Deborah Mattinson on Labour

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Posted 24 Jul 2010 in General, Politics

With all the fuss about Mandelson’s tawdry sodding diaries in the press at the moment, a confession: I couldn’t care less about the personal feuds, delusions and dramas that have fuelled the last sixteen years of British politics. Reading the self-indulgent, self-serving memoirs of cretins like Mandelson, Alistair Campbell or – shortly – Tony Blair appeals not one jot. However, I am interested in good books about politics, and this one – by Deborah Mattinson – looks quite engaging, even if does contain the words ‘A New Politics’ in the subtitle.

Mattinson was involved in polling and focus group research for Labour for over 25 years, and as such has some interesting insights into the strategies and intellectual ideas which were incubating inside the party over the last quarter of a century.

The Guardian has some interesting excerpts here, which shed some light on the Labour government we saw under Blair and Brown.

My favourite bit, mind, is the author’s observations on Labour party members:

Basically, they are all a bit weird. I mean, what they had in common wasn’t their political opinions – they covered the whole spectrum, from centre-left to far left – they weren’t united by any ideology or political belief.

No, it was that they were all slightly strange people … strange personally, I mean. They were people who really did want to spend their evenings sitting in church halls or community centres agonising over quite arcane points of detail.

And they weren’t just doing it that night, but every night – the committee for this, the committee for that, the council, whatever. They were sort of lonely and socially odd.

Ha ha, ace.


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