Just to clarify...

  • November 08, 2010 13:04
  • Katy Scholes

In this morning's Guardian, Julian Glover writes...

In the endpiece to his forthcoming book, the Lib Dem MP David Laws will call for the coalition's ambitions to span a decade in power. That is tantamount to saying that some sort of election deal must be done, and the closest any Lib Dem parliamentarian has come to echoing the backing of the Tory MP Nick Boles for the same thing.

I don't know where this has come from, but as the publisher of the book, I can categorically state that David Laws says no such thing, either in the endpiece, or elsewhere in the book.

David's book, 22 DAYS IN MAY will be published on 22 November and will be serialised this weekend. You can preorder it HERE.

Rob Wilson's book 5 DAYS TO POWER is also out on 22 November and can be preordered HERE.


Just to make it clear, we didn't pay them

  • November 05, 2010 16:36
  • Katy Scholes

Outside it is rainy, grey and ‘mild’, the latter of which isn’t actually that bad for this time of year so we can’t complain. Although we have no need for complaint anyway, because the sun is shining in the Biteback offices. Last night’s Newsnight was our night.

This week’s keyword has undoubtedly been ‘strike’, touching the lips of anyone who is part of, has been affected by, or has an opinion of the tube, fire department or NUJ strikes, which is probably a fair few people (it’s a fair few things to try and fit into a sentence). After the fire fighters decided not to strike on bonfire night, Newsnight ran a feature about how union action has changed since the 1980s and the famous ‘winter of discontent’.


Walking into a party and knowing everyone in the room is a myth none of the Biteback team subscribe to (making us sound really popular, I know), but last night it actually happened. The report was made by our mate Nicholas Jones, with whom we recently published Campaign 2010: The making of the Prime Minister, an account of the countdown to the coalition by one of Westminster’s most seasoned observers.

Then the big cheese himself, Iain Dale, was interviewed in his office (which, if you could tear your eyes away from the impressive view out the window, was shamefully messy... shame) about the big important topic and highlighting the differences in attitudes between the 1980s and now. I don’t think you’re allowed to call the boss “mate”, but we still know him, so it still counts.

And then David Seymour, author of the rather brilliant Why Join A Trade Union?, was being interviewed about his expertise on the topic. Being an expert he, obviously, gave a rather expert judgement on modern thinking regarding trade unions and comparing the present-day actions to those of earlier times.

And now, Newsnight is our mate.

Jeremy Paxman got the name of our book wrong though, so, even though we don’t know him, we’ll retain our perceived popularity by not inviting him to our next party.

David Seymour’s topical Why Join A Trade Union? is available now for £7.99
And Nicholas Jones’ Campaign 2010 is available now for £9.99


This time the gully's a foxhole, but usually it's a latrine

  • November 04, 2010 10:00
  • Katy Scholes

The foreword to Paul Moorcraft’s Inside The Danger Zones: Travels to Arresting Places sees the author trying to explain exactly why he decided to write a book about his adventures as a freelance war correspondent.

Based on the following extract from the book’s opening section, we don’t think it was to attract a female following the likes of which would make Edward Cullen run and hide:

“The helicopters dropped altitude and hovered just above us. A guerrilla opened up with a Dasheka anti-aircraft gun. If by some miracle the Hinds hadn’t seen us before, they could hardly ignore us now.

Pointlessly, I shouted ‘shut up’.

He was only sixty yards away but he couldn’t have heard me above the gunfire, even if he had spoken any English. In vain, I ransacked my severely limited Pushtu vocabulary for a translation.

The MiGs blasted away. As they came out of their bombing runs they sometimes shot out anti-heat-seeking missile flares, which left a mosaic of cloud patterns against the deep blue sky. Chris was cursing like a banshee. Action all around, and from our gully we could not film properly.

‘Bend over,’ he shouted.


‘Is this some last perverted wish, Chris?’ I asked, with more bravado in my voice than I felt.
‘No, you fool, I haven’t got the tripod. Bend over and kiss your arse goodbye.’
‘You forget the tripod, I have my face full of crap and my backside napalmed. Great holiday.’
Chris laughed. ‘If it was easy everybody would be doing it.’

I bent over, nose into the shit, and Chris put the camera vertically on my back to film the gunships right above us. What a way to go, I thought, acting the human tripod as we filmed – in full colour – our own demise.”

The Horrors of War.

Paul later states that, before leaving on his various foreign excursions (all of which are equally, shall we say, memorable), he had “wanted to experience war”. That’s great Paul. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go and experience a prawn mayo sandwich, or something that doesn’t require us to brush our teeth twenty-eight times afterwards.

Might still need to do it twice after the prawns, though.

Inside The Danger Zone: Travels to Arresting Places is published today and you can find it here for £9.99. Any book sales go towards buying Paul a new toothbrush.


Only now has Michael Smith achieved his dream...

  • November 03, 2010 15:01
  • Katy Scholes

I know that Michael Smith isn't one to brag. But he's a pretty accomplished fellow.

Michael Smith has written a bestseller or two. But who cares, right?

Michael Smith is an award-winning journalist, former army intelligence officer and defence correspondent for the Sunday Times - as could I be! If I had any, I don't know... talent. And perhaps some balls of steel. Easy really.

He's done other stuff too!

But November 2011 is the month that dreams are made of. For it is only now that Michael Smith has written and had an article published by ultimate lads-mag FHM.

SIX, Smith's latest book boasts the volume title Murder and Mayhem 1909 - 1939 and it doesn't disappoint. He's done his research and uncovered some remarkable stories. Serial killers, disembowlment, prostitutes, walking sticks that double-up as swords - not to mention the Mad Monk's crushed nuts! Needless-to-say FHM loved it.


They went with this quote from Mick's piece to illustrate the article:

"I ran the blade through the gentleman's side. He screamed and collapsed."

Call me sensational, but this sounds more like what nightmares are made of.

All the same, we at Biteback would like to congratulate Michael Smith on now, and only now, being truly accomplished.

Buy your copy of SIX now in hardback for £19.99


Is this the political commentator's equivalent of a Putin pose?

  • November 03, 2010 10:13
  • Katy Scholes

Yesterday we were visited by the authors of Why Join a Trade Union? Jo Phillips and David Seymour here on high at Biteback towers.

Jo - in classic journo fashion - was on hand with a camera to snap this up.

Big Cheese and his big view.