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Fall Out: A Year of Political Mayhem (2017)

de Tim Shipman

Séries: Brexit Trilogy (2)

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The unmissable inside story of the most dramatic general election campaign in modern history and Theresa May's battle for a Brexit deal, the greatest challenge for a prime minister since the Second World War. By the bestselling author of All Out War, shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2017. This is the unmissable inside story of the most dramatic general election campaign in modern history and Theresa May's battle for a Brexit deal - the greatest challenge for a prime minister since the Second World War. Fall Out tells of how a leader famed for her caution battled her bitterly divided cabinet at home while facing duplicitous Brussels bureaucrats abroad. Of how she then took the biggest gamble of her career to strengthen her position - and promptly blew it. It is also a tale of treachery where - in the hour of her greatest weakness - one by one, May's colleagues began to plot against her. Inside this book you will find all the strategy, comedy, tragedy and farce of modern politics - where principle, passion and vaulting ambition collide in the corridors of power. It chronicles a civil war at the heart of the Conservative Party and a Labour Party back from the dead, led by Jeremy Corbyn, who defied the experts and the critics on his own side to mount an unlikely tilt at the top job. With access to all the key players, Tim Shipman has written a political history that reads like a thriller, exploring how and why the EU referendum result pitched Britain into a year of political mayhem.… (mais)
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Another excellent and compelling retelling of recent political history from Tim Shipman. It’s an enjoyable and insightful follow up to ‘All Out War’ and gripped me like a thriller. The slight Tory bias is the first book is still there, but doesn’t spoil things took much. The series is pitched as a trilogy, which makes me worry about how massive a tome book 3 will have to be... ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
Tim Shipman’s previous book, All Out War, gave an engaging and detailed account of the lead up to the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union, and the immediate aftermath, covering the resignation of David Cameron and the subsequent internecine strife within the Conservative Party that led to Theresa May becoming Prime Minister. Fall Out picks up the story, and covers the year that followed her ascension to Downing Street, culminating shortly after the unexpectedly inconclusive general election of June 2017.

I seem to have read a lot of volumes of political history over the last few years. I had always been interested in politics, anyway, and that preoccupation has been piqued through working in a number of different ministers’ private offices across a couple of government departments. This was, however, the first time that I had read such an impartial account published quite so soon after the events that it relates. Much of Shipman’s mastery lies in the immediacy of his account.

I don’t know where his own political preferences lie. I remember most of the events that he recounts very clearly, and feel that he has maintained an impartial perspective throughout. While never reluctant to convey disdain of certain politicians’ obtuseness, he scatters his scorn even-handedly. I was particularly impressed by the range of politicians and senior officials with whom he seems to have spoken, also right across the political divide.

One of the most illuminating aspects of the book is his account of the reign of terror conducted by Theresa May’s senior political advisers, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy. Their scorn was distributed fairly evenhandedly, too, and they were clearly just as happy bullying and ridiculing ministers of state as they were to terrorise mere officials. Disappointingly, Theresa May seems, at best, to have turned a blind eye to their disgraceful behaviour, although the insinuation that she approved of, even if never specifically commissioning, their activities is difficult to challenge.

Regardless of the political complexion of the government, I have always believed that it is in everyone’s interest that we have a strong opposition. Shipman makes clear that, following the as yet unhealed internal divisions within the Conservatives following their post-Referendum leadership contest, the Government seemed holed below the waterline, and offered an easy target for Her Majesty’s Opposition. Only there was no Opposition. While the Conservative tore themselves apart following David Cameron’s resignation, they did at least manage to appoint a new leader within a matter of a few weeks. Meanwhile, the Labour Party, having gone through one painful leadership contest that resulted with apparent rank outsider Jeremy Corbyn emerging as runaway winner, chose to plunge itself into a second contest, rendering the same result but with an even bigger margin, although it took several months to do so. All of which makes the Labour resurgence in the 2017 general election such a surprise.

The clear lesson from Shipman’s book is the enduring peril of political hubris. Labour centrists refused to believe that the party could appoint a genuinely socialist leader, while Theresa May failed to acknowledge the possibility that she would not be returned to Downing Street with a Thatcheresque landslide majority. As in a Greek tragedy, in which the oracle has offered its occluded prophesy, both those conceits would be punctured in the most brutal fashion. Unfortunately, amusing though such outcomes and fractured vanities might appear in the abstract, the consequent uncertainly currently remains unresolved. I am intrigued to know what Mr Shipman’s next book might be, but suspect that I might find the ending rather frightening. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Jun 10, 2018 |
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The unmissable inside story of the most dramatic general election campaign in modern history and Theresa May's battle for a Brexit deal, the greatest challenge for a prime minister since the Second World War. By the bestselling author of All Out War, shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2017. This is the unmissable inside story of the most dramatic general election campaign in modern history and Theresa May's battle for a Brexit deal - the greatest challenge for a prime minister since the Second World War. Fall Out tells of how a leader famed for her caution battled her bitterly divided cabinet at home while facing duplicitous Brussels bureaucrats abroad. Of how she then took the biggest gamble of her career to strengthen her position - and promptly blew it. It is also a tale of treachery where - in the hour of her greatest weakness - one by one, May's colleagues began to plot against her. Inside this book you will find all the strategy, comedy, tragedy and farce of modern politics - where principle, passion and vaulting ambition collide in the corridors of power. It chronicles a civil war at the heart of the Conservative Party and a Labour Party back from the dead, led by Jeremy Corbyn, who defied the experts and the critics on his own side to mount an unlikely tilt at the top job. With access to all the key players, Tim Shipman has written a political history that reads like a thriller, exploring how and why the EU referendum result pitched Britain into a year of political mayhem.

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