I know it’s not a typical blog post but with the general election approaching (can we all keep our fingers crossed that I keep my job?) I thought it would be nice to share a few of my favourite political books. At least some of the ones I’ve read most recently. The rate that politics moves at the moment, some of these actually feel a little out of date. Mind you, at the moment, I think the publishers would have a hard job getting authors to keep up with politics.
Here are a few to get started.
Mad Men & Bad Men – Sam Delaney
This is without a doubt one of my favourite books, political or not. Political advertising is something I focused on throughout my degrees and it’s never really left me. I’ll read anything about it that I can get my hands on. The book focuses on four different election campaigns and the impact that an increasing amount of advertising and new techniques had on them. If you’re in any way interested in advertising, digital or influencing then this is particularly interesting.
Unleashing Demons – Sir Craig Oliver
After the EU referendum there were hundreds of books about the campaign released. This is one I read and enjoyed the most. I’m possibly biased as I worked on the Remain campaign and so recognised many of the meetings that are described, but if you’re interested in what happened then this is the book for you. The only criticism I have is that sometimes I wanted to scream at Craig Oliver about how blind everyone seemed to what was going on. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The Brexit Club – Owen Bennett
While Unleashing Demons might have focused more on the Remain campaign, the Leave campaign is well covered in The Brexit Club. Owen Bennett attended far more EU events than could ever have been considered normal by anyone else’s standards and has some pretty odd tales to tell. The only issue is that it’s quite light on analysis. If you’re after more then it’s possible that Tim Shipman’s “All Out War” might be a better choice.
Revolt on the Right – Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin
At some point it seemed that every time a news show needed analysis on UKIP then either one of these authors would appear to chat about the party. It’s great at understanding the rise and fall and rise and fall of UKIP, and even though it’s now out of date, it’s also the reason I don’t quite believe that UKIP are over and done. Yet.
Comrade Corbyn – Rosa Prince
If, like me, you knew very little about Jeremy Corbyn before he became Labour party leader then this book will give you a good background. Some people have found it biased against him. Personally I don’t see that but then maybe I’m biased as I’m not his biggest fan either! It does give good analysis on how he managed to win the Labour party leadership contest, but avoids bigger questions on whether that was part of a wider international shift away from “establishment” figures.
Speaking Out – Ed Balls
I never thought that I’d be adding an Ed Balls book to my list of recent favourites. As an MP I found him vaguely arrogant and abrasive and never warmed to him at all. This book changed my opinion of him somewhat. It was full of honesty and humour. It’s also quick and easy to read with bite sized chapters and full of little gossipy tit-bits too.
Everywoman – Jess Phillips
I read this very recently and I am still completely unsure whether I absolutely hated it or absolutely loved it. One of the things I really love about Jess Phillips’ is that she comes across as a great constituency MP. Her love of Birmingham really shines through too. Both are things I really admire.
There were so many bits of advice that women can take away and apply to their own working lives. Especially women working in male dominated industries like politics. I almost want to go back to work to try and put them into practice. The only thing I find really irritating is that I do think there are unnecessary swipes at the Tories. Half expected from a Labour MP. But they’re jammed in places that don’t seem to add anything.