Liam Fox, who came a close third in the contest to lead the Conservative Party eight years ago and who was Defence Secretary for a year and a half, was going to call his book The 4am Moment – What Keeps World Leaders Awake.
That would have been a better title, providing a central theme for Fox’s [...]
I have written about politics in fiction in The Independent on Sunday today, because Bloomsbury, publisher of Professor Steven Fielding’s A State of Play, was kind enough to send me proofs of the book, to be published in April.
This provided new discoveries in my quest last week for the answer to the question: why do [...]
If anyone is interested in what Blair is actually doing as Quartet envoy in Israel-Palestine, as opposed to what the Daily Mail and Guardian say he is doing, I recently recommended an excellent article by Toby Greene in the Jewish Chronicle.
I have since read Greene’s equally commendable book. It is a clear and balanced account [...]
The origin of Donald Rumsfeld’s best-known phrase, about “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns”, turns out to be a known unknown. The former US Secretary of Defense was asked by Liam Fox, former Defence Secretary, whether he had written the phrase. Rumsfeld said: “There were 15 smart people in the room for three days – I don’t [...]
Jonathan Stroud is the author of the hugely successful Bartimaeus trilogy, about a djinni and the young magician who summons him. His latest book, Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, is set in an alternate society in which a mysterious ghost epidemic has infested Britain. Adults cannot see the ghosts, so young people are hired to track them down and vanquish them.
We are used to Ed Miliband’s post-neo-liberal mumbo-jumbo on the economy. We heard more of it in his speech to Progress on Saturday (see below). What was surprising, reading David Sainsbury’s book, Progressive Capitalism, is that he too criticises the New Labour government, in which he too was a minister, because it failed to “question fundamentally [...]
Ferdinand Mount – The New Few, or A Very British Oligarchy (Simon & Schuster, 26 April 2012)
Now might be a good time to post my review of Ferdinand Mount’s comically trite book. It starts with information that “everyone knows”, namely that the gap between rich and poor is widening. It isn’t. But it did in the [...]
David Nutt, Drugs – Without the Hot Air: Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs (UIT Cambridge, 31 May 2012)
A good book, full of information, but which suffers as a polemic from Nutt’s preferred style of debate. I read it because it was shortlisted for Polemic of the Year at the Political Book Awards. [...]
This book has an arrogant and didactic style, which I rather like, not least because I agree with his argument. But a bossy injunction in the preface to pay attention, look up the hard words and re-read passages you do not understand is hardly calculated to change minds.
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