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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Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison

  • October 21, 2016 15:00
  • Biteback Publishing

In a blog post on their website, dated 21 October, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has written the following entry that has subsequently been picked up by much of the national media:

Most of you will be aware that former SYP officer Sir Norman Bettison is writing a book about his involvement in policing the aftermath of Hillsborough.

As these events fall within the remit of the IPCC investigation, I have written to the publisher to request a copy of the book before it is published.

Its contents will be assessed in consultation with the CPS and together we will consider what impact, if any, it has on the criminal investigation and what action can be taken.

A spokesperson for Biteback Publishing has replied:

‘Whilst it is true we have been corresponding with the IPCC about the possibility of showing them Mr Bettison’s book prior to publication, I think it is unfortunate and unseemly that they should choose to publicise our private correspondence. We will be making no further comment on it.’

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October Releases from Biteback Publishing

  • October 07, 2016 16:00
  • Jason Phillips

Outside, Inside, Diaries: Volume 5, 2003–2005

By Alastair Campbell

In the fifth volume of his explosive Diaries, Alastair Campbell, former Director of Communications and Strategy for Tony Blair, picks up in 2003 on the day after he ‘left’ Downing Street. As Lord Hutton prepares to publish his report and the Blair–Brown relationship becomes increasingly fractured, we soon learn that Campbell’s involvement in politics and strategy for the Labour government has barely abated.

While providing a fascinating and truly unique point of view of recent political history, Campbell also writes frankly about his continuing battle with mental health issues and trying to achieve a balance between work and family as he is pulled in multiple directions.

 

The King Who Had To Go

By Adrian Phillips

The actions taken by King Edward VIII are scrutinised in this behind-the-scenes exposé of his intimate relationship with American socialite Mrs Wallis Simpson. Outraged at the prospect of Simpson’s possible accession to the throne, the government orchestrated a plot to keep the King focused on the job at hand.

Despite their efforts, the royal abdication crisis of 1936 became one of the biggest scandals to face Britain in the past century. Adrian Phillips follows the slow decline and subsequent abdication of the King during a phase of erratic ideas and unreliable behaviour, despite desperate intervention from those in positions of power.

 

The Brexit Club

By Owen Bennett

On 23 June 2016, the people of Britain exercised their democratic right and voted to leave the European Union. With his behind-the-scenes access, Owen Bennett brings the reader into the Vote Leave camp, and into the inner circle of politicians who were keen to change Britain for what they thought was the greater good.

The book reveals the feuds between the Tory ‘posh boys’ and the toxic hardliners, as well as the civil war within Nigel Farage’s UKIP. You won’t want to miss this scoop on the most topical talking point in British politics this year.

 

 

Power and Glory: France’s Secret Wars with Britain and America, 1945–2016

By Roger Howard

In Power and Glory, Roger Howard investigates the tension between France, Britain and America over the past half-century.

Using archive material and quotes from interviews with authoritative diplomatic sources, secret missions by the French are revealed, including conducting a counter-espionage exercise in Madagascar, providing assistance to the Argentines during the Falklands War and fighting a proxy war with Britain in Nigeria. These anecdotes highlight and explain the tensions and relationships between France and the two fellow world powers to date.

 

The New Philistines

By Sohrab Ahmari

Holding up a mirror to the Western world, Sohrab Ahmari demonstrates his qualms with the contemporary art world through invigorating and thought-provoking prose. He argues that where there was once a focus on promoting truth and freedom, contemporary art has now become obsessed with the identity politics of race, gender, privilege, power and sexuality.

Bringing to light the issue of politicisation of the arts, this latest addition to the Provocations series will make you delve deeper into your philosophical thoughts next time you find yourself in a gallery, theatre or museum.

 

Charity Sucks

By Iqbal Wahhab

‘Charity sucks because business does it better.’

A society evolving into a post-philanthropy era is touted as a new dawn for social entrepreneurs to discover new ways to solve problems. Iqbal Wahhab slams the myth that taxes produce a welfare state to fix problems. Instead, the way businesses expand through success provides a more sustainable and effective framework that charities should replicate in order to provide hope and faith for the people who need them most.

 

 

The War on the Old

By John Sutherland

It seems the principle to ‘respect your elders’ has been overlooked in recent years. John Sutherland, now 77 years old, breaks the taboo over talking about the neglectful and indifferent attitudes to the elderly.

It is estimated that by 2020, one in five Britons will be pensioners and living a longer retirement than ever before. John Sutherland spells out why this may not necessarily be a good thing for them, with the elderly now considered a problem to solve rather than a benefit to British society.

 

 

The Bad Boys of Brexit

By Arron Banks

Shocked at the status quo of Westminster politics, Arron Banks invested £8 million of his own money into Leave.EU in an attempt to appeal to the ordinary people of Britain.

Brexit was the topic everyone wanted to talk about and Banks’s anti-establishment attitude was clearly a refreshing change for those who wanted Britain to leave the European Union. Arron Banks was able to ruffle the feathers of Posh Spice, NASA and Nigel Farage and meet Donald Trump and the Queen along the way. The Bad Boys of Brexit is his unique perspective on the referendum campaign.

 

Summer Madness

By Harry Mount

The three chilling weeks following Britain’s exit from the European Union devastated the political landscape as we knew it. The Brexit vote shook the Tories and Labour and divided the country.

Harry Mount reveals how the biggest democratic exercise in the history of modern Britain resulted in Brexit being named a ‘mass murderer’ which ‘kills everything it touches’. With key appearances from Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, Summer Madness leaves no stone unturned in an attempt to understand the aftershocks of 23 June 2016.

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