- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; New Edition edition (16 July 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140278508
- ISBN-13: 978-0140278507
- Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 13.3 x 19 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour Paperback – 16 Jul 2001
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More About the Author
If revenge is a dish best eaten cold, there will be some hastily scalded--and scolded--mouths around Westminster. Heavily serialised already in two national newspapers, political commentator Andrew Rawnsley's account of the honeymoon period of Tony Blair's Labour government is the story of four men who wanted something so much they could not believe it when it arrived. It proved, to a degree, a Faustian pact. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell formed an inner circle without the Cabinet, but within earshot of their mutual blade-sharpening, while remaining glutinously bound by fierce personal desire. Rawnsley himself displays little of his subjects' "psychological flaws". Indeed, he would make a fine spin-doctor. His truffling turns up a barrowload of anonymous quotations, some whispered, some brayed, to support a punchy, racily confident narrative that begs between-the-lines reading to guess who has said what and why. He considers with clarity and wit episodes such as the now notorious Ecclestone affair, Geoffrey Robinson's home loan to Peter Mandelson, European monetary union, the Good Friday negotiations, Kosovo, the Pinochet affair, Scottish devolution and the trumpeted marriage of convenience between Blair and Brown. According to Rawnsley, while the antagonist Brown skulks around, grim of manner and unsung, Blair proves a more slippery customer. Unexpectedly gutsy over Kosovo and Northern Ireland, like Margaret Thatcher he remains at heart a conviction politician, and when his instinct deserts him, the exposed lack of ideological foundation can see him flounder, such as over the Mayor of London election. Rawnsley's final chapter, dealing with Blair's disastrous courting of the Women's Institute, inadvertently sets the stage for the fuel crisis, when the mask finally started to eat into the face. New Labour got itself into a spin, inevitably given its accelerating centrifugal force, but the Government still approaches the prospect of a second term-Blair's cherished dream--with cash in the coffers, and real achievements on the board. Andrew Rawnsley demands similar plaudits, for as vivid and plausible an account of the machinations of contemporary politics as there has been. And the burns will quickly heal. --David Vincent
NB: the latest edition includes a new preface and five new chapters which include information about the 2001 General Election
"* 'The most readable contemporary history to be written since New Labour was elected' Roy Hattersley, Observer * 'Riveting... the Government's dirty washing has been well and truly hung out in public' Rachel Sylvester, Daily Telegraph"See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Rawnsley does his homework. For obvious reasons he can't name most of his sources or they would not remain sources for long, but I see no reason not to believe his claim that he found them at the top, in the middle and at the bottom of the parliamentary pile. His main text starts with Labour's election victory in 1997, but his short preface is in some ways the most interesting thing in the book, recapitulating the history of the `New Labour Project' that restored Labour to government after many had given up on it as being unelectable. Blair obviously occupies centre-stage, but the book is about his party and his government in general, not about him solely or even mainly. Blair had snatched the crown from under the nose of the longtime leader in waiting Gordon Brown, whom he had to placate with unprecedented power and influence as Chancellor and whose turn is now at last about to come. Never far from the spotlight except when he chose to be is also the machiavellian figure of Peter Mandelson, and manipulating the spotlights is of course Tony's loyal and brutal press supremo Alastair Campbell.
Labour had been out of office for 18 years. Neither Blair nor Brown nor any minister other than one fairly minor officeholder had any experience of government whatsoever.Read more ›
I look forward to the sequel with anticipation, especially if the words 'Private Information' are not so evident next time around!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you think politics is a noble profession, occupied by selfless, noble and wise individuals who have only the best interests of the country and its people at heart, this book... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Steve
Of all the current spate of political reviews of the last Labour administration, this is the one to go for. Very lucid writing as you would expect from a journalist. Read morePublished 12 months ago by T. E. J. Griffith
While The End of the Party propelled Andrew Rawnsley's name to the epicentre of Political Coverage, Servants of the People covers what may now seem very distant and forgotten, New... Read morePublished on 27 May 2013 by Adrian J. Smith
An excellently researched book that shows the tensions in new labour was there from almost day one of the government. Read morePublished on 24 Dec. 2012 by Ian Gibson
The book itself was as described on the site, the delivery time I cannot comment on as I was on holiday when it was deliverd. Read morePublished on 4 Oct. 2011 by B. H. Whiteman
No, not Blair or Brown - Rawnsley! My idea of political comment heaven would be listening to Rawnsley, Peter Hennessy and Anthony Howard over a pint or three. Read morePublished on 2 Sept. 2010 by Mr. Pj Martin
If you want the real inside story of the Labour governement, without any of the personal spin, bias and personal feelings from political autobiographies or diaries, then this is... Read morePublished on 31 Aug. 2010 by Dr. Bob Brooks Ph.d
This book is an exceptionally well written insiders tale of the first years of the New Labour Government. Read morePublished on 10 Jun. 2010 by Christian