6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Ambition and lust in the Corridors of Power,
By A Customer
This review is from: A Parliamentary Affair (Paperback)
Well, it's certainly value for money - the paperback is the size of a house brick - but it's a bit cumbersome for reading in bed. We follow the adventures of a quartet of Tory MPs, two newly elected, two old hands. They form liaisons with each other, with journalists, with rather iffy strangers, some hetero, some homo. I'm not going to give it away by saying who does what with whom. If that is all there was to it, it would be a pretty routine bonkbuster. Two features set the book apart - the Parliamentary background and the insight into the politicians' mind. The small details of parliamentary daily life give the book interest and some authority. Other people's workplaces are interesting. If you read Magnus Mills' Restraint of Beasts you will learn a lot about the life of a fencing contractor. Mrs Currie's detail about who drinks where, about the Table Office, the appearance of Ministerial offices and so on are fascinating to anyone who is interested in politics. Her characters suffer from all being Tories - there is a one-dimensional quality to them. Money is no problem; children are cared for by au pairs and packed off to tinpot snobschools as soon as possible. Even her characters' names show class bias - the Tories all have mellifluous three-syllable names ( apart from our heroine and her family who are clearly arriviste) - the few working class characters have short sharp names - no poetry there. And whilst we are thinking about names, the whole plot of the book is summed up by the name of the chief male - Roger Dickson ( not even Dixon) Just feel the Freudianism in that ! The book is called 'A Parliamentary Affair' and it focuses upon the impact of several such. But only upon the parliamentary careers of the protagonists. Nobody, at any level, gives a damn about the impact of infidelity on wives, husbands, families, children. All come across as totally self-centred, self-obsessed, self-absorbed. And the last thing any of them seems to consider, ever, is the well-being of the electors who sent them there. The most sympathetic character in the book is our heroine's teenage daughter who is treated appallingly badly by everybody yet ends up canvassing for her mother's re-election. I know that I am not supposed to but I warm to the anti-hero, the tabloid journalist whose mission is to expose Parliamentary antics - I found his comeuppance unconvincing.In a democracy, he is just as necessary as the MPs. I think that Edwina Currie set out with the intention of writing a book on the difficulties of being a woman MP. If that was her intention, then she has failed - what we have been given is 'Bitch on the Make'. It's a good read, but don't bother voting for this bunch of egomaniacs at the next election!