Chris Huhne: the five books that have most influenced my politicial views

Liberal Democrat Voice has asked both leadership candidates to list the five books that have most influenced their political views, along with an explanation for their choice. Nick Clegg’s piece appeared earlier today.

J S Mill – “On Liberty
This has to be top of any liberal’s list. Mill’s principle that we should be free unless inflicting harm on others encapsulates our respect for different choices. But the essay reveals an inner conflict, as Mill hints that a liberal society also requires the provision of public goods like education.

George Orwell – “Animal Farm
Animal Farm has it all – biting satire, heart-warming peaks and tragic troughs like Boxer’s death. It is probably the best single demolition of the big state and its lies in print!

John Rawls – “A Theory of Justice
Rawls relaunched liberal thought for our age. He shows how justice must be understood as fairness – how inequalities create challenges for a liberal society.

Rachel Carson – “Silent Spring
This was a breakthrough into popular culture for the environmental movement and had a big impact on me providing grist for my perceptions as a journalist and now as an MP. It showed how we had thoughtlessly unbalanced natural systems.

Joseph Heller – “Catch 22
The anti-hero Yossarian struggles against the bureaucratic rules of the US military, which appear much more the real enemy than the Germans: a classic liberal text pitting the person against an over-weaning system catching everyone in its maw.

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This entry was posted in Books and Leadership Election.


  • LiberalHammer 16th Nov '07 - 4:10pm

    Who says that the candidates are falling over themselves to be similar? They’ve only got 2 books in each other’s list.

  • Mark Wright 16th Nov '07 - 4:37pm

    Yeh, but come on – one of them was Mill! 😉

    Both having Animal Farm is interesting though…

  • Richard Huzzey 16th Nov '07 - 5:45pm

    I’d have expected On Liberty to be in the lists of both, but amused Animal Farm is too.

  • They probably read Animal Farm for A level :o)

  • Richard Gadsden 19th Nov '07 - 1:07am

    Interestingly, neither of them have included a book they disagree with.

    I know I’d have at least one communist – either Marx or Lenin – in my list, and there’s likely to be something by a conservative, just a shame that Leviathan is such hard reading.

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