Progressive reviews

Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister

Christabel Cooper  |  9 March 2017

Rosa Prince’s uncritical biography does little to uncover the real prime minister, finds Christabel Cooper ‘The Enigmatic Prime Minister’ is a highly appropriate subtitle for this new biography of Theresa May. Huge contradictions continue to surround her: between the party chairman who declared in 2002 that the Tories had to stop being seen as the …

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Everywoman: A review

Bex Bailey  |  1 March 2017

Bex Bailey finds encouragement from Jess Phillips’ feminist volume ‘You will never be popular’, starts Jess Phillips – words spoken to her by Harriet Harman when she first began speaking out for women in parliament. Women who speak out tend to receive a barrage of abuse – especially, ironically, when they are talking about the abuses …

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What We Do Now

William Bain  |  15 February 2017

William Bain finds this collection of essays shows many US progressives ignoring the roots of their defeat Watching Donald Trump take the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States and listening to his dystopian vision of America in his inaugural speech proved the sting of defeat has not lessened for progressives …

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A Woman’s Work

Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin  |  2 February 2017

Harriet Harman’s book is an exhaustive account of the women’s movement in parliament since 1982, writes Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin When Harriet Harman caused controversy by bringing her baby to a parliamentary vote soon after being elected, she received a call from the serjeant-at-arms. ‘Only members are allowed in the division lobby,’ he explained. ‘And babies are not members.’ …

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Victor Grayson: The Man and the Mystery

Dianne Hayter  |  17 January 2017

David Clark charts the career of Victor Grayson, an idealist ill-suited to tolerating others, writes Dianne Hayter At just 25, Victor Grayson was elected in 1907, a socialist, firebrand, handsome, bisexual, often drunk, always charismatic. Yet he disappeared – literally – 13 years later, never to be seen again. He had such promise, his byelection triumph …

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Britain’s Best
 Political Cartoons 2016

Alex White  |  15 December 2016

Gordon Brown and David Cameron both complained about the way political cartoonists depicted them (they said they were drawn too fat). But after a tumultuous year in British politics, it is Winston Churchill’s take on political cartoons which remains the most sound: the time for politicians to be concerned about cartoons is when they stop …

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We Are Arrested

Rob Marchant  |  14 December 2016

Can is an educated, middle-class professional, living in a European country, who has, by any reasonable interpretation of the word, had a successful career. He is a nice guy, an intelligent and articulate man with a loving family, great friends and unusually supportive colleagues. Everything in his life seems to be going pretty well. But …

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Redressing the gender balance

Joyce Gould  |  6 December 2016

There has, until recently, been a dearth of books about Labour’s women parliamentarians. Alice in Westminster, a new book by Labour member of parliament Rachel Reeves, redresses that imbalance and shines a new light on the life story and achievements of her subject. Alice Bacon made her introduction into politics at the age of 16 …

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This House: The honour in political machinery

Richard Angell  |  1 December 2016

James Graham’s play, This House, exploring the working-class heroes in the whips’ office –  who fought the Tories and hard left to keep a Labour government in office – feels more poignant now than when it first opened in 2012. Reopening at the Garrick Theatre, Graham’s masterpiece shows the use of tactics, corralling the ‘odds …

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Speaking Out: Lessons in Life and Politics

Roger Liddle  |  10 November 2016

Ed Balls’ Speaking Out will be regarded as one of best written and readable political autobiographies of his generation. It is not in the class of Denis Healey’s The Time of My Life, though there are some interesting parallels between Balls and Healey – serious intellectuals with brilliant minds, both bruisers in build and temperament, …

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