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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Swire is at least vaguely aware of how insufferable it can seem; glancing around the Camerons’ Downing Street Christmas party in 2011, she realises “we all holiday together, stay in each other’s grace and favour homes, our children play together, we text each other bypassing the civil servants … this is a very particular, narrow tribe of Britain and their hangers on. My first laugh out load moment was when, attempting to get a glimmer of a smile from the Countess of Wessex, La Swire explained that she was a Slav, and therefore in a permanent state of wanting to murder people. 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. Overall, I revelled in this expose of privilege and politics (who knew quite so many shooting weekends still took place? 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.

Under Cameron, he held middle-ranking jobs at the Northern Ireland Office and the Foreign Office, before being unceremoniously fired by Theresa May. She insists she never originally intended to publish the resulting inside story of a turbulent Tory decade, for fear it would be seen as a betrayal.

Set against a backdrop of country house shooting weekends and boozy dinners at Chequers, but seen through the sceptical eyes of a woman one step removed from the head-butting stags, there is acute political intelligence at work from Lady Swire, wife of Sir Hugo Swire, former MP for East Devon from 2010-2016, a Minister of State for the Northern Ireland Office and Foreign Office and who was the daughter of John Nott. It is 30 years since Hazel Holt's biography; many more since David Cecil and Philip Larkin championed her novels. New Paperbacks NEW PAPERBACKS [jsb_filter_by_tags count="15" show_more="10" sort_by="total_products"/] A selection of recent paperbacks. By 2015 she is fretting that Ed Miliband is clearly “on to something” in pledging to abolish non-dom status and that the Tories have become too harsh towards the poor, “unforgiving of personal circumstances, relentless in telling people to stop whingeing and make a go of it”. In 500-odd pages of deftly edited diary entries covering her observations and conversations during the tumultuous years of 2010 to 2019, she lifts the veil on the doings of a political class that is difficult to like, admire or respect.

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. Many people have commented on her referring to her father throughout as “Sir John” (Nott) and her mother-in-law, the Dowager Marchioness of Townshend as “the Dowager”; I can almost imagine her glee as she reads the reviews from people frothing at the mouth at this supposed evidence of snobbishness – I saw it as ironic and intentional – almost hoping to get a rise out of the silly readers.See our Remarkables Archive list for what is no longer in print, but which we are happy to track down. Of course, there is something about the phrase 'political wife' that still evokes an image of a passive, helmet-haired, jam-making woman standing silently behind her husband, either smiling admirably as he asks for votes or frowning firmly as he admits to abusing his power or marriage. Here are the friendships and the fall-outs, the general elections and the leadership contests, the scandals and the rivalries.

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. Diary of an MP's Wife is a searingly honest, wildly indiscreet and often uproarious account of what life is like in the thick of it. 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. 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.

Sasha Swire was raised and educated in west Cornwall, where her father, Sir John Nott, was MP for the St Ives constituency. She was born and brought up in west Cornwall, where her father, Sir John Nott, was MP for the St Ives constituency. Her assessments of people were heavily coloured, I concluded, as to how they behaved towards Milady Swire. It makes it no easier to hear that she believes him to be “desperately lonely and unhappy on the inside”. Her secret diary covers not only the rise and the fall of her friends the Camerons, but also the shenanigans surrounding Brexit and the inexorable rise of Boris, concluding at the end when Sir Hugo (as he was by then) left Parliament.

Diary of an MP's Wife is an irresistible, informal history and a rare tell-all about what it's really like to live behind the headlines of British political life. Despite the bitchy, rather sniping tone which gives the book its flavour (and frankly, is the main reason most people will read it) she is a pretty astute judge of character and nails (or skewers) a lot of people with disarming accuracy. He claimed to be busy with meetings, but daughter Florence, clearly knowing her father too well, quickly branded him a liar after spotting him watching back-to-back episodes of Game of Thrones.At first it proved ideal shallow bedtime reading – entertaining gossipy disclosures about the world of Cameron, Osborne, Johnson, Gove, Raab etc. We have come a long way, thankfully, since the days of political wives being expected to stand mutely by their man. I giggled when there was some mention of someone who had fallen foul of him and was a “name forever loathed in the Nott household” – ah, I thought, just like Nott in ours. There was a lot of publicity, and many extracts available in the national press for this humdinger of a political tell-tale “diary”.



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