Sasha Swire

An insight into the British politics of the 2010s. And not a pretty sight.

The pitch for this book is that, as a political wife, the author had a unique ringside seat from which to observe the goings-on the (mostly male) politicians. And it’s true that she has plenty of insight into them and into her own position in the circle.

But she also exposes herself as almost a caricature of a Tory. She accepts the misogyny and crudeness of the male MPs as just how it is, and utterly lacks any understanding of why anyone would disagree with her own positions. She can’t accept, for example, that Remainers were sincere and their misgivings might be valid, or that the EU is anything other that fascinated with the idea of humiliating Britain. She constantly refers to the Labour party as “Marxists” and trots-out the usual tropes of how they would bankrupt the country, despite the fact that their “extreme left-wing” positions would be entirely mainstream in many European countries. She’s clear-eyed and unenthusiastic about Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, but then fawns over him when he wins his election landslide and glides over the time-bomb he planted on the Irish border issue, even though this was evident at the time.

The overwhelming theme, returned to again and again, is how self-interested the political class is, focused entirely on who’s up, who’s down, and how if affects their own careers. Lots of dinner parties, gentlemen’s clubs, and holidays: one is left amazed by how shallow everyone is.

It’s not a bad book, and an enjoyably light read. But politically insightful it isn’t, other than to highlight the trivial nature of politicians.

3/5. Finished Friday 23 February, 2024.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)