A Walk-on Part: Diaries 1994-1999
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In this title, Yes Minister meets Alan Clark. The third and final volume of Chris Mullin's acclaimed diaries begins on the night John Smith died in May 1994, and continues until the moment of Mullin's assumption into government in July 1999. Together with the bestselling "A View from the Foothills" and "Decline & Fall", the complete trilogy covers the rise and fall of New Labour from start to finish. Witty, elegant and wickedly indiscreet, the Mullin diaries are widely reckoned to be the best account of the New Labour era. "Every once in a while", wrote David Cameron, "political diaries emerge that are so irreverent and insightful that they are destined to be handed out as leaving presents across Whitehall for years to come".
with self-satisfaction. He would have been at home in this building any time in the last 300 years. For all I know, he may have been here all that time. Seven chairmen had submitted applications on behalf of their committees for foreign excursions. Five had found urgent reasons for going to the United States. They all specified the best hotels and club-or business-class travel. Someone remarked that the dignity of Parliament required nothing less. In every case they had budgeted the attendance
‘I go round the front-line states to see what’s going on. I wish more of them (other NATO leaders) would go and see for themselves.’ We talked about the Welfare Reform Bill. The mood was sombre. The government is facing its biggest test so far. The Man made soothing noises. ‘We must listen. It’s important not to give the impression that we can do what we want and still get elected.’ But he added with a hint of menace that there were people who were difficult to please on anything. ‘The method
indignantly. ‘Do you know, he even shot the dog.’ Wednesday, 30 June In the absence of The Man (who was away bringing peace to Ireland), JP stood in at PM’s Questions. The first time he has been allowed out on his own since the Great Withholding Tax Disaster. We held our breath each time an elephant trap appeared. He came through okay, but there was general relief when it was over. Thursday, 1 July I ran into Donald Brind, the parliamentary party press officer, and bent his ear about the
production, distribution and exchange – was in retrospect a master stroke, though it didn’t feel that way at the time. His strategy of promising little and delivering more, in contrast to the over-promising and under-delivering of previous governments, was also surely vindicated. Likewise his determination to tackle the huge benefit culture (ironically, the new government’s most enduring legacy from the Thatcher decade) and to reform public services, education in particular. And as we contemplate
Kaufman is to propose. We come before the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and are thus assured of a packed house. Delighted, I say, but in truth I am apprehensive. Gerald will be a difficult act to follow and the House has a notoriously short attention span. Nick hands me over to Murdo Maclean. It is, he assures me, a great honour. There will be an invitation to the Prime Minister’s eve-of-session reception at Downing Street tomorrow evening and to the one at Speaker’s House on