on 1 August 2008
Iain Macleod by Robert Shepherd is an interesting and very readable biography of one of the architects of the Conservative Party's post-1945 recovery. The man himself was a charasmatic orator and a very inteligent politician who in his political career helped redefine the nature of the Conservative Party by giving it a more liberal and radical image. His work as Colonial Secretary helped pave the way for many African countries to gain their independence but created enemies who deprived him possibly of the top job. From 1963-1965 he was persona non grata in many parts of the Conservative Party due to his criticism of the election of Alec Douglas-Home but due to his sheer ability was able to eventually become Shadow Chancellor. His death in 1970 robbed the Conservatives of one of its great talents but also perhaps robbed the United Kingdom of a more prosperous decade.
The book itself is very readable and deals not just with Macleod's political life but also his pre-politics years. It is not particularly biased to one political viewpoint or the other, although if you are a fan of Thatcherism it perhaps will not be your cup of tea. All in all a very good book.