10 Downing Street: "No one ever knew what was going on"

  • November 22, 2010 16:58
  • Katy Scholes

It’s always pleasant to be spending a care-free Saturday morning in your girlfriend’s kitchen with coffee and sugary porridge. It’s even better when you remember that on the next page of the newspaper you are casually flicking through is the first part of the serialisation of Anthony Seldon and Guy Lodge’s new book about Gordon Brown’s turbulent time at Number 10 Downing Street.

Due for publication this Thursday, Brown At 10 tells the compelling story of Brown’s three years in power, recounting the tumultuous times and ending with the demise of the New Labour project. Featuring fascinating and previously unpublished material, Seldon and Lodge’s book is the definitive chronicle of a remarkable era of troubled politics.

“‘A real weakness of Gordon’s was that he took advice from a ring of advisers which often cut across what we were doing in No 10 and created confusion,’ says a senior aide. ‘It was a total nightmare, as no one ever knew what was going on.’”

The serialisation of Brown At 10 continues today in the Daily Mail with a section about Brown’s temperament and, through the unique accounts from many of those in the centre of government at the time, how this manifested itself in various moments throughout his premiership, including one striking moment at the G20 summit.

“To the surprise of Obama and his entourage, the British premier was doing a passable impression of an erupting volcano... It was hardly the behaviour anyone would expect of a G20 summit host, and the American President watched with growing disbelief. As Brown’s aides drew near, he told one of them tersely: ‘Tell your guy to cool it.’”

Order your copy of Brown at 10 here for £20.


David Laws makes the case for social recovery

  • November 22, 2010 13:55
  • Katy Scholes

David Laws has today written an article for the Daily Telegraph which sets out his vision for the coalition government in balancing economic austerity with social recovery.

In the article, Laws calls for the coalition to avoid being pinned as a government of cuts, and states that while social recovery is a greater challenge in the current environment – it is no less important.

“Liberals in both Coalition parties cannot tolerate a Britain in which life chances are still so determined by parental income. Britain increasingly prides itself on being a meritocracy, but – as in the US – we remain a meritocracy where the chances of acquiring merit are hopelessly unequal.”

In the piece, entitled "The coalition must aim higher than merely balancing the books"; David uses his experience at the heart of the coalition government to warn of the potential long-term damages that could come from neglecting public services.

David Laws was a key architect of the coalition government, the formation of which he recounts in brilliant and fascinating detail his new book 22 Days in May – out today in paperback and e-book format priced £9.99 and £4.60, respectively.

Of the book, David Laws said today:

“The formation of the Coalition was an important moment in British politics, and I want to help ensure that an accurate and complete account of this is set down, before memories fade, myths grow and evidence is lost.”


Your coalition book Kindle editions are here!

  • November 18, 2010 10:45
  • Katy Scholes

Biteback is proud to announce, after much fanfare, the arrival of both 22 Days in May by David Laws and 5 Days to Power by Rob Wilson to pre-order as Kindle e-books! They're priced on www.amazon.co.uk at £4.60.

The publication date of the e-books is 22 Nov, although Rob Wilson's 5 Days to Power is available now in paperback, priced £9.99.

5 Days to Power gives the first full account of the negotiations that led to the political earthquake of a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government.

22 Days in May is the first detailed insider account of the negotiations which led to the formation of the Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition government in May 2010, along with an essential description of the early days of the government.


We Ate All The [Mince] Pies

  • November 17, 2010 12:31
  • Katy Scholes

For most in London, the commute into work is a mixed bag of good and bad moments. The brilliance of having half an hour to read your book, getting a bit of a walk with some fresh air to help you wake up and the finding of a lost classic on your iPod can be undermined by overcrowded trains that make reading significantly less relaxing, torrential rain or the freezing cold and an iPod that runs out of battery the moment you leave the house. Today, rather unusually, it was getting both a free yakult and small cup of Starbucks gingerbread latte, the surprise and joy of which was spoilt by spilling the latte on my book, part of an effort to put on my scarf without upsetting my iPod headphones as I walked to the Biteback offices.

(Is my day that tragically fragile that a free yakult can sway the whole thing? Who cares, I got the yakult! It’s going to be a good day.)

The real tragedy is that, what with having put a gingerbready stain across many of the pages of John Nicholson’s We Ate All The Pies: How Football swallowed Britain whole, I can now no longer give it to my Dad for Christmas. Before the attack of the latte, giving the book as a present would have meant ignoring a few key factors; namely, a couple of torn and otherwise marked pages, as well as the fact that you shouldn’t really give presents that people know you got for free at work. But, the way I see it, if it’s the perfect selection for that person, then surely it’s about that person’s enjoyment of the ear-marked, dirty, stained and generally grubby book that counts.


We Ate All The Pies is John Nicholson’s personal account of the evolution of football over the past 40 years, perfectly capturing the history and reasoning behind the English public’s fascination with the sport by looking at all aspects of the footballing culture, from food, to booze, to TV, to merchandise, and even stretching as far as issues of national identity and regional dialect. However, as much as I love this book, and tend to laugh quite loudly on the train whilst reading it I realised last week that I am actually reading my Dad’s favourite book.

For anyone who grew up in the 1970s and 80s, who has seen the progression from Shoot magazine to football365.com, and from Sportsnight with Coleman to the cinematic trailers for Premiership clashes on Sky TV, this is the perfect book. We Ate All The Pies tells a brilliant story of the nation’s love of football from a man who has had every reason to hate the sport, being a Middlesbrough fan.

It’s disappointing that my Dad, who is also a Middlesbrough fan (I know, the coincidence is creepy), would like this book more than me, but I have enjoyed it so much that I don’t think my read on the train has been tainted too much.

For the ideal Dad Gift this Christmas, click here to buy John Nicholson’s book for £9.99. I’m going to, as that was my only free copy.


The 2010 intake of new MPs are IMMORTAL says ConHome

  • November 16, 2010 12:05
  • Katy Scholes

The Class of 2010: A biographical guide to the first-time MPs elected at the 2010 General Election provides key - and some not-so-key - information on the 232 new Members of Parliament as Conservative Home pointed out in a review of the book yesterday.

It includes pictures, biographical material vetted by each of the candidates themselves, contact information and 'ten questions'.

"it's a book which ought to be on the reference shelf on any self-respecting politico" ConHome's Jonathan Isaby said.

Buy your guide to the new intake and find out which of our new MPs is a fully trained pyrotechnician... here.