with the place and obviously abhors the notorious Israeli rudeness (which they think passes for cleverness). She also seems to have quite an affinity with Christian spirituality if not the Church(es) and rules and regulations thereof.
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Ignore the obvious scandals (e.g. John Major affair, the Salmonella in eggs, her northerner's "die of ignorance and chips") the real uncommented scandal I found in this diary is the one on page 195 - pertinent in line of recent controversy surrounding historic abuse Saville and the role he played in hospitals whilst Currie was Health Minister - that casually mentions the following bombshell to the reader:

"One appointment in the recent reshuffle has attracted a lot of gossip and could be very dangerous: Peter Morrison has become the PM’s PPS [Parliamentary Private Secretary]. Now he’s what they call a ‘noted pederast’, with a liking for young boys; he admitted as much to [Conservative Party chairman] Norman Tebbit when he became deputy chairman of the party but added’ ‘However, I’m very discreet’ – and he must be! She [Thatcher] either knows and is taking a chance, or doesn’t; either way, it’s a really dumb move.

[Conservative MP] Teresa Gorman told me this evening (in a taxi coming back from a drinks party at the BBC) that she inherited Morrison’s (woman) agent, who claimed to have been offered money to keep quiet about his activities. It scares me as all the press know, and as we get closer to the election someone is going to make trouble, very close to her indeed."

In light of what the MP Tom Watson has mentioned in parliament & Tebbit himself has acknowledge (ie the possibility of a political cover-up) in a recent Andrew Marr interview what Currie mentions in the above statement is a complete shocker.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 12 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a most entertaining book - Edwina is very honest with her opinions, it is easy to read [as it's written in a diary form] and a very honest account of her years in parliament. I would recommend this book - especially at the very knock-down price I got it for.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly trivial and shallow 30 July 2011
By Aquilonian - Published on
I used to have more respect for Edwina Currie than for most Tory politicians, but my regard for her was greatly lessened by reading this book.

1)Currie was in the Ministry for Health at a time when I was working in the National Health Service. At that time the NHS was going through massive reorganisations and disputes. However there was very little about this. Although she presumably visited hospitals and met NHS managers and trades union leaders frequently, her focus is almost entirely on political in-fighting in the narrow, hothouse world of Parliament.There is little sign of any clear thinking or ideology behind the controversial government decisions of that period.

2)She seems obsessed with money. I suppose in a way this is interesting, in that it explains how politicians can get into so much potential trouble re expenses etc, even though their basic income would be considered quite sufficient by most people. Presumably they compare themselves with other politicians etc rather than the average member of the public, and thus consider themselves hard done by.

3)She writes a lot about her husband and daughters in a way which must surely have embarrassed them greatly when the diaries were published. This is totally unnecessary in a book that is mainly about politics. Compare for instance Tony Benn's diaries, he is very tactful and sensitive in all mentions of his family.

It's quite depressing to think that many politicians, on all sides, are doubtless as trivial and superficial as Edwina Currie shows herself to be in this book.
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