Diary of an MP's Wife: Inside and Outside Power: 'riotously candid' Sunday Times

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Diary of an MP's Wife: Inside and Outside Power: 'riotously candid' Sunday Times

Diary of an MP's Wife: Inside and Outside Power: 'riotously candid' Sunday Times

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Yet somehow she ended up showing the diary to a literary agent – as one does, when absolutely determined not to betray anyone – and bang, here she is, author of one of the most thrillingly indiscreet political memoirs I have ever read. Viele Tagebuchschreiber betätigen sich als Chronisten, reflektieren ihr Leben und bereichern die Geschichtsschreibung um eine Menge Klatsch und Tratsch. She was a feisty hater (the Slav thing, through her mother) and I was amused at her annoyance at her father not being in the House of Lords. A professional partner and loyal spouse, Swire has strong political opinions herself - sometimes more 'No, Minister' than 'Yes'.

For more than 20 years she has kept a secret diary detailing the trials and tribulations of being a political plus-one, and gives us a ringside seat at the seismic political events of the last decade. I bought this book cheap, intending to skim read interesting bits, but ended up reading it cover-to-cover. Despite all the trumpeting in the press about how no one (especially their friends the Camerons) would ever speak to her again, her overall assessment of David Cameron was complimentary. But if the first half of the book is a giddy romp through life under the “chumocracy”, the second is more bittersweet, chronicling the fracturing of old friendships post-Brexit in what has become a court exiled from power.

A professional partner and loyal spouse, Swire has strong political opinions herself – sometimes more ‘No, Minister’ than ‘Yes’.

We have come a long way, thankfully, since the days of political wives being expected to stand mutely by their man. Ten years ago, reviewing Alastair Campbell's diaries for the Spectator , I concluded as follows: "Who will be the chroniclers of the Cameron government? She was born and brought up in west Cornwall, where her father, Sir John Nott, was MP for the St Ives constituency. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. Remarkables REMARKABLES Intriguing, stunning, or otherwise remarkable books These include fine editions, foreign publications that are exceptional for their interest or production, special editions and some first-rate books from very small publishers.But then if only half her recollections of the Notting Hill set are true, she has done the rest of us a favour by removing all possible doubt about the unfitness of most of them to govern.

I know people like this, they really think that they are so “speshul” that the normal rules and conventions need not/ought not to apply to such as them. Her assessments of people were heavily coloured, I concluded, as to how they behaved towards Milady Swire. They were close enough to “Dave and Sam” to spend the day after the Brexit referendum getting sloshed with the defeated prime minister, while he raged about those he felt had wronged him.

Overall, I revelled in this expose of privilege and politics (who knew quite so many shooting weekends still took place? The pesky MP's wife may have a better sense of public taste than all the players strutting on the political stage. On another Swire visit, “Dave” is glued to the movie Atonement, apparently with the sole aim of ogling Keira Knightley’s nipples. One can only imagine Buckingham Palace’s reaction meanwhile to her observation, following a private dinner with Prince Edward in 2010, that he “seems overwhelmed with relief that the Conservatives have got in”.

For this was the period of austerity, instituted by George Osborne (Boy George to the diarist) where council budgets were cut, bedroom tax introduced, the police force lost 20,000 jobs, disability benefits were slashed, and education, health and social security budgets were cut to the bone.It was really, really funny in parts, and set off with a bang with much to-ing and fro-ing in Hillsborough Castle and royal visits. See our Remarkables Archive list for what is no longer in print, but which we are happy to track down. Its weaknesses were, as many have said, a lack of footnotes about who people referred to were, particularly in the early part of the journal. She moved in circles whose values may not be to everyone’s taste (anti-green, anti-poor, anti-common) but she certainly tells it as she sees it and I don’t think she was as bad as the others.



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