Description - Servants of the People by Andrew Rawnsley
Andrew Rawnsley's Servants of the People is a timely and fascinating look at New Labour. Every new government promises to represent a new dawn, but for New Labour it was the Covenant that Tony Blair made with Britain. The party that won a landslide victory on May Day 1997 made the special claim that it represented a decisive break with the disappointments of the old left and the old right: its Third Way would transcend both. Having fashioned an extraordinarily wide coalition to secure power, New Labour would hold it as Servants of the People. Was that a grandiloquent way of saying the government would be enslaved to the opinion polls? Or has Tony Blair been pursuing a strategic plan, breathtaking in its audacity, to remake the political landscape of Britain in the third millennium? 'Downing Street is said to be 'furious' at this book - and it is easy to understand why. It is the first meticulous chronicle of all that has happened since that bright May Day three years ago which first brought the Blair government to office' Anthony Howard, Sunday Times 'Riveting ...the Government's dirty washing has been well and truly hung out in public' Rachel Sylvester, Daily Telegraph Andrew Rawnsley is associate editor and chief political commentator for the Observer.
For many years he presented BBC Radio 4's Sunday evening Westminster Hour, and he has also made a number of highly acclaimed television documentaries.
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(198mm x 129mm x 35mm)
Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
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Book Reviews - Servants of the People by Andrew Rawnsley
UK Kirkus Review »
A spirited yet all too plausible, 'insider' account of New Labour's first three years, drawing on the author's extensive stock of private contacts and confidential information. The trouble is, it focuses wholly on the over-heated febrile, egomanical, bitching and back-stabbing world of a tiny number of people, albeit at the very top of New Labour Politics. We get very little about New Labour as a political project and the way it is transforming, for better or worse, the political culture of Britain. At the core of the book is the long-running tension between Tony Blair and Gordon Browm, triggered by Brown's belief that he was cheated out of the Labour leadership and hence the Preiership by the younger and less-experienced Blair. We get plenty from the rumour machine about Brown's alleged 'psychological flaws' but that, like so much else in the book, is reported as gossip and we are repeatedly denied access to the identity of the author's sources, too many of which are merely referred to as 'private information'. While there are good bits, for example on Nothern Ireland and Kosovo, there is no sustained analysis of New Labour's achievements or, for that matter why it has been such a disappointment to may of its erstwhile supporters: its embrace of the spin culture, its real contempt for 'old' Labour, its failure to distance itself from sleaze and its over-enthusiastic cozying up to big business. It is a book that will enthral all those who live inside The Whitehall - Westminster goldfish bowl but it leaves the definitive book about New Labour still to be written. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Andrew Rawnsley
Andrew Rawnsley is Associate Editor and chief political columnist for the Observer. He has also made a string of critically acclaimed television programmes for Channel 4 and presents Radio 4's Westminster Hour. He lives in London.