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Too Nice to be a Tory: It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want to Paperback – 5 Jul 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (5 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743220765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743220767
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 21.5 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Excellent . . . A lively, entertaining, informative and fascinating account of Conservative politics since 1979' -- New Statesman

‘Has the party changed or have I?’ she asks. This book chronicles her witty and often incisive search for answers.' -- Daily Express

About the Author

Jo-Anne Nadler is a writer and broadcaster who has worked for the BBC's ON THE RECORD, and is a frequent political commentator for network television and radio. She has contributed to a range of newspapers and magazines and is the author of IN HIS OWN RIGHT, a biography of former Conservative leader William Hague.

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 July 2004
Format: Paperback
If you enjoyed John O Farrell's "Things can only get better", you'll love this book. Jo-Anne Nadler's story begins in 1979 and then traces the varying fortunes of the Tory Party in government and out. It sounds like it could be dry stuff but Nadler turns out to be a witty and self deprecating writer. She uses her own experience of teenage activism and later working at the party's HQ (via being a pop producer at Radio 1) to give us a particular insight behind the scenes. When she moved on to a career in journalism she also maintained close links with Tory big wigs and is able to continue to tell us the inside story. There are lots of amusing anecdotes - at times I laughed out loud - but it is also a serious book which isn't afraid to criticise, at times bluntly. I am not a Tory supporter so I must admit I thought Nadler only had herself to blame when she criticises some of the pretty awful sounding Tory boys she has come across - I mean, what did she expect? But she's probably done her Party a great service. If the Conservatives want to figure out why so many of us don't like them, they could do worse than read this book but I don t think you have to be a Tory to get something out of it. If like me you are interested in politics and fancy something a bit quirky and unexpected I recommend this book
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Sep 2006
Format: Paperback
You don't have to be either a Tory or a political anorak to enjoy this excellent book.

Unfortunately many of the people who would both enjoy and learn something from this book are likely to be put off by the subject matter. They should not be.

Jo-Anne Nadler is a witty, charming and intelligent young woman of the late 20th and early 21st century who is normal in every respect except one - an interest in politics which has led her to work both as a Conservative party staffer and as a political journalist.

"Too Nice to be a Tory" tells the story of Jo-Anne's life in politics and the media through the Thatcher, Major, and Blair years up to the election of Michael Howard as Conservative leader. It is written in down-to-earth normal terms rather than political platitudes. This is one of the most human books about politics which I have ever read.

The author's political views do come through in the book - for example, she gives one of the best explanations I have ever read of why the infamous out-of-context quote from Mrs Thatcher that "There is no such thing as society" is a travesty of what Mrs T was actually saying. But the political perspective does not dominate.

A healthy attitude to politics ought to find a happy medium between the extremes of Pravda-like subservience ("Prime Minister, would you like to explain your wonderful policies") and Paxman like cynicism (e.g. assuming everyone involved in politics is a lying scoundrel).

The truth is that there are some scoundrels in politics but also plenty of people in all mainstream parties who are honest, decent, and otherwise normal. And it would be good for Britain if more people were involved. This is an account of what life was like for one normal person involved in politics, and it is intensely funny, moving, and readable.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Richmond on 25 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a shame about the title of this book, as it really is much more than this. Sadly it's been type cast into a piece which may only be read by Tories. The first section talks about her Polish father, and his influence on her life. This gives a brilliant context to the political sphere she later went on to enter, as it breaks the stereotypical mould that many Conservatives are often cast in.
Bits of the book were a little predictable, but it didn't detract from the general message of despair that engulfed the Party during the late 80s and 90s. Where now? Well that's the big unanswered question.
Hopefully the hardback version might have a different cover and title. I think this would diversity the readership greatly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
Historically fascinating if hypocritical 24 Oct 2006
By Guy T. Langley - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is enjoyable overall, although its interesting subject matter (at least to me as a thirtysomething) on the rise and fall of Thatcherism and its aftermath is somewhat spoiled by meandering sub-plots (life working at the BBC after University ... hmmm ... flip those pages). Also she seems somewhat unable to detect her own hypocrisy at times. She berates the crusty old-fashioned blue-rinse brigade (to many the loyal unpaid and unnapreciated footsoldiers of the Conservative party) for being fixated on "old fashioned sexual mores" and then spends the final third of the book obsessing on the single issue of gay rights. She seems to believe that the Tory party's perceived lack of embrace of the homosexual lifestyle is the key to its electoral failure. If it could only metaphorically "gay" itself up, Mr. and Mrs. Average would suddenly realize how modern, with-it and good Tory-ism is and a blue landslide would follow.

In truth, the decline of the Conservative party is linked to the decline of those other British institutions such as the Monarchy, the Church, the British sense of fair play and the parallel rise in nihilistic materialism. Instead of seeking to do the right thing, it seeks electoral gain at all cost, hence the monniker "the nasty party".

True conservatives such as myself do believe that the conservative party will become electable when it again represents conservative values - Judaeo-Christian tradition, accountability, responsibility, and above all respect for life.

Jo-Ann is passionate about the Conservative party, but she is not passionate about Conservatism.

An enjoyable read however, and a good insight into why the best the Tories can hope for at the next election is not so much that they will win as Labour will lose.
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