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A Very British Coup Paperback – 14 Jan 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 249 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (14 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846687403
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846687402
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

...a brilliant concept that opened the way for my own novels (Michael Dobbs)

Rattles along with speed and great credibility (The Times)

A delicious fantasy... crisply written and the story belts along (Observer)

A world of power struggle in Downing Street, Fleet Street, Whitehall and Washington (New Statesman)

A very effective political thriller, which hasyou on the edge of your seat from start to finish (Oxford Mail)

Compulsive reading (City Limits)

A spiffing read... calculated to grip blue-rinsed Conservative ladies and make Socialist eyes pop (People)

Chris Mullin's book is the first for some time that I have stayed awake to finish (Ken Livingstone Labour Herald)

Entertaining to anyone interested in contemporary politics (Glasgow Herald)

A curious Molotov cocktail (Financial Times)

Entertaining propaganda (Literary Review)

Book Description

Acclaimed political satire now back in print with Serpent's Tail - from the celebrated diarist of A View From The Foothills

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this a very enjoyable and engaging novel. I was also intrigued to see how prophetic it was in many ways. It was written in 1982, some three years into Mrs Thatcher's first term in office, and is set in the year or so following a general election in 1989 at which the Labour party secured an unexpected landslide victory.
As the novel opens we are given the reactions of various Establishment stalwarts, including press barons, bankers, industrialists and several Civil Service mandarins, all of whom are appalled at the prospect of a genuinely socialist government assuming power. While they seethe with rage and fear we learn something of Perkins's background.
As a young man Harry Perkins had followed his father into employment in a Sheffield steel mill. Once there he became involved in the trade union movement and quickly rose through the local ranks. Spotted as a potential high flier he was awarded a union scholarship to Ruskin College in Oxford, and continued his rapid progress through the part machinery until he was selected as an MP for his home town. Following a spell as an energetic and diligent back bencher he enters what is clearly the Wilson/Callaghan Government of 1974 to 1979 (though neither of those two leaders is specifically named), eventually rising to Cabinet level with responsibility for maintaining the national grid. In this capacity, despite obstructions posed by officials in his own department, he awards a contract for a nuclear power station to British Industrial Fuels, and they duly build an installation by.
When the Conservatives return to power under Mrs Thatcher following ntheir own landslide victory in 1979 Perkins surprises everyone (perhaps including himself) by eventually becoming leader of the Labour Party.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A Very British Coup is one of the landmark political dramas. Gripping from the outset. The election of a truly left-wing government and Prime Minister, who are intent on driving through their left-wing (and popular) agenda, scares the establishment into increasingly desperate machinations to discredit the elected representatives and regain control. What makes this drama so compulsive is the plausibility. I have an uneasy feeling that the situation this film portrays is more prophesy than entertainment.
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Format: Paperback
This is not a follow up to Chris Mullin's book 'A Very British Coup' - this IS Chris Mullin's book 'A Very British Coup' under a new title because of a TV tie-in. A new version of the TV series is being shown under a new title and so the book is retitled too. Amazon do not make this clear (I wonder if they even realise it) but if, like me, you have the original DO NOT buy this book. If you do NOT have the original and you remember the 70's and the dark rumours concerning Harold Wilson and the secret service of the day then you will enjoy this I am sure.
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Format: VHS Tape
Based on a 1970s novel this TV movie shows the son of a steelwoker Harry Perkins as Britain's first Radical, Pro-Communist, Labour Prime Minister. He has to deal with party factions, difficult unions and media moghals as well as a conspiracy of government officals and secret agents who seek his downfall. A very British coup, no blood, no revolution, just constant pressure and obstruction to force his resignation. Slickly made with excellent acting from Ray McAnally as the blunt spoken Perkins who is more devious than he seems. I remember this well from Thatcherite '88 when a socialist goverment was truly in the realms of fiction.
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Format: DVD
From what I gather from the interview on the DVD, the book was written at a time when politics was polarised and the different parties had very little in the way of common ground. Like "Yes, Minister" it takes the idea that the Civil Service has its own policies and agenda and runs with it.
The story is that a Socialist Labour Party is elected. That automatically puts the party on the wrong side of the press (especially a barely-disguised Murdoch like figure), the "Establishment" and, with their nuclear disarmament policy, the US.
As other reviewers have commented, the plot is that the above 3 disaffected parties launch their own, clandestine, campaign to unseat the current Prime Minister.
The film asks whether the electorate chooses the Goverment or the Establisment chooses the electorate. The film is plausible and is, consequently, scary.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a great TV movie from the mid-80's. The story is told in a highly realist way, and poses an interesting problem: what would happen if a genuinely left-wing (radical socialist) political party was democratically elected? Yes, it would have popular support. But the Establishment would be fearful ... and seek to both contain the pressure for reform and do away with the reformists.

This movie is based on the novel (of the same name), only told in a slightly different manner (with a better ending). It's well acted, and suggests a sense of realism.

Given what happened in Spain in 1936 and in Chile in 1972, the premise for this story is sound. The powers that be would do all they could to curtail the efforts of this sort of government. Only the continued support of the masses would ensure the government a chance of survival.

This political drama is well worth a watch.
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