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Nothing Like a Dame: The Scandals of Shirley Porter Hardcover – 6 Mar 2006
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'Someone had to tell this story, and Andrew Hosken, a reporter on Radio Fours Today programme, has done it punctiliously' -- TLS
A splendid book... very thorough, with an immense amount of detail, presented remarkably digestibly -- Guardian
A superbly researched, elegantly written mix of investigative journalism and political biography...an entertaining read -- Evening Standard
Delivers a vicious indictment of the former politician -- The Times
Hosken tells the story brilliantly, often with enlightening and entertaining details -- The Oldie
The unauthorised account of arguably the greatest political corruption scandal in recent British history -- The Independent
superbly researched, elegantly written mix of investigative journalism and political biography... despite its weighty subject matter, is an entertaining read -- Evening Standard
About the Author
Andrew Hosken joined the BBC Radio 4's Today programme in 1997 after a career as a regional journalist. He is now one of its senior investigative journalists, investigating a range of stories both at home and abroad. In 2003, he won the One World Media Award for a series on Algerian terrorism for Today. He lives in west London with his partner and son.
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The book is readable, coherent and makes the undoubtedly complicated shenanigans of the Porter Regime reasonably easy to understand if not exactly a pleasure to read (there is nothing pleasurable about Shirley Porter!) and it is absolutely enthralling. The most gob smacking thing about the book is it captures the pitiful attitude of full time council officials and conservative councillors which varys from denial of reality to enthuasticaly joining with Porter in her mendacious and nefarious activities.
The image of the Porter regime as a business orientated, efficient and modern administration which was much peddled prior to her exposure is utterly destroyed in this book. The way she dealt with homeless people including housing them in abestos blighted tower blocks ought to have landed her in jail in any civilised society. There are countless other examples of her machinations which were linked to her desire to get the "right kind of people" in to guarantee her electoral victory at the next council elections.
If there is any weakness in the book it is the broader picture of the scene nationally which seems to me to be a bit flat, and it repeats much recieved wisdom about the 1980s political scene in Britain. That is a small quibble about an otherwise excellent, comprehensive and comprehensible book that ought to be compulsory reading for councillors and anyone who has a serious interest in democracy in this, or any, country.
Yet Hosken is not a character assassin and Dame Shirley remains a human and fallible figure, albeit one who was unable to recognise that democracy transcends mere party-political interests.
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Though councillors and wards and district auditors may people off normally,...Read more