on 21 December 2010
Friends and Rivals by Giles Radice is a very good book about how the relationships between Anthony Crosland, Roy Jenkins and Denis Healey were damaged by rivalries and how this ultimatley damaged the right and centre of the Labour Party allowing for the rise of the hard left which made Labour unelectable for a generation. It is well-written, detailed and fast-paced and although it is at times a little biased this is only to be expected from an author who states quite openly in the introduction that these three men were political heroes of his. The book itself is basically a history of the Labour Party from the 1950s to the 1980s told through the biographies of three Oxford educated near contemporaries. It shows how rivalries between Jenkins, Healey and Crosland as they rose through the ranks within the Labour Party stopped them from uniting against the rise of the extreme left and how in the end this led to Labour becoming unelectable and the formation of a new political party (the SDP) intially under the leadership of Jenkins (who if things had worked out differently could well have been leader of the Labour Party in the 1970s and perhaps saved them from the humiliations of the 1980s). Overall a very good book about three extremely talented politicians who due to personal and professional rivalry were unable to save their party or achieve their ultimate personal ambitions.
on 9 January 2014
Really detailed political biography of three very influential and remarkable politicians. This gives a sympathetic but critical analysis of how these personalities were top flight members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, but were unable to effectively work together. Despite having very similar revisionist views, the polarised politics within the country prevented them working as powerful allies and led to the temporary destruction of the Labour party.