• July 14, 2010 12:25
  • Katy Scholes


In the run-up to the general election of May 2010 it was universally acknowledged that whatever the outcome, this was a vote which would start a fresh chapter in British political history, one to rival 1945, 1979 and 1997. But no one anticipated just how fresh that chapter would be. Twists and turns made it an election like no other.

Nick Clegg went into the first of the leaders’ television debates derided as ‘The Other One’ – and emerged as a major player, with ‘I agree with Nick’ the campaign’s unlikely catchphrase. Mrs Gillian Duffy went out to buy a loaf of bread in Rochdale – and happened to encounter Gordon Brown, with disastrous consequences for the Labour cause. David Cameron launched the Tories’ poster campaign with a blemish-free photograph of himself – and graffiti artists turned it into the most mocked image of the election.

But none of the soap opera of the weeks leading up to 6th May could match the drama of the days following the election’s inconclusive result: the positioning, the posturing, the negotiating and the bargaining which eventually saw David Cameron moving into 10 Downing Street as prime minister in a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

Political theatre had been brought to a fresh level – so who better to provide a chronicle of this riveting electoral saga than Nicholas Jones, who as BBC industrial and then political correspondent covered general elections for over thirty years?

To order your copy click here


Nicholas Jones and Campaign 2010: The Making of the Prime Minister, at Gants Hill Library

  • July 14, 2010 10:02
  • Katy Scholes

Former BBC political correspondent, Nicholas Jones, will be discussing his new book, Campaign 2010: The Making of the Prime Minister at Gants Hill Library, on the evening of Tuesday 20th July, from 7.30pm.

The venue is Gants Hill, 490 Cranbrook Road, IG2 6LA. Nick's talk will be followed by a Q&A, and copies of the book will be on sale on the night. Entry is £2.50. Book ahead on 02087089206.


Author Richard Cullen discusses his experiences writing Rasputin...

  • July 12, 2010 11:03
  • Katy Scholes

To me the most exciting part of researching and writing this book was analysing the witness statements from the Russian State Archives (GARF). Previously, authors had not in any meaningful way examined or analysed these statements. The statements of the two police officers who were on duty close to the Yusupov Palace on the night of the murder are particularly revealing. In fact, one of the officers in his statement destroys much of what Yusupov and Purishkevich, two of the main players, say about the murder. Understanding who was where and when on that fateful night and then linking this to the times that various events were meant to have occurred proves the conspiracy to pervert the course of justice committed by Yusupov and Purishkevich.

The forensics are fascinating and challenging but once you accept, which cannot now be denied by anyone, that Rasputin was shot through the forehead at contact range by a large calibre weapon, you start to see that the previous accepted version was just a tissue of lies. Of particular importance to re-investigating the case are such important details as whether it was snowing or not, whether the River Nevka was tidal and the length of the day in St Petersburg on the date of the murder. These past overlooked details were obtained easily from various organisations.

The way the book has been received by many shows that this is a ‘cold case’ review of what previously had been a grave miscarriage of the Russian justice system. As for the British SIS involvement the evidence is all there in the book including the damning Captain Alley/Major Scale ‘Dark Forces’ letter.

Richard Cullen.

Rasputin: The role of the British Secret Service in his torture and murder is out now and available to buy here.


Rasputin: The role of the British Secret Service in his torture and murder - OUT NOW

  • July 09, 2010 15:47
  • Katy Scholes

9781906447076The murder of Grigori Rasputin, mystic, healer and advisor to the Tsar and Tsaritsa, Nicholas and Alexandra, remains one of the most intriguing crimes of the last century. Rasputin was lured to the St Petersburg palace of Prince Felix Yusupov, son of the richest man in Russia, where he was allegedly poisoned by a group of leading Russian nobles, including Yusupov and the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich. Legend has it that when Rasputin survived the poisoning, and was therefore shot a number of times before being thrown alive into the freezing Neva River.

The official truth behind the killing is that Rasputin was murdered to remove his influence over the Tsaritsa. However, in 2004 former Metropolitan Police Commander Richard Cullen helped reveal to the world that British secret services were involved in the plot to kill Rasputin, with a young British secret service officer called Oswald Rayner even firing the fatal shot. He has uncovered a story of sexual tensions, torture and murder in which MI6 was up to its neck.

An historical whodunnit, Cullen, together with forensic scientists, uses witness testimonies, contemporary police and official reports, clothing and photographs, and forensically examines the crime scene itself to uncover the truth. In this extraordinary book, an experienced former Scotland Yard detective rips apart the myths surrounding one of the most fascinating murder cases in history and proves the involvement of British spooks in the protracted torture and murder of one of the major figures of the twentieth century.

To buy Rasputin..., click here.


Thanks Dave! Cameron quotes from Deborah Mattinson's new book, Talking To A Brick Wall, on PMQs

  • July 07, 2010 15:58
  • Katy Scholes

TTBW - Cameron PMQs

David Cameron, pictured here clutching a copy of Deborah Mattinson's Talking To A Brick Wall, attempted to quote from it in PMQs, this afternoon, before being rudely interrupted by the Speaker, John Bercow, who cut him off with:"We won't bother with that." Cameron, who was trying to make a point about Labour spin, protested he was "only trying to boost sales" of the book, which was published last week. Thanks Dave! Deborah, who spoke in front of a capacity audience of journalists, politicos and punters at her book launch at the RSA yesterday evening, recently had her book serialised in the Sunday Times. The staff of Blackwells selling books at the event quickly sold out of stock.

Deborah Mattinson had a unique perspective on the New Labour project. As Britain’s leading political pollster, she has been monitoring public opinion since the mid-1980s, and helped transform Labour into Europe’s greatest election-winning machine of the modern era. Most recently as chief pollster to Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, she has been on the frontline of electoral politics, consistently representing the voter’s side of the story to the politicans. Sometimes, she has encountered scepticism - a belligerent John Smith made an unappreciative witness to one of Deborah’s focus groups - and she has often had to convey unwelcome results - telling a grumpy Gordon Brown he needed to spruce up his appearance cannot have been easy.

Talking to A Brick Wall reviews the New Labour years from the voter’s point of view. It tracks the ups and downs of the Blair/Brown era as seen from beyond Westminster, showing how closely political reputation correlates with voter connection. It profiles the swing voter, shows the importance of women’s votes, and what gives a politician popular appeal, and maps the voters’ views through the 2010 campaign and its immediate aftermath, showing how the electorate has been left out of political decision making and revealing the public’s recipe for rehabilitating the Labour Party and rebuilding trust in democracy.

To order Talking To A Brick Wall click here.