John O'Farrell Presents his Choice of the Best Election Reads
'This book makes you realise just how much history can turn on the tiniest of things, and so each of us getting involved might make a crucial difference.'
With less than two weeks to go before the election, sifting through the melee of manifestos, interviews, political spiel and spin can leave you feeling none-the-wiser. Luckily, John O’Farrell, the award winning author of the best-selling political memoir Things Can Only Get Better and one of the writers behind Spitting Image and Have I Got News For You, has put together a selection of ideal pre-election reads exclusively for Waterstones to get you to the heart of the real issues at stake.
At election time, it’s good to be reminded that our politicians are human, and this is an interesting, honest and entertaining memoir from the former Labour minister who kept Britain out of the Euro, oversaw major reforms in education, and somehow is best known for his attempts at ballroom dancing. He lost his seat in 2015, though I hope we might one day see him waving on the steps of Downing Street… as the Prime Minister’s husband.
An important account and analysis of how British public services have been run down and sold off, leaving a fragmented NHS, divided education system, a reduced police force and so many other holes in the vital safety net that make a civilised society. But it is not without optimism. A well argued, well-researched and very timely book by that rare combination; a husband and wife team, in which people keep forgetting to mention the man!
This is the definitive account of the 2016 Brexit Referendum that led us to the god-awful mess we’re in today. Packed with bizarre twists and turns and larger-than-life characters making idiotic choices; it reads like a great tragic novel that left me wishing this really was in the fiction section. This book makes you realise just how much history can turn on the tiniest of things, and so each of us getting involved might make a crucial difference. It is a big heavy volume, this is the book we should throw at Boris Johnson.
This is an important short book that quietly rages against the inequities of the British class system as the author recalls her journey from a working class estate in Birmingham. She makes a powerful case for how the odds are stacked so heavily against most people in this country at a time when it is only getting worse. Buy your posh friends two copies so they keep a spare in their cottage in Gloucestershire.
Just when we are despairing at the state of politics in the West, this is an important reminder of what can happen to a society when politics really goes badly wrong. By turns fascinating, tragic, shocking and moving, this book will make you eternally grateful that you live in a democracy. The next time someone you know points out a speed camera and says George Orwell’s 1984 has actually come true, suggest they move to North Korea and see just how close to that novel a society really can get.
A calm, thoroughly-researched and yet searing analysis of the ways in which the corporate, political and media institutions act in the interests of the few and against the interests of the many and how they will go to any means to cling on to all the power and privilege they enjoy. It makes you realise that just voting once every few years is nowhere near enough. But informing yourself is part of the battle – read all the above books and more, recommend them to friends, and the battle of ideas will swing our way again!
John O’Farrell’s long-awaited sequel Things Can Only Get Worse, will be published in September and is available for pre-order with Waterstones now.