10 PM, on the 7 May. The exit poll predicting the result of the 2015 General Election is announced.
In that instant three lives are changed for ever. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg were three very different men, from very different backgrounds. But they shared one ambition. To lead their country. In pursuit of their dream they were forced to make sacrifices. Of their principles. Of those they loved. Of themselves.
And right up until the final moment the exit poll was released each man clung to the hope those sacrifices had not been in vain. Then the clock struck ten. In One Minute to Ten, Dan Hodges brings to life the most dramatic general election campaign in living memory, and tells the untold story of the three men who contested it. And in doing so reveals the price paid by those who risk everything in their quest for the ultimate political prize...
I am a big fan of political non fiction, especially behind the scenes of a government in chaos or an election night or political upheaval like Brexit. I enjoy seeing who was fighting with who, policy disagreements etc as I find that interesting. This book said it was a behind the scenes with the three party leaders on Election Night 2015 so I just had to read it.
The phrase 'false advertising' comes to mind after picking this book up. The blurb says 'Dan Hodges brings to life the most dramatic general election campaign in living memory, and tells the untold story of the three men who contested it.' That sounds like a behind the scenes with these three men on election night, right? Answer this then. Where in that blurb does it say that this is actually more like a made up parody of what the author thinks the men might have been thinking? That is pretty much what we get here.
We start with three introductions of David, Ed and Nick as kids. David is playing cricket at Eton, Nick is on a European family holiday and Ed is at his father's feet. I don't really know what we were meant to take from this other than Nick liking travelling in Europe. We jump next to getting in the heads of the men on election night, which again is obviously made up. We have David sitting there thinking about IDS's bedroom tax as if it was Ian's idea and Dave didn't agree with it...which is utter crap! Ministers ideas will not become policy unless Cabinet approved!
It gets worse. We next get a chapter on the previous Labour leadership contest and whether Ed Balls had enough votes to be number two in the party to David Miliband. What follows is a supposed phone call between Gordon Brown and some unnamed guy backing Ed Balls for number two and being asked to then support Ed Miliband for leader. This is the exchange.
man-He's asking me to back Ed. But I'm already backing Ed
GB-No not Ed. Ed!
And at last he understood. This wasn't about Ed. It was about Ed. But it still didn't make any sense. He was backing Ed. Gordon was backing Ed. They were all backing Ed. They'd been backing Ed from the beginning. Not Ed. Ed.
What kind of utter rubbish is that? The next thing we get is a bunch of them waiting to meet Bill Clinton as he has The Thing and Tony Blair wants to have The Thing but he doesn't have The Thing. Jeez this was grating on my last nerve by now. The grammar was dreadful as was the sentence structure, made up of short abrupt sentences. The content was made up waffle that kept trying to be funny and falling flat. It was badly conceived and badly written and what annoyed me the most is that the people involved in publishing it were not honest about the content. This was marketed to sound like a serious political book about the election when in fact it was just a poor parody with no facts to it. I would never have wasted my money on this had I known what it was.
Read May 2017.