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A Political Suicide: The Conservatives' Voyage into the Wilderness [Paperback]

Norman Fowler
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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A Political Suicide: The Conservatives' Voyage into the Wilderness + John Major: The Autobiography
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Politico's Publishing Ltd; Revised edition edition (7 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842752278
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842752272
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 713,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A really interesting book. -- Simon Hoggart, Guardian, 19 July 2008

Vivid accounts of dramatic episodes ... Fowler provides new insights into the Tories' turmoil in the early 1990s.
-- Peter Riddell, The Times, 27 June 2008


"A Political Suicide" gives an insider's account of the Conservative Party's extraordinary journey from the victory of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 to the humiliating defeat of 1997 and beyond, with repercussions that still reverberate today. Norman Fowler was at the heart of the party for many years, as a Cabinet minister with Mrs Thatcher, as party chairman for John Major and in William Hague's shadow Cabinet. The book is largely drawn from diaries kept by the author during the 1980s and 1990s.This fascinating story looks at the key landmarks from 1979 onwards: Margaret Thatcher's early struggles in Cabinet and her unpopularity, redeemed by the Falklands War; her disastrous leadership battle with Michael Heseltine in 1990, which with different tactics she could have won; the start of John Major's premiership and his surprise election victory; in an extended diary extract, the Black Autumn of 1992, when the government abandoned the ERM, provoked a pits crisis and faced rebellions on the Maastricht treaty; the deteriorating relations between Thatcher and Major, her chosen successor; the 'back to basics' scandals, ending with an attempt to introduce a new privacy law; and, the rout of 1997 and its aftermath, with the merry-go-round of leadership changes.

When he began the book, Norman Fowler thought that its message would be for Conservatives alone. Since then, Gordon Brown has faced an electoral decline which in many ways matches the fall of John Major, with divisions inside the party, rows on finance and governmental blunders. "A Political Suicide" concludes by drawing a number of lessons from the years of conflict in government and the time in the wilderness - which are required reading for a party which could again be on the verge of power.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and riveting 5 Oct 2009
Very clear, readable and honest account of the Tories fall from grace. It also begins to explain why they are still a contaminated product, even now in 2009. Winning the 1992 election was probably their biggest disaster. Had they lost this, they would have bounced back well before now. Fowler sets the slow motion car crash out in a straightforward and admirably blunt way. A really good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Political Suicide 23 July 2009
Informative and easy to read dissection of the Conservatives' rise to Government in 1979 and where it all went wrong in the run up to 1997. An insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a party in Government and where it can all unravel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this - it is fascinating 15 Jun 2012
By MartynP
Verified Purchase
Norman Fowler's background as a journalist helps him write superbly and his insider's knowledge ensures that the reader gets a few nuggets that might otherwise not be recorded.

Well worth reading and make sure you read his other books too!
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4.0 out of 5 stars An insiders view 7 Jun 2010
Norman Fowler offers an insiders view of the troubles of the Conservative Party.

The narrative is stronger on the early years. More detail is covered and more logical arguements deployed. Unfortunately it tails off and one gets a sense of rushing towards the end.

The style is easy to digest, perhaps reflecting his journalistic roots.

An enjoyable and worthwhile read.
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