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A View From The Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin Paperback – 14 Jan 2010
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The sharpest and most revealing political diaries since Alan Clark's. (Simon Hoggart Guardian)
Chris Mullin's diaries deserve to become the central text for understanding the Blair years (Peter Riddell The Times)
At the moment my favourite Labour MP is Chris Mullin, partly because I enormously enjoyed A View From The Foothills (William Hague Independent)
'The most wickedly indiscreet and elegant political memoirs since Alan Clark' Mail on SundaySee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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.
That aside, the insider view of "The Man" (Blair) and his cabinet cohorts (Brown, JP, Jack Straw et al) was amusing, showing their true style and intent and indeed the empire building that we all know goes on, no matter whether politics, business or religion....mankind at whatever level, always comes down to an intent of self preservation. So, indeed, when Mr Mullin was "dumped" from his position at the Foreign Office in a reshuffle, he found himself completely at a loss, but realising that notwithstanding, he still, like we the public, had to continue to earn a living to support house, wife and 2 young daughters - irrespective of how he felt about his "redundancy"
I am now moving on to the next edition, Decline And Fall as I am intrigued to see how this now plays out, together with all the well known "players"
If you are still wondering whether to purchase this - well, I can't say that it's the most readable of all the political diaries that I've had the fortune (or sometimes misfortune) to read, but if you really want an insight into the secret world that is current and modern day politics with a warts and all narrative, then you will go quite a ways to top this!
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. I found it an absolutely fascinating read. The greatest compliment you can pay a autobiography is that it makes you feel like you yourself are living that life. And this book achieved that feat. Want to be a government minister? Want to be an MP? Then read this book and live it through someone else's eyes.
A must read!
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Far easier going than Alan Clark's efforts either, having slogged through those.Read more
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