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The Clegg Coup: Britain's First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George Hardcover – 3 Nov 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gibson Square Books Ltd; First Edition edition (3 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908096098
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908096098
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Explosive' Daily Mail --1

About the Author

Jasper Gerard has contributed to speeches for Liberal Democrat leaders and worked as a research assistant for a variety of Lib Dem MPs in the late eighties and early nineties, including Paddy Ashdown. He has been researching this book since Nick Clegg's election to the leadership of the party in 2007. A journalist, he has been a columnist for The Times, Sunday Times, Observer and Daily Telegraph and has also been chief interviewer for the Sunday Times and Associate Editor of the Spectator.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark Pack TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Nov 2011
Format: Hardcover
Many book titles reveal little about what their book contains, either providing but a banal name for its contents or a clever, clever name which obscures rather than reveals. However, The Clegg Coup - Britain's First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George by Jasper Gerard has a title which is revealing in two aspects. First, the way general accuracy in the book is marred by detailed slips - for whilst the general point of the title is true, with the May 2010 coalition being the UK's first peacetime coalition in Westminster since before 1939, the title does not use the word "peacetime" and relies on the technical point that Lloyd George was still alive at the time of Churchill's coalition even though no-one talks of 1940 as still being "Lloyd Geroge's time". The rest of the book contains several other slips of detail which, even if sometimes justifiable with a tortured defence, nonetheless risk undermining confidence in the author's knowledge of the topic.

Yet that would be a mistake, for in fact Jasper Gerard - a former staff member for Paddy Ashdown and intermittent speech writer for Liberal Democrat leaders - shows far more knowledge of the party's internal workings than nearly all other writers. Any book that features both Paul Marshall and Duncan Brack in its index, with as many entries for Chris Rennard as for Ming Campbell, shows an understanding of the realities of the internal workings of the party away from the public headline figures in Parliament.

The second thing the title reveals is Gerard's basic thesis - that Nick Clegg has brought about a major change in the Liberal Democrats, not only taking the party into power but also (and more under his control) changing the party's policy stance radically towards a much more `Orange Book' stance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L Beck on 16 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jasper Gerard's writing style is easy to read and is peppered with humour.

His book provides a useful summary of the history of Liberalism, and what the term has meant at various stages in its turbulent history, taking us from the Whigs to the great reforming Liberal Government of Lloyd George, through it's serious decline to virtual extinction in the mid-twentieth century, and the subsequent slow but steady revival via the merger with the SDP to the current point in history which finds Liberalism once again at the heart of government as a Coalition partner.

Since the author is both an acquaintance of Clegg and a Liberal supporter one might expect this account to be a fawning, sycophantic whitewash job, but it isn't. There is much insight into the machinations of the Liberal Party (now the Liberal Democratic Party) including a certain amount of character assassination of some of the leaders and key players. All the good stuff is there of course, but so are the warts and blemishes. Clegg does not escape criticism, with attention being paid to his strategic errors, but on the other hand Clegg does emerge as a genuinely honest, talented and likeable character who now finds himself at a critical crossroads; at the next election his Party will no longer be the long-established recipient of "Protest Votes" against the incumbent government, because he's been part of that government, for good or ill.

I think it's fair to say, as the author does, that Clegg and his Party have been a successful restraining influence against the excesses of far-right Conservatism, by managing to sprinkle coalition legislation with spoonfuls of fairness.

Whatever your politics, this is an interesting book that both educates and amuses.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ClitLit on 10 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gerard's prose is fluid and easy to read. He is at his best near the beginning when indulging in the exaggerated truth of Clegg's ancestors and own early life. However, as the book progressed and Gerard began his sycophantic propaganda campaign for the right-wing of the 'liberal' party as he calls it, I became increasingly disparaged. As a Lib Dem supporter, Gerard's piece genuinely made me feel like I may as well be voting Tory as this writer actually paints very little daylight between the two.
He harps on about Clegg's lineage so much and then justifies his worth as he is from 'good political stock', as if all of this is somehow importance. I was under the illusion that Lib Dems were all for the philosophy of its where you're going, no where you come from that matters - according to this Tory in a yellow tie clearly the past is more important.
He exalts the borderline Tories such as David Laws and Jeremy Browne and is clearly trying to win brownie points with them by touting them as Gladstone's of our age. I must admit his play on Laws wanting to come out of his 'Tory cupboard' would be funny, if it weren't so damn depressing that essentially pro-Euro conservatives are now running the Lib Dems.
When it comes to describing centrists in the party, like Vince Cable, he is far less complimentary. He spends so much of the chapter on Cable actually banging on about how much the now disgraced Chris Huhne's colleagues hated him, that by the time he finally discusses Dr. Cable the reader has lost the will to live.
After reading this book I was a left wondering if Gerard was trying to hint that the ultimate 'Clegg Coup' would be to eventually just replace the Tories in the political landscape with an ultra laissez-faire version of the liberal party. And if this is indeed the case, then I will have to think about whether I bother supporting the Lib Dems again.
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