Jerry Hayes

Can we have an honest debate about sex crimes?

It really is time that we had an honest debate about sex crimes. But in the present climate I wonder if it is possible. Over the next few days there will be howls of rage from women’s groups about comments by a prosecutor that a thirteen year old girl’s behaviour was sexually ‘predatory’. I am

Review – A Doomed Marriage by Daniel Hannan

When Dan Hannan’s book, A Doomed Marriage: Britain and Europe, arrived through the post I was alarmed to see that it was shrink wrapped in the same way as top shelf pornographic material. For those of you Europhiles who rather warm to the idea of a federal Europe and look forward to the day when

The loneliness of Edwina Currie

Edwina Currie is very much an acquired taste and I am very happy that I acquired it in 1983 when we were both first elected to Parliament. Sassy, saucy, fiendishly bright, burning with drive and ambition, yet with a heart, she was head and shoulders above most of her male contemporaries and they hated her

Jeremy Vine’s survival guide

I first knew Jeremy Vine as a very young, charming, earnest and totally driven political correspondent for the BBC in the 1980s. So when I started reading It’s All News to Me, I was dreading a rather worthy read. I was delightfully disappointed. This is a wonderful bitchfest of not quite malicious gossip and the

A man of principle

One of the great tragedies of political history is that the foresight, clarity and prescience of Enoch Powell are too often viewed though the murky prism of his notorious Rivers of Blood speech. His kindness, courtesy, love of his family, nation and the House of Commons can be so easily overlooked. And his dry and

Practically a Conservative

Francis Elliott and James Hanning’s latest update on all things Cameron, Cameron: Practically a Conservative, is a masterclass of painstaking research, balance and a great store of anecdotage. Is he the slick PR man with more U-turns than a military lavatory block? Is he a ruthless and arrogant privileged bully? Or is he unimaginative and

Another voice: The book no newspaper editor will want you to read

There are so many axes being ground in Tom Watson and Martin Hickman’s fascinating and explosive new book, Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain, that it should be handled with asbestos gloves and read behind protective goggles. The health warning that should be given before reading is that two of

A man of courage and conviction

Whatever you might think about Peter Hain, he has proved himself to be a man of great personal courage and conviction. Of course, when it comes to being a British politician he is not a lot better than any of the others. But at least he has done something. Where Hain showed his mettle was

Why Jeffrey Archer’s books should be banned

Jeffrey Archer is a menace. His books should be pulped and an Act of Parliament passed to ban their sale. They are the Maltesers of publishing. Once you’ve started one you can’t finish until you’ve scoffed the whole lot. And that can be very troubling. I missed stations, was late for meetings and kept the

The daughter of the great man

A Daughter’s Tale is the memoir of Mary Soames, Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter. It is remarkable, uplifting, moving and utterly fascinating. Remarkable, because from 18 to 22 she was at her father and mother’s side at the Admiralty, Number 10 and Chequers, observing and sharing the horrors of war and the possibility of defeat. Uplifting,

Gay pride

Now that the Tory party is about to embark on an unedifying internal spat over gay marriage, I would commend students of political history to read Michael McManus’s beautifully written and well-researched book Tory Pride and Prejudice: the Conservative Party and Homosexual Reform. Readers may be surprised to learn that supporters of the decriminalisation of

A splendid life of crime

Let me nail my colours clearly to the mast: I would prefer to eat my own spleen, or listen to a Gordon Brown speech, than read the memoirs of a barrister/politician. The remaindered lists are groaning under these unsellable, unreadable, dusty monuments to over-inflated egos. They should be pulped and moulded into bed pans.  However,

A winter comfort

Robert Sellers and James Hogg’s Little Ern!, the authorised biography of Ernie Wise, is an uplifting, heart-warming and beautifully written book that will act as a comfort blanket recalling cheery Christmases past: a time when Christmas didn’t really begin until the whole family gathered round the television set to enjoy the collective warmth of Morecambe

A class act | 23 October 2011

When John Donne wrote that no man is an island he clearly didn’t have Boris Johnson in mind. Because, if Sonia Purnell’s well documented book, Just Boris, is correct, old Bozza, “like Palmerston, has no friends, merely interests”. According to Purnell and her star studded cast of executioners Boris is a class act, but an

Better than his party

I have been awaiting a definitive biography of Nick Clegg for a while. And while I’m not entirely sure whether Chris Bowers’ Nick Clegg, The Biography quite gets there, don’t let me discourage you. This is an excellent book and a fascinating insight into the man. The trouble is that most of us who enjoy

A politician happy in his own skin

Alistair Darling’s Back from the Brink is not just a compulsive read: it is an essential primer for anyone with aspirations to be Prime Minister or Chancellor. It’s not unlike the manual in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with ‘Don’t Panic’ emblazoned on the front. The glory of this book is that, unlike Mandelson’s

Mandelson exposed

For those of you who missed the public outing of Peter Mandelson: The Real PM, the remarkably revealing, fly-on-the-turd psychomentary by the gloriously talented Hannah Rothschild, don’t despair, the boy will be back in town on DVD in full Slimeorama on 19th September. As I’ve already reviewed the show for this blog, the good and

A riveting read

It is spookily appropriate that I read Chris Mullin’s splendidly candid and revealing 2005-2010 diaries in the aftermath of the Blackberry riots, where dysfunctional families are a popular topic of conversation. Because, in the final death throes of Tony Blair’ faltering tenure and Gordon Brown’s psychiatric episode at Number 10, they were running a dysfunctional