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What you need to read before you vote on July 4th

What you need to read before you vote on July 4th


Keir Starmer: Tom Baldwin's Biography (2024)

Who is the real Keir Starmer? He described Jeremy Corbyn as his friend and effectively expelled him from the Labor Party a few months later. Having campaigned twice to stop Brexit, he is now determined to make it happen and is the rising hope of the Milibandit soft left, now the architect of the Blairite Renaissance. This excellent biography, based on interviews and contacts with the Labor leader's friends, family and inner circle, attempts to answer that question. Author Tom Baldwin, a journalist and former Labor spin doctor, acknowledges that many questions remain Starmer's mysteries, but it is a fascinating and intriguing account of the man who could become Britain's next prime minister.

Beyond the red wall: why Labor lost, how the Conservatives won and what will happen next? (2020) Produced by Deborah Mattinson

Deborah Mattinson, who ran focus groups for Gordon Brown and is now head of strategy at Keir Starmers, wrote the book shortly after the 2019 election. This book is a must-read for insight into what happened at the last election and the thinking that underpins many of the ideas about how Starmers Labor's party sees the world and, most importantly, what voters care about .

David Cameron's For the Record (2019)

One of the frustrations of these 14 years of Conservative rule is that so few of its architects have written about them in detail. The exception is the interesting memoir of former Prime Minister David Cameron, now Foreign Secretary. Your tolerance for long digressions that serve no purpose other than to retell a joke that Cameron was particularly proud of may vary. But this is a vivid and sometimes unintentionally revealing book written by the man who started it all. The Conservative Party came to power after 13 years of opposition, but became mired in fighting over Europe and eventually collapsed over Brexit.

Tony Blair: Tony Blair's Journey (2010)

A great memoir of Tony Blair's time in power. Of course, the book is not heavy on self-recrimination, but rather a unique and insightful analysis of what Keir is up to, both as a memoir of what it was like to come to power after years of opposition and as a treatise on the frustrations and challenges of modern democratic government. provide. Starmer may expect him to win. And Blair's Labor Party was better prepared to take power than Starmus's Labor Party. This is particularly strong on the difficulties of bending the state and Whitehall institutions to the will of its leaders.

The Right to Govern: 13 Years, Five Prime Ministers and the Collapse of the Tories (2023)by Ben Riley-Smith

The past 14 years have been a history of almost constant reinvention of conservatism. In this fully sourced insider account, Ben Riley-Smith details the moment the Conservative Party faced crisis and emerged as something new. Tories or fans of happy endings would do well to pick up the hardback, while Labor supporters and those who like final tragedies should wait for the paperback edition, in which Riley-Smith tells Rishi Sunak's story.

Politics on the Edge (2023) by Rory Stewart

This compelling memoir of his life as a member of parliament and minister from 2010 to 2019 is also the story of how and why government departments fail and policies are not implemented. It was charmingly written and charmingly honest.

Growing Up: Judgment (2024)by Daniel Susskind

Whoever wins on July 4th, one of the top items on the immediate to-do list will be how to address Britain's poor economic performance. Economist Daniel Susskind takes a forensic look at the whole problem of growth and what we can do to get more of it. Policymakers may be surprised by his skeptical dismissal of existing constituencies investing in education and reform initiatives, but his call for innovative ways to encourage and apply new ideas is telling.

All Out War(2016), Fall Out(2017) No Way Out(2024) by Tim Shipman

There are not one, but three books chronicling Brexit and its aftermath. Although these books do not focus solely on the inner lives of the Conservatives, they are an unparalleled work of palace intrigue. Labor leaders love the walk-on bit, and the latest entry in the sequence, No Way Out, captures the perspectives of those on the other side of the Brexit talks table. Out, the final volume of Volume 4, is nominally scheduled to be published on July 4th, but publication is believed to be delayed until after the election. It will be worth a read every time you come.

Punch & Judy Politics: An Insider's Guide to Prime Minister Questions (2018)Written by Ayesha Hazarika and Tom Hamilton.

Involving a series of preparations for party leaders for Prime Minister's Questions, two former Labor aides, Ayesha Hazarika and Tom Hamilton, have created a fascinating history of the most important half hour in British politics. Drawing on his own experience and interviews with William Hague, David Cameron, Daniel Finkelstein, George Osborne and Ed Miliband, this book is an excellent introduction to how politics work, as well as how Downing Street navigates its relationship with the Cabinet.

Brexitland: Identity, Diversity and Remaking in British Politics (2020) by Maria Sobolewska and Robert Ford.

In this comprehensive account, two University of Manchester academics analyze the long road to the EU vote, a landscape transformed by demographic change and increasing identity fragmentation. All of these processes are complicated by the breakdown of traditional voting patterns, coalition politics and politics. Scottish independence question.

Liberal Democrats: From hope to despair, where? (2023) David Cutts, Andrew Russell, Joshua Harry Townsley

A very detailed and original study of the Liberal Democrats, the perennial third and fourth largest party in British politics. This book, written by three academics, constitutes a wealth of fresh insight into how minority parties can operate in a two-party, first-come, first-served system, along with rich insights into how the Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition broke away in 2010-15. Decades later, the initial jubilation of being in power was followed by a long hangover.

The Fall of Boris Johnson: The Full Story (2022) by Sebastian Payne

A rich and readable account of Boris Johnson's final days in power and the Conservative Party's subsequent drift away from his agenda and approach – a very important subplot of this election.

We'd like to hear from you

Of course, the above is not intended to be an exhaustive reading list, rather than a selection of our favorite books. To get this done, we'd like to hear from Bookworm FT readers. Let us know in the comments section below what books you've read and liked about British politics and why you think they will enlighten fellow readers ahead of the general election. . We'll post our top picks in the coming days.

Join FT Books Caf's online book group on Facebook and subscribe to the Life & Art podcast wherever you are.




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