This excellent first hand account of Liddle's time in no 10 advising Blair certainly takes you to the heart of the drama. It also raises interesting questions on how the left should tackle the 'European dilemma'.
I found this to be a readable and extremely informative account of Britain's strained relations with Europe (for a non-specialist) - it mixes big picture analysis with interesting anecdotes of the author's days with Tony Blair (as Europe adviser) and how the then British PM's lofty ambitions for Europe fell by the wayside. Some great chapter titles include "Policymaking at the Red Lion" and "In Power with-out a Policy". Liddle then moves on from the New Labour years to explore Cameron's current posturing, moving quickly to damn a 'Little England' approach to the world in an era that demands European solutions. Accessible and compelling.
A great book that says a lot about the difficulty for British politicians to make the case for Europe. The account of Blair's failure to end Labour's ambiguity towards Europe is particularly fascinating. A must read for anyone interested in keeping the UK in the EU. Unfortunately there is no easy way out: either you engage voters in a difficult conversation about why we need Europe, or you just let UKIP and the likes score easy goals...
Anyone who is worried about the European Union and Britain's role in it should read this book. Clearly the author is a pro-European but he approaches his subject in a pleasantly balanced, non-dogmatic way. The case (largely political rather than economic) that he makes for Britain to engage actively in the European Union is compelling.
However, the book is far more than that. It is elegantly written, for a start, and a subject that could become dry flows along with clarity and a certain speed. Britain's difficult relationship with Europe is well set in its historical context and the threads that tie today's politicians to their party's past are carefully followed through. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book comes when the author covers the twists and turns of Tony Blair's European policy; this reads like the insider's story that it is (Roger Liddle spent many years as a Special Adviser to Blair on Europe), but without betraying confidences and without unnecessarily unpleasant digs at politicians with different views.
And then there is considerable wisdom in the conclusion about what needs to happen to make Europe work and why it is so important that it does.
A lively readable book. Traces the history of political dis-service to our nation by successive political parties. Half backed attempts and the lack of proper advice by successive ministers for Europe. The book brings the reader up-to-date with the folly of policies and politics of the main Westminster parties. The lack of backbone to engage forcefully with Europe is shameful and what the U.K has left on the table and is walking away from Europe under Cameron! How news Moguls rule our lives without being accountable to us!! The book should have elaborated on the motivation of the Murdoch politics. The story takes the reader up to early 2013 and the Bloomberg speech of January 2013 by Mr. Cameron. The book exposes lack of Blair courage, and equally the lack of Cameron strategy.
As an anti-Euro but a tepid-pro-European; it has been an eye opener. A must read.