Iain Dale’s Christmas Book Recommendations 2016

  • December 05, 2016 10:00
  • Iain Dale

Given that there is only one bookshop chain left in this country, a lot of people who are interested in political books often miss out on books they would love to read if only they knew they existed. So I thought I’d give you all some ideas for some Christmas presents for friends and family alike. Here are some of the books I have enjoyed reading and publishing this year…

Remember, if you order any of them from the Biteback Publishing or Politicos you get free postage for all orders for £20 and over.

 

COALITION
DAVID LAWS
Biteback
Hardback
£25

A doorstop of a book, this is without doubt the best account of the Coalition to date. Laws clearly comes at it from a LibDem viewpoint, but the book rarely descends into a party political treatise. Written with a light touch, Laws has a style which engages the reader from page one. The book is based on his own diaries and he also had access to Nick Clegg’s. Somewhat unexpectedly, George Osborne emerges from the book with a lot of credit, but David Cameron does not. Laws is also brutal about some of his own LibDem colleagues.

BUY HERE

 

OUTSIDE INSIDE: VOLUME 5 OF THE ALASTAIR CAMPBELL DIARIES
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL
Biteback
Hardback
£25

The reviews invariably describe this as the best volume of Alastair Campbell’s Diaries so far. And they’re right. They cover the two years following his departure from Downing Street, but as the title suggests, he never really left. His accounts of the TB/GBies leave the reader open-mouthed. Campbell is nothing if not brutally honest about his own sense of lack of direction now that he is no longer in Number 10, and his battles with depression reveal a much more sensitive side to his character than we’re used to.

BUY HERE

 

KIND OF BLUE
KEN CLARKE
Macmillan
Hardback
£20

This is exactly the kind of book I hoped Ken Clarke would write. It’s authentically him, by which I mean you can tell he was written it himself by its tone. When I finished it, I almost went through a mini grieving process. Every chapter contains some gems and he even makes being a junior Transport Minister sound quite interesting. He can be devastating about some of his colleagues, but he’s never cruel. A really elegant book.

BUY HERE

 

ALL OUT WAR
TIM SHIPMAN
HarperCollins
Hardback
£20

Of all the books written about the EU Referendum this is not only the most definitive and all encompassing, it’s the best. Shipman knows all the main players and got them all to talk – and spill. His writing style keeps you interested and he’s brilliantly anecdotal without being judgemental. This book book deserves to be a bestseller and the author deserves many awards for it, not least for managing to complete it in a few months. It’s certainly not a slender tome either.

BUY HERE

 

UNLEASHING DEMONS
CRAIG OLIVER
Hodder 
Hardback
£20

This book was very unfairly traduced by a series of reviewers with many an axe to grind. It’s written from the Remain viewpoint, and very interesting it is too. It demonstrated how Downing Street was really running the Remain campaign and what a hash they made of it. Oliver is very good at identifying all the faults of the Remain campaign – and there were many – but rarely holds himself to account for any of them. Given the breakneck speed at which this book was published, it is excellent, and at times emotional. Ignore the bad reviews, it’s well worth a read.

BUY HERE

 

SPLASHED! 
TOM MANGOLD
Biteback
Paperback
£12.99

Tom Mangold is one of those gnarled old reporters who’ve seen it all. Until I read it, I had no idea that he had had a very successful career on Fleet Street before joining Panorama, where he spent several decades as a roving reporter. His tales of derring do invariably leave the reader open-mouthed and astonished. He finds himself in some right old scrapes and tells of some fascinating encounters with some right wrong ‘uns. They don’t make them like Mangold anymore, unfortunately. His chapters on the Profumo scandal (He was with Stephen Ward the night before he took his own life) and meetings with the Krays are especially memorable.

BUY HERE

 

SPEAKING OUT
ED BALLS
Hutchinson
Hardback
£20

This is one of my favourite books of the year. Anyone expecting a worthy tome of economic treatise will be sadly disappointed. What the reader gets is a very honest and forthright account of a political career which ended in ultimate failure. I say ‘honest’ because Ed Balls is incredibly honest about his own political failings and human frailties. It’s as if he came of age in his late forties. It reveals the human side of Ed Balls, which some of us always knew was there, but others only got to see on Strictly Come Dancing. I love the way he writes the book as a series of lessons for aspirant politicians.

BUY HERE

 

PRIME MINISTER CORBYN & OTHER THINGS THAT NEVERHAPPENED 
DUNCAN BRACK & IAIN DALE
Biteback 
Hardback
£14.99

This is a book of 22 political and historical counterfactuals. Forgive the indulgence of including it in this list, since I am the co-editor. It’s the fourth in the series and contains Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Britain had lost the Falklands War, or Scotland had voted ‘Yes’ in 2014 or if German reunification had never happened, or if the Conservatives had won an overall majority in 2010, or if Lyndon Johnson had been shot down in 1942, or if David Miliband had beaten Ed Miliband to the Labour leadership. Then this is the book you’ve always wanted!

BUY HERE

 

THE BAD BOYS OF BREXIT
ARRON BANKS
Biteback
Hardback
£18.99

The so-called Bad Boys are Arron Banks himself, his comms manager Andy Wigmore, Leave.eu donor Richard Tice and of course, Nigel Farage. This is partisan politics at its best – four naughty boys try to usurp the political establishment – and it’s great fun. It has many laugh out loud moments as the bad boys try to create havoc in the political media and launch a campaign to win the referendum. Banks takes great pleasure in insulting his opponents and colleagues alike, and very few characters in this book escape with their reputations intact.

BUY HERE

 

POWER & PRAGMATISM
MALCOLM RIFKIND
Biteback
Hardback
£25

Possibly not the most alluring book title of any memoir I have ever published, but this is a very elegantly written book, just as you would expect from someone with Rifkind’s background. His early life is just as fascinating as his accounts of battles with Margaret Thatcher. In both the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence, during some of the most turbulent years of the late twentieth century, he had a ringside seat at Margaret Thatcher’s historic summit with President Gorbachev, was in charge of British troops during the Bosnian conflict, helped change Polish history during the Cold War, and held secret negotiations on the Falklands with the Argentinians. For his robustness against the Kremlin’s aggression in Ukraine, he is currently banned from Russia by President Putin.

BUY HERE

 

CREDIBLE & TRUE
HARVEY PROCTOR
Biteback
Hardback
£25

Bookshops wouldn’t stock it, there were very few reviews, but for me this was one of the best books I published in 2017. It’s certainly not a conventional memoir, but it’s written straight from the heart and it puts into question many aspects of a criminal justice system we all take for granted. However, it’s not all about the events of the last couple of years, it’s a complete autobiography and a bloody good read. He’s very open about his homosexuality and how he came to be convicted in 1987 of having sex with a 19 year old, something which of course wouldn’t an offence nowadays.

BUY HERE

 

THE BREXIT CLUB
Owen Bennett
Biteback
Paperback
£12.99

Written by one of the brightest young, up and coming political journalists of our age, Owen Bennett has written the inside story of Leave’s victory. As D-Day drew near,Bennett went deep into Leave territory to reveal the inside story of the battle for Brexit. Behind a campaign promising hope and glory – but seemingly mired in blood, sweat and tears – Bennett discovered a plethora of Leave groups, all riven with feuds: the Tory ‘posh boys’ against the ‘toxic’ hardliners; UKIP’s only MP against the rest of the party; Michael Gove’s former lieutenant Dominic Cummings against almost everyone else. Charting the crusade from the massing of the UKIP foot soldiers after the general election to the arrival of the Cabinet cavalry after Cameron’s Brussels deal and the dramatic final weeks’ fighting on battle buses, The Brexit Club reveals the truth behind the campaign that divided friends, families and, ultimately, the country.

BUY HERE

 

WE ARE ARRESTED
CAN DUNDAR
Biteback
Hardback
£16.99

Following the dramatic events of July 2016, the global spotlight has fallen on Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. International observers fear the attempted coup has given Erdogan, already known for his attacks on press freedom, an excuse to further suppress all opposition. In November 2015, Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of the national Cumhuriyet newspaper, was arrested on charges of espionage, helping a terrorist organisation, trying to topple the government and revealing state secrets. His transgression? Publishing photographic evidence of a highly illegal covert arms shipment by the Turkish secret service to radical Islamist organisations fighting government forces in Syria – a crime that was in the government’s interest to conceal, and a journalist’s duty to expose. Arraigned by the President himself, who called for Dündar to receive two life sentences, he was held in solitary confinement in Turkey’s Silivri Prison for three months while awaiting trial. We Are Arrested is Dündar’s enthralling account of the newspaper’s decision to publish and the events that unfolded as a result – including would-be suicide bombings, assassination attempts and fierce attacks from pro-government media – as well as the time he served behind bars for defending the public’s right to know.

BUY HERE

 

VICTORIA CROSS HEROES II
MICHAEL ASHCROFT
Biteback
Hardback
£25

The Victoria Cross is Britain and the Commonwealth’s most prestigious gallantry medal for courage in the face of the enemy. It has been bestowed upon 1,355 heroic individuals from all walks of life since its creation during the Crimean War. Lord Ashcroft, who has been fascinated with bravery since he was a young boy, now owns 200 VCs, by far the largest collection of its kind in the world. Following on from the bestselling Victoria Cross Heroes, first published in 2006 to mark the 150th anniversary of the award, Victoria Cross Heroes: Volume II gives extraordinary accounts of the bravery behind the newest additions to Lord Ashcroft’s VC collection – those decorations purchased in the last decade.

BUY HERE

 

THE CABINET OFFICE 1916-2016
ANTHONY SELDON
Biteback
Hardback
£25

Since its creation in the depths of the Great War in December 1916, the Cabinet Office has retained a uniquely central place in the ever-changing political landscape of the last century. While the revolving door of 10 Downing Street admits and ejects its inhabitants every few years, the Cabinet Office remains a constant, supporting and guiding successive Prime Ministers and their governments, regardless of their political leanings, all the while keeping the British state safe, stable and secure. Written with unparalleled access to documents and personnel by acclaimed political historian, commentator and biographer Anthony Seldon, this lavishly illustrated history is the definitive inside account of what has really gone on in the last 100 years of British politics.

BUY HERE

 

FORMAN’S GAMES
LANCE FORMAN
Biteback
Hardback 
£20

A full, unexpurgated account of his fight to keep the firm alive, Forman’s Games lifts the lid on the fierce battle that pitched Forman’s, the country’s finest purveyor of smoked salmon, against the combined might of the UK authorities and the IOCin the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics. It is a story of skulduggery and bullying mounted against 350 local businesses, employing over 12,00 people, who stood in the way not just of the world’s most famous sporting event, but of an opportunity to develop the land on which they had successfully run businesses over decades.

BUY HERE

 

STOCKING FILLERS

THE MARGARET THATCHER COLOURING BOOK
NATHAN BRENVILLE
Biteback
Paperback
£8.99

For anyone who’s ever wanted to express their feelings for Lady Thatcher through the medium of colouring in… You know you want to. An ideal stocking filler for the discerning Corbynista. Bound to get Christmas Day off with a bang… At long last, The Margaret Thatcher Colouring Book offers our proud do-it-yourself nation the chance to decorate the Iron Lady in the technicolour magnificence she deserves. Featuring a cast of luminaries including Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan, General Pinochet and Jeremy Corbyn, this brief, beautiful and completely inaccurate illustrated biography of Britain’s first female Prime Minister promises hours of creative gratification.

BUY HERE

 

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE
MAUREEN LIPMAN
The Robson Press
Hardback
£9.99

Have you ever wondered what the wizarding world might look like if it were graced with a character like Harry Otter? Or what American politics would be under the administration of Squirrelly Clinton? Maureen Lipman has. Inspired by her doodle of Oscar Wildebeest – a steer in a dinner jacket – the renowned author and actress began dabbling in the dark art of the unholy celebrity/animal mashup. When she woke at 3 a.m. and said out loud, ‘Tuna Stubbs!’, the die was cast. A book was born. lt’s a Jungle Out There presents a dizzying array of stars as you’ve – really – never seen them before. Featuring such luminaries as Leonaardvark DiCaprio, Giraffa Nadal and Ellafantz Gerald, this otterly brilliant collection is guaranteed to quack you up.

BUY HERE

 

MORE SEX, LIES & THE BALLOT BOX
PHILIP COWLEY & ROBERT FORD
Biteback
Paperback
£14.99

Have you ever wondered how people feel about sleeping with the political enemy? Or whether gambling markets are best at predicting political outcomes? Or who Santa Claus would vote for? Then look no further. More Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box brings us another collection of concise chapters penned by leading political experts and delving into the fascinating field of electoral politics. Following on from the success of its bestselling predecessor, this illuminating book shines a light on how we vote in Britain and around the world. You’ll learn about the shifting landscape of party politics and the perceptions and misconceptions that shape our opinions of our politicians and of each other. You’ll learn about the factors informing voter habits – from class, race and gender to the internet and the weather. You’ll also learn which political party has the most sexually satisfied supporters.

BUY HERE

 

LITTLE RED BOOK OF CORBYN JOKES
JASON SINCLAIR & JOHN RAIN
Biteback
Paperback
£6.99

Whichever side of the Labour Party you’re on, you could probably use a good laugh right now… So rejoice, comrades, for we have the solution. Packed with devastating wit, this priceless compendium has all the finest jokes, scenes and anecdotes to see you through a long, hard political winter. The Little Red Book of Corbyn Jokes – putting the ‘ha’ into the hard left. Boom boom. A socialist lion walked into a bar. The barman said, ‘What’s the big Clause Four?’

BUY HERE

 

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Nigel Farage Book Bundle

  • November 15, 2016 15:00
  • Biteback Publishing

Save 40% when you buy 5 Nigel Farage books together!

Get The Bad Boys of Brexit, The Purple Revolution, Flying FreeFollowing Farage and Nigel Farage In His Own Words, all for £58.95 £35 here.

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Job Vacancy – Editorial Assistant

  • November 15, 2016 14:00
  • Olivia Beattie

Editorial Assistant (Biteback Publishing)

Biteback Publishing have an excellent opportunity for an enthusiastic, efficient editorial assistant to join a small, busy team publishing political and current affairs titles.

The position will involve assisting the editorial staff at all stages of the book production process. Key tasks will include editorial clean-up of manuscripts, line-editing, fact-checking, proofreading, taking in proof corrections using Adobe InDesign, writing blurbs, undertaking picture research.

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate the following skills: first-rate proofreading and knowledge of the BSI proofreading marks, advanced knowledge of Microsoft Word, excellent attention to detail, the ability to work under pressure and to deadlines, and a good knowledge of current affairs. He or she must have experience within and knowledge of book publishing. Familiarity with Adobe InDesign software will be an advantage.

For a more experienced candidate, this role could be Assistant Editor.

How to apply: CV and covering letter to Olivia Beattie olivia.beattie@bitebackpublishing.com

Location: London

Closing date: 30 November 2016

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Imprisoned in India

  • November 15, 2016 09:00
  • James Tooley

On her visit to India, Theresa May raised the case of the six British ex-servicemen stuck in India for three years, transparently innocent of any crime. The six were employed on an anti-piracy ship when it was summoned, for reasons unclear, from international waters into an Indian port in October 2013. They’ve been arrested, imprisoned, and had their case dismissed by the High Court. Curiously a lower court then convicted them on spurious charges, sentencing them each to five years’ imprisonment.  The charge, of possessing illegal firearms, is without foundation: their weapons carried a British export license for anti-piracy purposes, confirmed in a letter to The Times (23 September 2016), signed by, amongst others, Sir Vince Cable, the responsible Secretary of State. 

Mrs May and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said that they hoped their two governments could reconsider their case once an appeal was over. A foreign office spokesman added: “We cannot interfere with India’s independent legal system”.

Prima facie, this may seem proper. But what if the legal system is rife with corruption, extortion and wrongful imprisonment? To understand the ex-servicemen’s plight one should shake off any notion that the Indian system has much to do with justice, as I found out.

It was at 1 am that a senior police inspector arrested me at my hotel in Hyderabad, where I was making a film about improving education in the slums. Making baseless allegations, she threw me in jail. I was stuck in India for four months, first in prison then released on bail but subjected to tortuous interrogations and police harassment.  My situation was nothing compared to the plight of the servicemen, and also to the thousands of Indians I realised were suffering the same fate. But I was able to see a little of what they’re up against.

An Indian prison is not a pretty place. There’s no furniture, you sleep on the bare concrete floor, lying side by side with your fellows, mosquitos everywhere. A hole in the ground is the lavatory. There’s a communal tap. Twice a day you stand in line, as one prisoner with his bare hand chucks a wodge of rice from a dirty metal basin onto your plate, while his partner slops a cupful of thin gruel on to your rice.

The jailors are brutal. They beat several of us new arrivals for not properly announcing what we were in prison for, as if we knew. One took pleasure in getting guards to beat other prisoners in front of me: an old man beaten by a triangle of guards taking turns around him; a young man beaten between his legs, for the “crime” of chewing gum. The jailors revelled in their power and our helplessness.

Meanwhile, the prison superintendent was ready to offer more lenient treatment if your family could pay a bribe, further marginalising the poor.

Take someone like Arjun, a cycle rickshaw puller, his vehicle impounded because he could not afford the bribe to renew his licence.  He had been in prison for three years, not charged with anything. He was not alone. Sixty-five percent of Indian prisoners are ‘undertrials’, many for several years, awaiting trial or commonly, as in the case of Arjun, awaiting charge, imprisoned while “under investigation”, their families too poor to furnish bail.

The Supreme Court of India appears powerless against this astounding affront to human rights. Exceptionally, it did intervene in the case of someone imprisoned without trial for more than twelve years. Its judgement read: ‘The laxity with which we throw citizens into prison reflects our lack of appreciation for the tribulation of incarceration; the callousness with which we leave them there reflects our lack of deference for humanity.’

One wonders what Gandhi would have thought of it all. He invoked the principles of Magna Carta – that justice delayed is justice denied and that no one can be held in prison without trial – as he led the struggle against the British.  He would surely be incensed by the scandalous suspension of these principles in modern-day India.

For foreigners, once out of prison, the struggle is far from over. The police have your passport, so detain you at their pleasure. Tactics they use to break you down include isolating you from any human contact, and sending in armed stooges to procure the bribe. In my case, it was £15,000 the policewoman was after, enough to repay the bribe she herself had paid in order to gain her senior police position.

At this point, one might reasonably ask what the British government can do for you. Out of prison, I had phoned the High Commission, who made clear my situation was not uncommon. Drawing a firm distinction between mental and physical abuse, they said only if I was in physical danger should I re-contact them.

When I did, fearful for my life as the police piled on pressure, the woman I spoke to was a most sympathetic counsellor. The police were only trying to frighten me, she said. After our call ended, she emailed, telling me she had informed the Crown Prosecution Service, as ‘if you pay the bribe, under UK law you may be prosecuted in the UK.’  Far from securing ‘assistance and protection’, instead she warned me that there would be someone to feel my collar back home, should I cave in to extortion.

When I was stuck in India, telling anyone who would listen about my case, almost without exception everyone responded with a similar story about police corruption. This tallies with recent surveys from Transparency International, where 88 per cent of respondents reported the police were corrupt.  I don’t think anyone I spoke to then would believe that due process is being followed in the case of the British ex-servicemen. I’m sure they would say that their families and the British government are playing by rules different to those of the Indian police. It’s my judgement too.

This is what the six ex-servicemen are up against. There should be no pretence that due process is being followed. If it cannot do anything positive, at least the British government owes it to these men to admit it.

James Tooley is professor of education at Newcastle University. His book Imprisoned in India: Corruption and extortion in the world’s largest democracy, is out now.

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Biteback Publishing To Publish How To Lose A Referendum: The Definitive Guide To Brexit By Jason Farrell And Paul Goldsmith

  • November 03, 2016 10:00
  • Biteback Publishing

Iain Dale, MD of Biteback Publishing, has acquired world rights to How to Lose a Referendum: The Definitive Guide to Brexit by Sky News senior political correspondent Jason Farrell and politics teacher and blogger Paul Goldsmith.

In this definitive story of the most controversial referendum result in modern British history, Farrell and Goldsmith explore the decisions that led to Britain’s departure, from the creation of the EU after the Second World War to David Cameron’s renegotiation in 2016. They provide in-depth historical context to the decision, analyse campaign strategy through interviews with key players, and identify the key reasons why the UK made its choice, probing the social fabric of the UK, the psyche of the electorate and the set of political circumstances that worked against the Remain camp.

Iain Dale said: ‘How to Lose a Referendum provides unprecedented historical context to the Brexit result. I am delighted to be publishing Jason Farrell and Paul Goldsmith’s brilliant explanation of this defining moment in our political history.’

Jason Farrell said: ‘I just remember the adrenalin – and it coursed through the whole of Westminster – when the result hit us like a train. Brexit was the biggest political story of my life – and there I was trying to make sense of it immediately, for a sunrise report on Sky News by 6 a.m. What on earth just happened? And I knew the only way to answer that question was to write a book.’

Paul Goldsmith said: ‘As a teacher I had been examining the history of the EU to discuss it with my pupils and I’d concluded the referendum was lost the moment it was called. Jason thought it was lost during the campaign. We argued and both threatened to write books about it. Then it dawned on us: why not argue the toss in a book together? Both of us think the referendum was lost, rather than won. The question is: how did it happen?’

How to Lose a Referendum will be published in June 2017 to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Brexit vote and will be supported by a major press campaign.

Jason Farrell is a senior political correspondent for Sky News. He has twice been shortlisted for the Royal Television Society’s Specialist Journalist of the Year Award. He travelled with David Cameron to European summits during his pre-referendum renegotiations, followed Boris Johnson on his campaign trail through the UK and was at the Leave.EU event with Nigel Farage on the night of the referendum.

Paul Goldsmith is a politics and economics teacher at Latymer Upper School in west London and a political blogger. His election blog, www.pjgoldsmith.com, was been read by over 100,000 people, including leading journalists from the BBC, ITN and Sky News who were covering the campaign.

For more information please contact isabelle.ralphs@bitebackpublishing.com or call 020 7091 1260

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