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The Eye of the Storm: The View from the Centre of the Political Scandal Hardcover – 22 Jul 2014
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Rob Wilson is rapidly becoming one of the best-informed and most acute observers of Westminster politics. He brings the extra insights and instincts of a player with inside access to the heart of government. --Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News
A very well-written, important and authentic book … Everyone interested in contemporary politics should study it. --Peter Oborne, Chief Political Commentator at The Daily Telegraph
[A] fascinating curiosity that fills in invaluable details about what was happening behind the scenes while the pack of Westminster journalists [...] was hunting its quarry... He focuses on scandals there are delicious details... Wilson writes fluidly and with compassion, and has coaxed more from his subjects than many journalists would have... This book is a welcome reminder that our politicians are human beings, too. Wilson's achievement is to show us that some are more human than others. --Tim Shipman, Sunday Times
5/5 The Eye of the Storm has been paid the greatest compliment a piece of political journalism can be paid: Downing Street tried to suppress it … [A] well-written, behind-the-scenes account. --The Telegraph
A hugely entertaining read. --Good Book Guide
About the Author
Rob Wilson was elected to Parliament in 2005 after a successful business career. He served as an opposition whip and higher education spokesman before becoming Parliamentary Private Secretary to Jeremy Hunt at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and later at the Department of Health following the formation of the creation of the Lib Dem Conservative coalition in 2010. In September 2013, Rob was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. Rob also wrote a critically acclaimed book on the formation of the coalition government entitled 5 Days to Power: The Journey to Coalition Britain, published by Biteback in 2010.
Top customer reviews
The author also analyses the effect on William Hague of the relentless four-year negative pressure he endured as Leader of the Opposition. As the author says, Hague was never the same person thereafter. It clearly adversely affected his role as Foreign Secretary.
In a final chapter, Rob Wilson seeks to identify the key lessons that can be learned from these scandals and crises. He examines: how best to handle a crisis, what are the key decisions that need to be taken, and how some political figures manage to survive while others fall.
Wilson shows how these scandals affect families in addition to the culprits. The stress on families is immense causing great distress. Homes are besieged by the media, day and night. His main aim is to provjde: 'readers with a better sense of the human beings that play out the game of politics'. Does he succeed? In my opinion, yes.
The book is based on numerous interviews with politicians. It does not seek to judge let alone condemn. It does not claim to be a definitive account of the scandals and crises. It does nevertheless reveal a sense of the dynamics of political crises. In many ways, given its contents, it is a very brave book.
Then there is the case of Andrew Mitchell, with whom the book starts. According to this account he was the victim of a set-up; but you wonder why the dissident police officers targeted him, and not one of the many other members of the government who frequented Downing Street. Wilson's pretty deadpan account enables you to form your own opinion.
Recommended to anyone interested in this sort of thing. I am still left wondering why the media camp outside the houses of politicians in trouble, for the sake of a picture of someone they photographed the day before.
The whole "politician as victim" tone of the book left me deeply unsatisfied and feeling as though I had been put through some sort of Westminster PR process. Most of these "victims" are the cause of their own difficulties, whether through smug arrogance, naïveté, immaturity or simply not being up to the job. Very little analysis of these aspects is undertaken with the author much more interested in retelling the politicians' own stories of the impacts they had on them.
This left the book feeling more like a polished piece of the politicians effort to secure a memorable legacy than any serious attempt at recording and analysing history.
instead of portraying the devastation that they and their families felt.