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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Under Cameron, he held middle-ranking jobs at the Northern Ireland Office and the Foreign Office, before being unceremoniously fired by Theresa May. Westminster diaries are judged on three levels: the details they leak, the political era they re-create and the central character of the author. The “mateocracy”, meanwhile, stayed in one another’s grace-and-favour homes, while furiously falling out over who had the best pad, the nicest curtains, the poshest official car or the biggest security detail. But in Swire’s vignettes of Cameron’s chillaxed post-Downing Street life – telling his daughter he has a meeting, only to sit watching back-to-back episodes of Game of Thrones – and her perceptions of a very different, less privileged generation rising through the party lies another small piece of the jigsaw. Swire has literary ability, a quality that manifests itself in the colour with which she describes the show and the freaks within it.

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. Ten years ago, reviewing Alastair Campbell's diaries for the Spectator , I concluded as follows: "Who will be the chroniclers of the Cameron government?We have come a long way, thankfully, since the days of political wives being expected to stand mutely by their man. It was really, really funny in parts, and set off with a bang with much to-ing and fro-ing in Hillsborough Castle and royal visits. These are the things which the author doesn’t realise she’s revealing: how utterly self-seeking, venal and empty-hearted are herself and her MP husband and, it could seem, the whole Cameron, Osborne, Johnson clique. Die Autorin macht keinen besonders sympathischen Eindruck, privilegiert und prätentiös aber egozentrisch und ein bißchen nutzlos.

But then if only half her recollections of the Notting Hill set are true, she has done the rest of us a favour by removing all possible doubt about the unfitness of most of them to govern. The struggles of ordinary people are ignored in a life of champagne, weekends at Chequers, long holidays in Cornwall and Devon, and afternoons gossiping over high tea and cake. When she discovers Dave “laughing uproariously” in conversation with her husband about the supposedly unusual characteristics of historian Andrew Roberts’s “male member” and comparing notes on which female politicians were “beddable”, she is positively indulgent. I know people like this, they really think that they are so “speshul” that the normal rules and conventions need not/ought not to apply to such as them.

The pesky MP's wife may have a better sense of public taste than all the players strutting on the political stage. Because of the author’s position as a confidante of the main players, this book will be a primary source for future political and social historians.

Somewhere, unknown to his or her colleagues, a secret scribbler will already be at work, documenting the rise and, in due course, no doubt, the fall of this administration" Well, here it is. Sasha Swire, second left, with her husband, Hugo, Margaret Thatcher and Lady Miloska Nott at a dinner in Chelsea in 2010.I was pleased to have all my prejudices about Sir John Nott confirmed (a cursed name in many Naval households).

At first it proved ideal shallow bedtime reading – entertaining gossipy disclosures about the world of Cameron, Osborne, Johnson, Gove, Raab etc. But what these diaries do reveal in all it's vainglory is the great lie at the heart of Cameron's austerity: "We are all in this together. But the Swires were extremely plugged-in socially, and during the coalition years that’s what mattered.

The diary covers not only the rise and fall of the Cameroons, but also the shenanigans surrounding Brexit and the inexorable rise of Boris, concluding at the end of last year when Sir Hugo (as he was by then) left parliament. A former journalist who gave up her career to look after her family, she had kept a diary since childhood, and carried on jotting down daily insights gleaned throughout her husband Hugo’s time as a minister under their good friend David Cameron (and subsequently as a backbencher under Theresa May). Her assessments of people were heavily coloured, I concluded, as to how they behaved towards Milady Swire. Here are the friendships and the fall-outs, the general elections and the leadership contests, the scandals and the rivalries.

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