Cover 9781849545723

Discreet, inconspicuous, prudent… The perfect prime-ministerial aide is always in the background, a low-profile figure unknown outside the Westminster bubble. Unfortunately, reality often falls short of the ideal; for as long as the office of Prime Minister has existed, its occupants have been supported by a range of colourful individuals who have garnered public interest, controversy and criticism. At Power’s Elbow tells their story for the first time, uncovering the truth behind three centuries’ worth of prime ministers and their aides. Its subjects range from the early media-managers and election-fixers of Sir Robert Walpole, to the teams supporting the wartime premierships of David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, to the semi-official ‘Department of the Prime Minister’ established under Tony Blair. Along the way, Andrew Blick and George Jones demonstrate how these essential advisers can be a source of both solace and strife to their chiefs, solving and causing problems in almost equal measure. Above all, they reveal how a Prime Minister’s approach to his staff can define his premiership, for better or for worse.


There are no more effective shiners of flashlights to hidden back rooms than Blick and Jones...

Lord Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary, University of London

It is a major work, impressive in its scope and the depth of its analysis and understanding. Nothing will replace it.

Lord Donoughue, senior policy adviser to Harold Wilson and James Callaghan

[E]nlightening and impressive in its breadth and scope... The story of prime ministerial aides raise lots of questions, some of which Blick and Jones consciously seek to explore, some which are left hanging...The book greatly benefits from the considerable period over which the authors have been studying this topic...As such, the book provides a good overview of many of the most interesting or most prominent aides...any aspiring prime ministerial aide could do worse than read this book.

Catherine Haddon, LSE Review of Books

An extraordinarily well-researched and at times very readable chronicle of the people who have stood at the elbow of prime ministers since Walpole...

Bobby Friedman, The Spectator

As the authors of this excellent book demonstrate, from what we know of our first real prime minister…all PMs have had an array of advisers.

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  • eBook
  • ISBN: 9781849546409
  • 15 August 2013
  • £17.99

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