Friday, 7 March 2008

Politico's Bookshop Bulletin

1. New: The Age of Assassins: The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin
2. In Paperback: Kenneth O Morgan's 'Michael Foot'
3. Revised Paperback Edition: Conflict of Loyalty by Geoffrey Howe
4. Hardbacks - Sixty Percent Off!
5. New from IEA: Prohibitions

Note from the Editor

Dear Politico's Customer,

Last month Yuri Felshtinsky defied FBI advice to come to London and talk to Andrew Marr on BBC Sunday AM. The book he co-authored with Alexander Litvinenko, 'Blowing Up Russia' , brought death not only to Litvinenko, but also to two members of the Russian Parliament who were making a documentary based on its contents. Felshtinsky's new book 'The Age of Assassins' suggests that the power base in Russia is almost entirely centred on the country's Secret Service.

Kenneth O Morgan's acclaimed biography of Michael Foot appears as a chunky (500-plus pages) paperback, and Lord Howe's 'Conflict of Loyalty' is re-published in a revised paperback edition.

End 'nanny state' bans is the message in 'Prohibitions', a major new study from the Institute of Economic Affairs. Our 'banning culture' has seen overwhelming restrictions imposed, ranging from gun control and prostitution to the use of recreational drugs.

Best wishes

New: The Age of Assassins: The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin

Using Alexander Litvinenko's testimony, Yuri Felshtinsky wrote the international bestseller 'Blowing up Russia' about the rigged election of Vladimir Putin in 2001. In his exceptional new book, 'The Age of Assassins', Felshtinsky investigates how Russia under Putin became the first country in history to be ruled by its secret service. Using first-hand information from former oligarchs and KGB spies, he describes how the power has shifted away from the oligarchs to a small network of spies. Together they have created a power that was unimaginable even under Russian Communism.

Buy 'The Age of Assassins: The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin' here and save 20%

In Paperback: Kenneth O Morgan's 'Michael Foot: A Life'
Now in paperback, Kenneth Morgan's authorised and finely written biography traces Foot's career from Cromwellian West Country origins to rebellious old age. It is based on a unique range of sources, many of them new, including extensive interviews with Michael Foot and with dozens of his colleagues in government, the Civil Service, the party and the press, and rich material in private papers and public records. It illuminates his complex, often turbulent, relationships with contemporaries such as Cripps and Lord Beaverbrook; Barbara Castle and Aneurin Bevan; Orwell and Koestler; Jim Callaghan, Tony Benn and Indira Gandhi.

Buy 'Michael Foot: A Life' in paperback now and save 30%

Revised Paperback Edition: Conflict of Loyalty by Geoffrey Howe

The story of the Thatcher years, told by the only man who was always at the centre of her government, 'Conflict of Loyalty' is the life story of one of the most important figures in British politics in the late 20th century. In these memoirs he gives a revealing account of government at the highest level during the 'triumph and tragedy' of the Thatcher premiership. He explains how and why he lost confidence in Thatcher, writing candidly about his dismissal as Foreign Secretary and his resignation as Deputy Prime Minister.

'An essential document for future historians' Nigel Lawson

Buy 'Conflict of Loyalty' now and save 15%

Hardbacks - Sixty Percent Off!

Excellent value on selected hardbacks! For a limited period you can get these titles at a sensational 60% discount:

Coalition: The Politics and Personalities of Coalition Government from 1850
Mark Oaten draws on history in this thoroughly researched assessment of past coalitions and possible future options.

Buy 'Coalition' now in hardcover with a 60% saving

How To Label a Goat
Ross Clark's eye-opening (and best-selling)revelation of some of the most petty and bizarre rules and regulations that are blighting the lives of Britons today.

Buy 'How to Label a Goat' now in hardcover with a 60% saving

Lies, Damned Lies and Iraq
Peter Kilfoyle's in-depth investigation into the case for war and how it was misrepresented.

Buy 'Lies, Damned Lies and Iraq' now in hardcover with a 60% saving

New from IEA: Prohibitions
The expansion of the "nanny state" has gone quite far enough! This collection of essays from the Institute of Economic Affairs examines those areas where the freedom of individual men and women to voluntarily engage in mutually advantageous exchanges is prohibited or restricted by government. The authors, under the editorship of John Meadowcroft, critically examine the economic and philosophical rationale for the prohibition of alcohol, the sale of body parts, medicinal drugs, pornography, prostitution, recreational drugs, tobacco and trade in endangered species, among other topics.

Buy 'Prohibitions' here and save 5%

"When I was five I wanted to be prime minister, now I would rather poke my eyes out with a fork"
- Oona King

Taken from Iain Dale's selection of '500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic & Erudite Things Ever Said About Politics'

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Friday, 23 November 2007

A Man Must Eat ...

Entertaining (meaning eating and drinking) is pretty much crucial to succeeding in business, and politics, and journalism, and PR, and publishing, and so on. If you are Head of the National Audit Office as well as Comptroller and Auditor General of the United Kingdom, however, you have to make sure that you are not open to bribery. Not easy therefore to accept those invitations to wine and dine unless you are footing the bill. Sir John Bourn was obliged to resign after it was revealed that he had spent £27,000 on restaurant bills over three years, and £370,000 in travel. That equates to around £175 a week on food and drink. Easily done, I would have thought.

Fortunately Sir John's resignation does not take effect until next year which is good
for two reasons. The first, as James Kirkup points out in today's Telegraph, it enabled him to authorise the quick release of the emails which go a long way to explaining the process which led to the two notorious 'child benefits' CD-ROMs being lost; and secondly it gives a bit of extra momentum to his recently published book, Public Sector Auditing. There's a lot of good stuff in the book - the chapter headed Why Bureaucracy will Never Work kicks off with "Public Programmes are Often Late, Cost More than Planned and do not Work as Intended". Subsequent chapters deal with risk, vulnerability to fraud, theft and corruption, and, under the heading of Programme and Project Management - Bureaucracies' Weakest Link there is a warning about concentrating on lowest price rather than best outcome. All relevant stuff.

It might be argued that Sir John's publishers, John Wiley, should pick up some of the £370,000 travel costs that . After all his book is international in scope and includes examples of auditing from the US (visited 3 times), Canada (1), China (1), India (1) and Australia .

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Missing discs for sale on eBay

The 25 million record child benefit database is now for sale on e-Bay. Bidding is fierce for this treasure trove of information.

Today's papers

Via Dizzy

ConservativeHome is live blogging PMQs today.

Politico's Bookshop Bulletin

Politico's Bookshop Bulletin

1. The Strange Death of David Kelly
2 Magnificent Seven: Christmas Books from Harriman House
3. New biography: Fidel Castro
4. In Paperback: Blowing Up Russia
5. Speeches That Changed the World Book/CD

Note from the Editor

The high-profile death of David Kelly is regarded by many as suspicious, and the events surrounding it as 'unfinished business'. Norman Baker has carried out extensive research, and shows in 'The Strange Death of Dr David Kelly' how the verdict of suicide is simply not credible.

For years people have tried to persuade the leader of the Cuban Revolution to tell his own life story. Finally in 'My Life - Fidel Castro' Ignacio Ramonet, well-known activist and editor of Le Monde Diplomatique, has succeeded.

"Explosive" was the News of the World's (inevitable) description of 'Blowing Up Russia' when it appeared in hardback at the beginning of the year. Now available in paperback it contains the devastating attack of ex-KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko (murdered in London) against his former spymasters.

Finally - Simon Sebag Montefiore's 'Speeches That Changed the World' hardcover book plus audio CD-ROM.

1. The Strange Death of David Kelly

Guaranteed to a be a sensational book... Norman Baker has been researching 'The Strange Death of David Kelly' for over a year, and has uncovered a mass of new material. His book looks in detail at the motives for the unlawful death of Dr Kelly and the various possibilities about who could be involved. The author also analyses and criticises the official process instigated after Dr Kelly's death, putting the entire episode into its British political context, and looking at the actions of government, particularly in relation to the Iraq war. In conclusion Norman Baker suggests: "The key question was this: why was Dr Kelly's such a strange death? Nobody would commit suicide that way, but nor can murder be explained by what was found. The only answer that makes sense is that he was murdered by other means, and then steps taken to make the death look like suicide. For reasons I give in the book, I believe he was murdered by Iraqi elements, the police were too late to stop this and a decision was taken for political reasons to alter the truth."

2. Magnificent Seven: Christmas Books from Harriman House

The Bumper Book of Government Waste 2008
Brown's Squandered Billions
by Matthew Elliott and Lee Rotherham
This new edition of the bestseller not only gives mind-numbing examples of government waste, but shows how the tax burden of every household could be cut by over four thousand pounds a year.

How to Label a Goat (Paperback)
The Silly Rules and Regulations that are Strangling Britain
by Ross Clark
Exposing the most petty and bizarre rules and regulations which are blighting the lives of Britons today.

The Little Book of Boris
by Iain Dale
A must-have for all Boris fans. Here are the very best "Boris-isms" - quotes by Boris, quotes about him together with a handy biographical reference.

The Maverick
Despatches from an Unrepentant Capitalist
by Luke Johnson
One of Britain's most successful businessmen, Johnson wrote the popular "Maverick" column in the Sunday Telegraph. This book brings together 84 articles with updates.

The Optimist's Handbook

Facts, Figures and Arguments to Silence Doom-mongers and Defeatists
by Nick Inman
Intelligently written this is the perfect antidote to human and financial misery - a great gift.

The Richest of the Rich
The Wealthiest 250 People in Britain since 1066
by Philip Beresford and William D. Rubinstein
An extraordinary collection of soldiers, inventors, aristocrats, rags-to-riches stories, and, at 250th, Bernie Ecclestone.

The Road to Southend Pier

One Man's Struggle against the Surveillance Society
by Ross Clark
Big Brother is watching us more than ever before! Ross Clark reveals the nitty gritty - on cameras, on identity cards, and the sheer volume of information that government and businesses hold on everyone in the UK.

3. My Life - Fidel Castro

In My Life - Fidel Castro - through a series of probing interviews with Ignacio Ramonet - Fidel Castro describes his life for the first time, from the 1950s all the way up to the present day. He discusses his parents, his earliest influences, the beginnings of the revolution, his relationship with Che Guevara, the Bay of Pigs, the Carter years, Cuban migration to the US. And along the way, Ramonet challenges Castro to discuss his views on a number of controversial questions, from human rights and freedom of the press to the repression of homosexuality and the survival of the death penalty, and he gives his opinion of other leaders, alive and dead, including George Bush and Tony Blair.

4. Blowing Up Russia

Vividly written and based on Litvinenko's 20 year's of insider's knowledge of Russian spy campaigns and Yuri Felshtinsky's comprehensive academic knowledge, 'Blowing up Russia' is a meticulous and gripping story how the secret organs of the Russian state are out of control and plotting a return to Russia as a state of terror. Writing about his co-author, Yuri Felshtinsky recounts how the banning of their book in Russia caused 3 related deaths.

5. Speeches That Changed the World Book/CD

This book and CD comprises Simon Sebag Montefiore's hardback book with over 50 momentous and thought-provoking speeches from a wide range of historical eras and nations. "Speeches That Changed The World" includes biographies of each speaker, the history of why each speech was significant and what happened as a result. Iconic black and white photography dramatically illustrates these key figures and moments in history. The audio CD-ROM provides genuine historical recordings of 20 of the most significant speeches of the 20th century, each introduced by acclaimed historian Simon Sebag Montefiore. This is an unusual and fascinating potted history of the twentieth century: a history of humanity, told through the speeches that shaped it.



"Safe is spelled D.U.L.L. Politics has got to be a fun activity"

- Alan Clark

Taken from Iain Dale's selection of 500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic & Erudite Things Ever Said About Politics


Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Danish elections - Anders Fogh Rasmussen wins a third term

The conservative/liberal coalition of Denmark was returned to power for a historic third term. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen saw his early-election gamble succeed, to the delight of his supporters. "This is an historic victory," he said. "Because for the first time the Liberal Party has won three elections on the trot, and is also the biggest party for a third successive parliament."

The results were:
Liberals - 46 seats , down 6
Social Democrats - 45 seats, down 2
Danish People's Party - 25 , +1
Socialist People's Party - 23 ,+12
Conservative People's Party 18, no change
Social Liberal Party - 9, -8
New Alliance - 5, +5
Red-Green Alliance - 4 , -2
Christian Democrats - 0

Further reading:

Google News
Danish Parliamentary Election 2007 on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Politico's Bookshop Bulletin: Blair Unbound

1. New: Blair Unbound by Anthony Seldon
2 The Pick of Recent Paperbacks
3. New: 'An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots In Charge)'
4. Bargains and Special Offers
5. New: 'The Optimist's Handbook'

Note from the Editor

The Blair bibliography increases by the week. The Master of Wellington College, Dr Anthony Seldon, has been particularly busy. It was only a week ago that we announced 'Blair's Britain: 1997 - 2007' which Dr Seldon edited, and now comes Blair Unbound the follow up to his earlier political biography, Blair, which was published in 2005. Blair Unbound is already creating waves (Ed Balls on The World at One used the words "fictional", has "no foundation", is "rubbish" and full of "ridiculous" allegations - so it looks like a "must-read").

A rich selection of recently published paperbacks includes Geoff Mulgan's Good and Bad Power, Margaret MacMillan's Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao, and A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900 by Andrew Roberts.

Impartiality seems hardly likely in John O'Farrell's An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots In Charge) a book his publishers describe "as entertaining as a witch burning, and a lot more laughs".

Take advantage of this week's list of very special bargains while stocks last. Included are Alastair Cambell's The Blair Years and David Strahan's The Last Oil Shock both at 45% off, and three fascinating golden oldies (rediscovered at the back of a broom cupboard) at 75% discount.

Finally an antidote to miserable headlines, miserable health, miserable weather - Nick Inman's intelligent and thought-provoking The Optimist's Handbook: Facts, Figures and Arguments to Silence Cynics, Doom-mongers and Defeatists.

Best wishes,

1. New: Blair Unbound by Anthony Seldon

The first volume of Anthony Seldon's riveting and definitive life of Tony Blair was published to great acclaim in 2004. Now, as the Labour Party and the country get used to the idea of a new leader and a new Prime Minister, Seldon delivers the most complete, authoritative and compelling account yet of the Blair premiership. Picking up the story in dramatic fashion on 11 September 2001, Seldon recaps very briefly Blair's trajectory to what may now be regarded as the high-point of his leadership, and then brings us right up to date as Blair hands over the reins to his arch-rival, Gordon Brown.

Based on hundreds of original interviews with key insiders, many of whose views have hitherto been kept private, Blair Unbound serves both as a fascinating second volume of this masterclass in political biography and a highly revealing and compelling book in its own right.

Buy Blair Unbound here and save 25%

2 The Pick of Recent Paperbacks

Good and Bad Power: The Ideals and Betrayals of Government
Geoff Mulgan's entertaining analysis of the moral imperatives that both drive and elude democracies.

A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900 by Andrew Roberts
"Magnificently provoking ... a worthy successor to Churchill's history of the same subject ... this is a work of astonishing range and depth, combining as it does a polemical flair with sure-footed scholarship" - Hywel Williams, New Statesman.

Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao by Margaret MacMillan
"She writes vividly and in detail ! This is diplomatic history at its most lively and accessible" - Sunday Telegraph.


3. New: An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots In Charge)
John O'Farrell's latest is a book about "then" that is also incisive and illuminating about "now" - a hilarious, informative and cantankerous journey through Britain's fascinating and bizarre history. Read how Anglo-Saxon liberals struggled to be positive about immigration; 'Look I think we have to try and respect the religious customs of our new Viking friends - oi, he's nicked my bloody ox!'. Discover how England's peculiar class system was established by some snobby French nobles whose posh descendants still have wine cellars and second homes in the Dordogne today. And explore the complex socio-economic reasons why Britain's kings were the first in Europe to be brought to heel; (because the Stuarts were such a useless bunch of untalented, incompetent, arrogant, upper-class thickoes that Parliament didn't have much choice).

4. Bargains and Special Offers
We have limited stocks of the following titles (some very recent, some rather old) available at special prices:

The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell's Diaries
The most compelling and revealing account of contemporary politics you will ever read. A national bestseller. Limited stocks available at 45% discount.

The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
David Strahan's disturbing book predicts a crisis far more dangerous than international terrorism, and just as urgent as climate change. Buy here in paperback and save 45%.

Chairman Blair's Little Red Book by Steve Bell and Brian Homer
A historical document now, the Little Red Book (which is blue) reads like a prophecy - most of which came true. Buy now in (very small) paperback and save 75%

Inspired and Outspoken: The Collected Speeches of Ann Widdecombe
Another history book. Read her maiden speech, her opposition to the Channel Tunnel, and her stance regarding the ordination of women. Buy now in paperback and save 75%

Major, Major by Terry Major Ball
These "Memories of an Older Brother" make for curious reading nowadays. Find out about the garden gnomes and more in this original hardback and save 75%

5. New: The Optimist's Handbook

Cheer up! Nick Inman has even included a section on political optimism in his compendious 'The Optimist's Handbook'.

This charming yet intelligent volume ranges (alphabetically) from 'Altruism' and 'Anaesthetics' to 'World Government' and' World (end of)'; via 'Economics', 'Nelson Mandela' and 'Robinson Crusoe'. It is not a slushy collection of inspiring thoughts, but a sure-fire, thinking person's antidote to the misery and general gloom of a world obsessed by economic woe and the price of petrol.

It also the perfect gift.



"I'm an optimist, but an optimist who carries a raincoat."

- Harold Wilson

Taken from Nick Inman's 'The Optimist's Handbook' (see above)