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Alistair Darling is comfortably occupying the position of least worst chancellor of the ...
on 21 July 2014
As of 2014, Alistair Darling is comfortably occupying the position of least worst chancellor of the 21st century and this book, focussing largely on his three years at No. 11 is a gem. Half of it is given over to pooterish musings, the rest to hard economics but at no point do the joins show. Unusually, for a New Labour autobiography, this doesn't read like apologia. Instead, and rather remarkably, this is a proper memoir. Darling describes events, without embellishment, as he experienced them. There's no fat here, and no self-justification. Instead, we get a first hand account of what it was like to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the worst financial crisis in eighty years. None of this would matter if the book were badly written, but it isn't. One might expect Darling, a career politician, to know how to string a narrative together but this is as well-plotted as many novels.
At the time of my submitting this review, Darling is making a pig's ear of the 'No' campaign in the Scottish indepependence referendum, Astonishingly, he might yet need to be bailed out by his old boss who at least seems to be making a bit of an effort. It's surprising, as Back From The Brink proves Darling is a good egg who can string an argument together. Whatever the outcome of that debate, however, Darling can take some satisfaction from having written what is presumably destined to become a seminal piece of source material for students of the credit crunch.
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