A Very British Coup Paperback – 14 Jan 2010
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...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)
Acclaimed political satire now back in print with Serpent's Tail - from the celebrated diarist of A View From The FoothillsSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a fun read, if a little depressing at times. For me the most interesting things about this novel, first published in 1982, were the differences between the things he got... Read morePublished 20 hours ago by Joe Oak
I'm a big fan of the 1980s television series based on this book, so thought I would enjoy reading the novel. It turns out that the series is only loosely based on the book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Luke Williams
Very good. The issues remain the same decades after it was written.Published 2 months ago by Bobby Robson 1892
I am writing this critique in 2016. Surely the year when fact mimicked fiction, as far as this novel is concerned. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stephen Timms