There's no doubt which party the fictitious New Project represents. This excellent journalist has written a funny, biting satire, filled with vitriol and nasty business. For the True Believers in the party, it's all in the name of making the world a better (gentler, kinder) place, and there's nothing they won't cover up. And it's a page-turner to boot.
Had waited for this book to be published after hearing about it on the radio in an interview with the author, a recently sacked press officer. Reading it was quite fascinating and particularly fun identifying the real people behind the fictional names. Had to put it down at one stage as the story lines were too close to real actual current news items. Just recently finished it and it is quite amazing how much similarity there is between the story line based a few years ago and what has actually happened. Like reading early science fiction.
Written no doubt in the heat of despair and anger at the way the New Labour spin machine combined with a corrupted civil service to remove Sixsmith from a highly paid secure job, through little fault of his own, this book would have benefitted from a pause of years to improve the plot (wild and silly) and the writing ( quite shockingly bad). Subsequent to publication, the Thick of It graced (if that is the word) our TV screens, and through satire and exagerration nailed the real nature of New Labour's inner core quite satisfactorily. I was amazed that Sixsmith secured a position as a Director of Communications for a major Government Department when reading between the lines from this novel, he appears to know very little about communications or politics. Still, he did get a pay off and fought hard for that, and against the powers ranged against him showed some guts.
For all the incisive comments on the fickle nature of public perception and the distortion of truth, to more or less positive effect, so much of this book is thinly veiled reportage that it is actually quite difficult to make a dispassionate judgement on it as a piece of creative writing.
There is too much reliance on factual events (slightly distorted) and too many characters clearly based on real-life people to allow the reader to take a step back and make a cool assessment of the novel. Entertaining and easy to read, but the targets are obvious and the result is something of a missed opportunity, I fear.