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A View From The Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin by [Mullin, Chris]
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A View From The Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Review

The most wickedly indiscreet and elegant political memoirs since those of former Tory Minister Alan Clark (Mail on Sunday)

These are the sharpest and most revealing political diaries since Alan Clark's (Simon Hoggart Guardian)

The best first-hand account of the Blair years so far (Andy McSmith Independent 2009-03-13)

A great read, more Alan Clark than Tony Benn, full of acute and dry observation, especially on the lower end of ministerial life. Because Chris Mullin is a writer who became an MP rather than an MP trying to write, there are real gems sprinkled acorss every page, some hilarious, others serious. (Peter Hain Observer 2009-03-15)

As engaging as you would expect from a man with a writer's gift and a reputation for fearless honesty. (Newcastle Journal)

Devastating (Harry Reid Herald, Glasgow)

The most entertaining account of the New Labour years I have read (Eddie Barnes Scotland on Sunday)

By far the most revealing and entertaining to have emerged from the now-dying era of New Labour ... a diary that tells us almost as much about British politics as that great television series, 'Yes Minister' (Economist)

Mullin's well written and profoundly decent book has done an important service for democracy. (Peter Oborne Daily Mail)

Very enlightening, immensely readable. The best diaries since Alan Clark and probably better... (Bill Turnbull BBC Breakfast TV)

A real landmark ... the first no-holds-barred account of life inside the Blair administration ... they will become as important for future historians as the Crossman, Castle and Benn diaries ... I read it in a weekend and couldn't put it down.

(Paul Anderson Tribune)

They contain jewels of fine observation and freeze important moments. Mullin has a well-tuned ear for a joke; he is perceptive, self-deprecating and honest (Times literary Supplement)

A real eye-opener (Good Book Guide)

The most valuable set of diaries to emanate from the now interred corpse of new Labour; the most revelatory and also, from time to time, the most entertaining. I'd go so far as to say that, in order to understand new Labour properly, all you need is this book and maybe a brief excerpt from Alastair Campbell's diaries... (Rod Liddle Sunday Times)

Chris Mullin's diaries deserve to become the central text for understanding the Blair years (Peter Riddell The Times)

His quiet humour and intense personal integrity make this book compulsively readable (Peter Oborne Daily Mail)

A pleasure to read, full of gentle humour (Michael White Guardian)

The most entertaining and perceptive account of the New Labour era ... It will also stand the test of time long after other more trumpeted accounts have faded from view. (Sean Flynn Irish Times)

Deserves a warm welcome from those of us who believe that it is not a bad thing for politicians also to be fully-paid up members of the human race (Anthony Howard Sunday Telegraph)

At the moment my favourite Labour MP is Chris Mullin, partly because I enormously enjoyed...'A View From the Foothills' (William Hague Independent)

Without doubt the most entertaining account of the New Labour years ... comparisons with Alan Clark ... and Harold Nicholson are certainly apposite ... it is hard to imagine any better account of the Blair years than this. (Scotsman)

Keeping an interesting diary is much harder than it looks. What you do and whom you know is less important than how you see yourself, and how you cope with your inevitable failure. Chris Mullin will go up somewhere into the first division of diarists because he has created a great comic character (the one called Chris Mullin). (Simon Carr Independent)

His diary reveals an individual who entered government out of an overpowering sense of curiosity, acting almost under cover on our behalf, to report back on what it and they are really like. Thank goodness he did. Mullin proves it is possible to produce a political diary which can be funny and fascinating - and free of malice. (Andrew Hosken The Oldie)

A minister answering parliamentary questions learns which backbenchers to fear ... real danger comes from the quiet questioner who knows his subject. Such a one was Chris Mullin. I learned to respect him when he was on his feet ... His diaries ... are interesting and credible because, unlike those of Alan Clark, they are not designed as a puff for himself. (Douglas Hurd - Total Politics 2009-05-01)

The most entertaining and perceptive account of the New Labour era ... It will also stand the test of time long after other more trumpeted accounts have faded from view. (Irish Times 2009-04-06)

Probably the most candid view of New Labour from the inside that we will ever get (Yorkshire Post 2009-05-04)

Mullin inspires trust: one seldom, if ever, feels that material has been wilfully suppressed or distorted to serve the author. He is straight, decent, in an old fashioned way. (London Review of Books 2009-08-27)

A View from the Foothills is his eloquent answer to those who believe that all politicians are in it for themselves. (The Times 2010-04-07)

The most enjoyable and stimulating of all the political diaries I have read. (Jonathan Dimbleby)

Book Description

Alan Clarke meets Yes Minister in this wry and self-deprecating diary about life in the New Labour Government from 1999 to 2007. Says Mullin, 'It is said that failed politicians make the best diarists. In which case I am in with a chance.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11556 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; Main edition (1 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041G68ZK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #138,177 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. M. Green VINE VOICE on 26 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A little late coming to this tome - I'd read quite a bit about Chris Mullin in the papers regarding his latest offering "A Walk On Part" and thought that as I am a fan of Yes Minister/Prime Minister/The New Statesman and The Thick Of It that this would make for an entertaining read but decided to read his earlier works before coming onto his most recent!
Well it was ordered and it duly arrived with quite a thump on the doormat! This is quite a brick of a book but, as it is written in such an easy style and moreover, as it is a diary (and not a full one at that!) it was not such a daunting read as you can jump in and out of it at will or settle down to half an hour here and half an hour there. And, is it entertaining - it most certainly is and at points reflected exactly what the above mentioned TV comedy shows contained, "F" words - the lot, proving that the political "Elite" are just as lacking in diction as we, The Great Unwashed....!
For sure, until one scales the dizzy heights, Mr Mullin finds that government at a junior ministerial level, is not really for him. Chairing various committees giving him far more power and a sense of achievement than anything obtained at the level of the foothills.
What I did find surprising however, was the whole issue of New Labour and it's attitude towards immigration. Indeed, I found Mr Mullin's personal attitude even more of an issue because it reflected truly everything that is wrong and why immigration has, for so long, been utterly out of control with repatriations running way, way behind the influx.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent account of ministerial low life, and utterly depressing too, that so much of our tax-payers' money is wasted on the futile, un-productive process that is government at work. Read this and you'll for ever after begrudge paying a penny of income tax when you see how little actually gets done in government, the window dressing, the pretence, and the waste.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a bit of a shame that the author lacked the moral gumption to stand up for his beliefs when in Government, but the book gives a good insight into what a disaster Tony Blair's period was.
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I read this volume after first reading his later "Decline and Fall" 2005-10 diaries. Mullin is a leftie, and I am not, but he comes across as a decent human being, conscientiously looking after his constituents in underprivileged Sunderland and trying to help unpopular people like destitute African illegal immigrants. He joins Tony Blair's government in a lowly position and is almost laughably ineffective, other than making some changes in the car-pooling rules. He admires Blair for his plausible Houdini-like ability to get out of jams - although he consistently opposes the war in Iraq. Eventually he has a post in African affairs which suits him, but junior ministers do not stay in one place long or even retain office and he lost his. The diaries are wrily amusing and well written and I would rank them with Chips Channon's or Alan Clark's.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to admit that my heart sank a little when this book arrived from Amazon, it's got a rather dull front cover and at 600 pages is something of a brick. Nevertheless, I had read a couple of good reviews in the papers so I thought I would give it a go...and three hours later I was still reading it. It's a truly engrossing account of ministerial life on the lowest rung of the ladder, Mullins upon being promoted to junior minister for transport and environment sets himself just three goals for the duration of his tenure: an end to night flights, greater regulation of leylandi hedges and cancelling his ministerial car. Two years later on leaving his post he reflects that he has failed on the first two counts, and merely reduced the ministerial bill (from £700 to £400 per week) for the third. In the intervening months he catalogues with almost daily despair his lack of any policy influence and how he is slowly ground down by the civil service machine.

There is a real gearchange in the diary after he returns to the back benches after tendering his resignation. It is clear that he finds a new enthusiasm once he escapes from the stifling Whitehall centralised control structures designed to ensure that everyone remains "on message", where every interview and TV appearance has to be approved and prepped to mirror exactly the party line. Now just a humble MP he finds himself with much greater influence through his select committee work.

The second part of the diary therefore progresses much more like a conventional political memoir. We get to hear at first hand government reaction to 911, the political infighting between Gordon and Tony, the divisions over first Afghanistan and then Iraq, the inside reactions to the scandals, the media hysteria, the sackings, the election triumphs.
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Format: Paperback
The most readable, honest and funny political diaries I have read. An insight into the Blair years in which the latter is gently mocked but comes out of it better than might be expected (and I started with an anti-Blair prejudice). Mullin is good at self deprecation and takes no sides, other than to be very suspicious all along of Brown. But this book is not just about British politics. Other walk on parts are played by people as diverse as the Dalai Lama, the splendid Edna Adan of Somaliland, various people who found themselves falling foul of our immigration and assylum laws and practice, and not least, his family. He comes over as a very humane, decent, observant and believable source.
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