20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Political Animal: An Anatomy (Paperback)
Why do we have such high expectations of politicians as a class yet such low expectations of the individuals? We enjoy the small change of political scandal – the revelations of unorthodox private lives or unsavoury business practice, while at the same time tuttutting that politicians are just as stupid, venal and corrupt as any of us. Paxman’s book makes an important contribution to a debate that’s just gaining currency – how can we re-engage people with politics when the so-called Westminster Village – parliament and the media circus that surrounds it – seems so self obsessed and distant from everyday life. His thesis is that this is essential, if civil society is to be maintained, and argues that our double standards do ourselves a disservice – politicians in the UK at least are less corrupt and sleazy than we might think, and certainly less so than in many other European democracies. But his main point is that politicians won’t exactly make this easy – for they’re a decidedly odd lot, an extension I suppose of the old adage that anyone who wants the job probably is unsuited to it by that very desire. In an episodic look at the politician’s life – the early years as a hack, candidacy, and the new MP through to the close of political life whether by election defeat, resignation or retirement – he aims to uncover just what it is that makes them tick. Paxman’s approach will be familiar to Newsnight viewers and here, he’s on home turf – feline, deceptively humorous yet with a menacing undercurrent. If you like his style you’ll find parts of The Political Animal laugh out loud funny, the odd irritating factual error notwithstanding - and not only for his Jeffrey Archer gags.
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Initial post: 11 Mar 2013 20:58:24 GMT
Dan Smith says:
Anybody taking the piss out of Archer is all right with me - I saw him in the street, shouted thief, and he was the only one who didn't turn round.
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