Tag Archives: alan johnson

Book review: ‘This Boy’ by Alan Johnson

this boyWhile this is a very late review, hopefully it will persuade anyone left in the political community, who has not read Alan Johnson’s “This Boy”, to read it.

I tend to read at a snail’s pace and also have a habit of (accidentally) reading volumes of memoirs back to front chronologically. I read both Alan Clark’s and Chris Mullin’s volumes backwards. I read and reviewed Alan Johnson’s later work “Please Mister Postman” last summer. Just before Christmas I was kindly loaned “This Boy”.

The book is a remarkably detailed, harrowing account of a one-parent (and then no-parent) family living in 1950s/60s London in grinding, distressing poverty as the parent suffers increasingly failing health. Abandoned by her husband, Johnson’s mother, Lily, works all the hours God sends, and struggles bravely to bring up her children, Linda and Alan. Living in appalling slum conditions, they manage to survive through various trials and hardships. Linda emerges as a great confidante of her mother and a strong pseudo-parent for Alan as she grows into a young adult.

Posted in Books | Also tagged | 6 Comments

We need more blue collar Liberals

There is plenty of debate across the political spectrum about how unrepresentative of the overall population our elected politicians are.

Much of this discussion focuses on the lack of women and BAME people in the corridors of power.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 43 Comments

A great holiday read from the cheeky chappie of politics

alan johnson bookPlease Mister Postman by Alan Johnson is a great book to take on holiday with you, if you haven’t already read it. It’s now available in paperback, published by Corgi Books for a cover price of £8.99, although you can get it for less.

There are two types of memoirs by politicians: boring self-justification and interesting, good reads. Johnson’s writings are firmly in the second category, along there with Alan Clark, Chris Mullin and Paddy Ashdown (“A Fortunate Life”). Very often the early days of a politician are the most interesting – as was the case with John Major’s auto-biography.

Posted in Books | 6 Comments

Labour reshuffle: Ed Miliband unveils Continuity Gordon Brown Party

The Lib Dem response to Ed Balls’ appointment as Labour’s shadow chancellor, replacing Alan Johnson, has been swift. Stephen Williams, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Treasury Committee, commented:

“I wish Alan Johnson good luck for the future.

“The decision to appoint Ed Balls as Shadow Chancellor shows that the Labour Party is now determined to carry on with the Gordon Brown economic plan that caused so much trouble for this country.

“Ed Balls isn’t just a deficit denier, he’s a deficit enthusiast.”

Alan Johnson resigned earlier today, citing “personal reasons to do with my family”. He had been under pressure in …

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Why does Alan Johnson want the government to have a plan for something Ed Miliband says isn’t going to happen?

At the weekend, there was a flurry of activity online (such as here) following Ed Miliband’s interview on the Andrew Marr show where he denied having said that the government’s policies would cause a double-dip recession and various people pointed out how this was contradicted by his own website (and also, though less noticed, by the Labour Party website too).

If you look at the dates of who said what, there seems to be a fairly straight-forward explanation: Ed Miliband and others in Labour were expecting (or at least willing to talk in public as if they were expecting) …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 23 Comments

Clegg points to “clear liberal direction” of government, as Lib Dems highlight Labour’s economic woes

Nick Clegg used a prime-time slot on this morning’s Today Programme to make clear his view that the public will take a “more rounded view” of the Lib Dems’ achievements in government by the next election. As BBC News reports:

said the effect of the spending cuts would be “difficult”, adding: “But I think at the same time there are signs that the repair job we are doing on the government finances and the general creation of greater confidence in the economy might also start showing itself as well.

“I think it will be a crucial year – a crucial year, yes, of some very challenging circumstances for millions of people in this country, but I hope the beginning of a real turnaround as we move forward and as we successfully implement the repair job on the economy.” …

Asked whether the Lib Dems had been unsuccessful in implementing their manifesto commitments since forming the coalition, he replied that they had gone into the arrangement with the Conservatives “with our eyes wide open”. He said policies such as electoral reform, raising the point at which people pay basic-rate income tax and introducing a “pupil premium” to help children from the worst-off families had been largely due to his party’s efforts. Mr Clegg added: “I think this shows a clear liberal direction to this government, on the whole.”

He said: “These are the big benefits in British life which I acknowledge in a sense don’t present themselves immediately to people. Over the course of this parliament I believe people will take a more rounded view of what this government is doing.”

You can listen to a brief excerpt from Nick’s interview here:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

PMQS: Cameron promised faster wheels amidst squeaky bums

What a relief! For a change, Prime Minister’s Questions gave more cause for Tories to be uneasy than it did for LibDems. Don’t get me wrong, LibDems care passionately about frontline policing. Of course they do. But the Tories tend to see it as more of a cojones (or should I invent the adjective “cojonal” here?) measurement issue – it’s closer to the nerve with them. So I think there must have been a lot of uncomfortable shifting around on the benches behind David Cameron today. “Squeaky bum time”, as Sir Alex might put it.

For once there was a good …

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , and | 18 Comments
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