Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois
|Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois|
|Category: Politics and Society|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Highly enjoyable memoir of the joys and pitfalls of being a backbench MP.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: January 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
I should warn you in advance: this may not be the best time for me to review the memoir of a Tory MP. Not only am I a left-of-centre - to put it mildly - voter and so probably have next to no points of political agreement with Nick de Bois, but I, along with everyone else, am currently subject to the debacle of parliament, government and Brexit, a dog and pony show revealing in hideous technicolour the absolute dearth of competent leadership among our political classes. And yes, opposition parties: I'm looking at you as well. You're just as useless.
Desperate cry into the void over. Sorry about that.
At least Nick de Bois made me laugh! Confessions of a Recovering MP is his memoir of the five years, from 2010 to 2015, de Bois was an MP in the House of Commons, representing the good citizens - and the annoying ones, too - of Enfield North. Nick was elected at the third time of trying in the constituency, beating Labour's Joan Ryan by less than two thousand votes. And those two thousand votes dominated Nick's term in parliament - something he calls MAD or Marginal Agitation Despair. MAD is a dreadful condition, as Nick explains self-deprecatingly, because all MPs enter parliament determined to achieve something but those in marginal seats spend a great deal of time worrying whether or not that something will be their death knell come the next election. Poor Nick!
Anyway, Nick does go on to achieve several things, much to his credit. Over the course of his five years as an MP, however, he also goes on to be pranked, to make some howlers of mistakes, and to try and try at other things, yet fail. Confessions of a Recovering MP takes you through it all and, while he spends some time articulating the frustrations of limited power, it is a highly entertaining book, told with clarity and a great deal of humour. Do you know what "doughnutting" is? Or what happened with the Fray Bentos pie? Or what BBB stands for? And what do you think about swords? I shan't give you any of the answers - you'll have to read for yourself to have these archaic Commons traditions and constituent peculiarities explained. I promise though, that you will laugh!
As they say, democracy is messy and imperfect, much like the people who participate in it, politicians and voters alike. I enjoyed Confessions of a Recovering MP mostly for its affectionate but critical honesty about this. It can be hard to get things done in parliament but when you do, you've achieved an important purpose. Yes, some traditions are silly and obstructive but others actually make our democracy more dynamic. Yes, some constituents are a royal pain but others genuinely show you the power of community action. The book takes us through all these contradictions and Nick de Bois comes out at the end of it as someone who believes passionately in parliamentary democracy, even when he's laughing at it.
I probably wouldn't vote for you Nick - sorry! - but I genuinely enjoyed reading your book. Good luck at the next election!
Since I, too, have a naughty sense of humour, for further reading I shall point you in the direction of the (salty) memoir by John Prescott, Pulling No Punches!
You can read more about Nick de Bois here.
You can read more book reviews or buy Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois at Amazon.com.
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