Whatever it Takes: The Real Story of Gordon Brown and New Labour Paperback – 16 Sep 2010
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Under New Labour there were two governments: one official, one largely hidden. The other government belonged to Gordon Brown. Now Steve Richards has created a unique biography of that administration – and a brilliant and understanding portrait of a huge political figure, his personal weaknesses and immense strengths. In so doing Richards, easily one of our best commentators, uncovers the unfashionable truth that politics sometimes matters as much as personalities.
This book has been a long time coming, but it's well worth the wait. Steve Richards is quite simply one of the best in the business. His mix of criticism and compassion has produced the most intelligent take yet on the strange world of Gordon Brown and New Labour.
About the Author
Steve Richards has been chief political commentator at the Independent since 2000, before which he was a BBC political correspondent and political editor of the New Statesman. He has also written for the Guardian, Observer, Evening Standard and the TLS. He presented Despatch Box on BBC 2 and The Sunday Programme on GMTV. He currently presents Week in Westminster on Radio 4 and is a regular guest on the Today programme, Newsnight and Question Time. In September he will be writing and presenting a major series on Gordon Brown for BBC Radio 4. He was named political journalist of the year in 2009 by the Political Studies Association.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Also, given that Steve Richards has had various contact and conversations with architects of New Labour, and the fact that this book covers events and analysis of them from around 1992 to the loss of the general election of 2010 and formation of a coalition government, and giving the reader a crucial recounting, insight into and analysis of events, personalities (Mr Brown especially) and their thoughts and actions, all make this book central to being able to understand not just what happened, some reasons and interpretations (fair and unbiased ones at that, in my opinion) but also central to appreciating the books that have been written by the various architects of the NL years, their fans and detractors too, with a much more enlightened mind.
It's an important bonus to the reader that Mr Richards also gives a quite in-depth retelling and insight into the days post-GE2010 and formation of coalition, which to me is a much more honest and less biased version than the book by, somewhat disgraced, David Laws on the subject. Laws' text is always going to be tinged with a sense of self and political interest by him, whether true or just perceived, that to me it is difficult to take seriously as unbiased.
There are so many other events covered in the book, be it aftermath of death of John Smith, the falling out between Mandelson/Blair and Brown, the global financial crisis, and so on, which together with the style of writing make "whatever it takes" compelling reading.
He compares the ideology-light Blair with the socially-committed but personally flawed Brown. Examining the two men and how they governed - both more terrified of criticism from the right than plaudits for actual achievements.
We see Gordon Brown as neither a hero nor the man who stopped the march of New Labour. Richards recalls the early days of the Brown-Blair partnership inder both Neil Kinnock and John Smith when the Scotsman we now recall as ham-fisted and unable to use the modern media could dance around his TV interviews as Labour's young star and future leader. When Blair takes the leadership, Brown buries himself in working up policies for government - already waiting for his turn at the top.
And so we have the years of the Blair government with Brown looking for poverty reduction strategies that the Daily Mail will not notice and Blair becoming increasingly market-oriented and playing for good headlines. Always in the background is the festering sore of Brown waiting impatiently to be leader.
After broken promises and attempted coups, Brown comes to power with a divided party and a public hungry for change from the spinning of New Labour. He can shine through floods, terrorist attacks and foot and mouth and his popularity soars.Read more ›
This is a balanced but sympathetic description of a good man who achieved much. At the same time Steve Richards takes us through the Blair Brown years giving readers a potted history of the era. He reminds readers of how wary the Labour leadership were of alienating what they saw as an essentially right-wing electorate. In the narrative we get a year by year, sometimes hour by hour exposition of the political manoeuvring, plotting, attempted coups as Brown tried to get his way and get his policies through.
The most telling sentence in the book is Richards' observation that if power is concentrated in the hands of a few people at the top of a party and those few people act in an undisciplined way, that is just as harmful to the public perception of the party as an undisciplined party would be. Blair and Brown emasculated the Labour party to avoid unsightly rows and then provided us with a soap opera with a cast of two.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author seems to blame Blair for most of the problems, including those over which brown had exclusive control. Read morePublished 3 months ago by rod instrall
I read Andrew Rawnsley's excellent The End of the Party before this, which was a good way of doing it as Rawnsley provides a very clear account of events as they unfolded whereas... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Squirrel
Like many people, I did not have a lot of time for Gordon Brown. In reading it, I still found him a bully, but some of the 'bullyishness' was born of frustration arising from Mr... Read morePublished 11 months ago by John Alexander
Steve Richards’s book is great on detail of the actions of everyone involved throughout Gordon Brown’s career as Chancellor and Prime Minister. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Geoff Crocker
Did not go deep enough for my liking...Steve Richards is too kind.Published 16 months ago by Alexander McKay
Balanced view of Brown in no. 10. Richards get beyond the common myths and cliches around Brown and his close colleaguesPublished 16 months ago by Kindle Customer
What a waste of money!
You need to be as desparate as I was to read about this guy but talk about a dry read. Read more
Excellent discourse on the Brown/Blair years. I guess everyone knew about GB's all consuming ambition but Steve Richards give us a brilliant in depth analysis which covers far more... Read morePublished on 26 Nov. 2013 by D avid C
Very readable, with details and inside stories not previously published. Shows why this talented man racked under the pressure of premiership.Published on 31 Jan. 2013 by Thabo
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biography > Historical > Britain > Military
- Books > Biography > Historical > Britain > Social & Urban History
- Books > Biography > Historical > Countries & Regions > Europe
- Books > Biography > Historical > Social & Urban History
- Books > Biography > Political > Britain
- Books > History > Britain & Ireland > Ireland
- Books > History > Political History > Politicians
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > Countries & Regions > UK