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Andy McSmith has been chief reporter of the Independent newspaper since April 2007, having previously been a political correspondent on the same paper, and political editor of the Independent on Sunday and chief political correspondent of the Daily Telegraph and Observer. He lives in London.
August 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Such recent history but so much change, how far away it all seems! For many readers having lived through the period, there is the fascination of hindsight, there is the added bonus of the background to some of the topline stories of the day, and there is the nostalgic fascination and sometimes horror as Andy McSmith recalls the gadgets and gruesome fashions and mores of the decade. Like for Like ReadingCrisis, What Crisis?: Britain in the 1970’s, Alwyn W TurnerAll in the Best Possible Taste: Growing up Watching Telly in the Eighties, Tom Bromley The Lovereading view... The 1980s was the revolutionary decade of the twentieth century. To look back in 1990 at the Britain of ten years earlier was to look into another country. From the Falklands war and the miners' strike to Bobby Sands and the Guildford Four, this title uncovers the truth behind the decade that changed Britain forever.
An all too plausible tale of political intrigue and skulduggery set in the dark nether world of New Labour spin. The unlikely hero Joseph Pilgrim, a backbench MP, cannot seem to stop himself from stumbling repeatedly upwards towards the front benches until tabloid journalist Dave Drucker digs the dirt on Pilgrim's past. The ensuing romp through the corridors of power is enlivened by cameo appearances from some eerily familiar Westminster figures.
Updated since the May 1997 election, Faces of Labour gives a unique insight into a range of Labour politicians in a series of entertaining and revealing portraits. With a substantial lead in the opinion polls, the Labour Party looks set to take over the reins of Britain s government within a year. Ironically, just at the point when Labour appears to be a government in waiting, it has never been more difficult to judge exactly what we can expect from Labour in government. New slogans and buzz words appear on almost a daily basis, as the Labour Party continues to redefine itself after two decades in opposition. In Faces of Labour Andy McSmith brings an expert eye to bear on the enormous changes Labour has undergone on the long road back to Number 10. A former party press officer and now a political correspondent for the Observer, few people are better qualified than Andy McSmith to give an account--both as an insider and as a critical observer--of what is really going on in the Labour Party. McSmith describes the transition from a party dominated by the radical left into a social democratic party. He reassesses the tensions between Old and New Labour, focusing on individuals whose careers throw different aspects of a complex story into sharp relief. McSmith gives a sharp insider's account of the key figures in the Labour hierarchy, including Peter Mandelson--the man described as Tony Blair's Rasputin--John Prescott, Robin Cook, Clare Short and, of course, Tony Blair himself. He also looks at those on the underside of the party--figures such as Ted Grant, guru of the Militant Tendency, and the late Jim Murray, a Tyneside shop steward who, by combination of pure chance and the power of the block vote, once held the future of Labour in his hands. Faces of Labour is crammed with the kind of telling detail available only to a writer who has observed his subject from close up. If you want to know what to expect from the New Labour government, this lively and accessible book is an indispensable guide.