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The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron
The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron
by Tim Bale
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating account of making the same mistake over and over ..., 12 Sep 2011
This is an excellent read. I found myself reading on and on, such is the ease of Bale's unfussy style. He also manages to give a sense of being close to the events as they unfold. I could not escape a sense of dread when Europe raised its head over and over again, or the party once again thought the route to electoral success was to run, not to the centre but towards the right. He explains why it took so long for the Tories to free themselves with their group obsession with the policies of Thatcher long after the country as a whole wanted nothing to do with them anymore. He also sheds light on the series of coincidences which allowed the moderate Cameron to leap frog David Davis, the favourite of the right to seize the party leadership and begin the process of change.
For what might otherwise be a dry academic work, Bale manages to convey the sense of event being balanced on a knife edge, always on the brink of falling back into the bad old ways. It is compelling stuff and thoroughly enjoyable.


A Strange Eventful History: Democratic Socialism in Britain
A Strange Eventful History: Democratic Socialism in Britain
by Edmund Dell
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful examination of the history of the organised left, 12 Sep 2011
Edmund Dell's style is very dense, in the sense that every sentence packs in a lot of information. As such it requires quite careful reading rather than being a book one can skim through and get the gist. However, it is all the more rewarding for all that. The sheer depth of analysis and information gives one the sense of receiving the unabridged, 'from the horses mouth' account. At times Dell demonstrates a rare wry humour, especially for the perceived short comings of the characters in this history. I read this book as my first political history text because I wanted to know what the left was for, since the end of the Blair/Brown government had left me confused. Dell maps out the shift from social democracy in the Fabian tradition epitomised by the much misunderstood clause 4, through the idea of managing capitalism for greater equality in the style of Tony Crossland, all the way up to the Blair government in waiting and its, by comparison rather watery and insipid, ideas about 'fairness', and social justice.
For anyone, like myself who wants to understand the origins and aims of the left in Britain, this book is simply brilliant.


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