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5 Days in May: The Coalition and Beyond

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5 Days in May: The Coalition and Beyond

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    Available in PDF Format | 5 Days in May: The Coalition and Beyond.pdf | English
    Andrew Adonis(Author)
In the wake of the inconclusive May 2010 general election Lord Adonis and other senior Labour figures sat down for talks with the Liberal Democrat leadership to try to persuade them to govern Britain together in a Lib Lab coalition. The talks ultimately resulted in failure for Labour amid recriminations on both sides and the accusation that the Lib Dems had conducted a dutch auction, inviting Labour to outbid the Tories on a shopping list of demands. Despite calls for him to give his own account of this historic sequence of events, Adonis has kept his own counsel until now. Published to coincide with the third anniversary of the general election that would eventually produce an historic first coalition government since the Second World War, 5 Days In May is a remarkable and important insider account of the dramatic negotiations that led to its formation. It also offers the author's views on what the future holds as the run-up to the next election begins. 5 Days in May presents a unique eyewitness account of a pivotal moment in political history.

Details with breathless energy the plotting, late night phone calls and the desperately fading hopes of Brown's government from inside Number 10... Fascinatingly candid... Adonis's description of the hectic negotiations is absorbing for its detail and the palpable sense of chaos at the heart of the British establishment... Flashes of irony and slapstick... Convincing book by a man generally more interested in ideas than tribal loyalties... This book may prove to be his most important work. --The TelegraphRevelatory and quietly shocking. --The GuardianIf anyone is going to spend five days inside the head of anyone, Adonis is a good candidate. He is intelligent, moderate and nice. The Spectator A West Wing-style thriller. --New Statesman[An] invaluable book on the negotiations that led to the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. --The ObserverIn 5 Days in May, Adonis has written a classic new text of political journalism. --Open DemocracyThis is a political thriller with a twist. Times Literary Supplement It is a book full of anger, recrimination and justice...But this adds to the interest as the words crackle with barely concealed rage. --Total Politics …as gripping as any Dan Brown page-turner --Choice MagazineWithout a doubt the political book of the summer, alongside Charles Moore's Thatcher biography… As both a tell-all (it's peppered with key details about Labour front benchers) and an examination of coalition governments, it makes for a compelling read. Unsurprisingly, Nick Clegg doesn't come off well. --GQA fine book. …as gripping as any Dan Brown page-turner --Choice MagazineAll Adonis' books are important, and now is the time to read one. --Independent on Sunday[T]here is a revelation on almost every page of Adonis's book --The Independent[It] challenges conventional wisdom about the forming of the coalition. Anyone who might be near the leadership of the Labour Party in 2015 needs to read this now. --Independent on Sunday[It] challenges conventional wisdom about the forming of the coalition. Anyone who might be near the leadership of the Labour Party in 2015 needs to read this now. --Independent on SundayAn inside account of how the coalition was formed […] It is advice the Labour leader would be wise to take. --New Statesman[It] challenges conventional wisdom about the forming of the coalition. Anyone who might be near the leadership of the Labour Party in 2015 needs to read this now. --Independent on SundayAn inside account of how the coalition was formed […] It is advice the Labour leader would be wise to take. --New Statesman

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Book details

  • PDF | 208 pages
  • Andrew Adonis(Author)
  • Biteback Publishing; First Edition edition (6 May 2013)
  • English
  • 4
  • History

Review Text

  • By R. H. Yule on 30 June 2013

    This is a very readable, insider's account of the unsuccessful negotiations between the Labour and Lib Dem parties, following the last general election. At 180 pages, there is very little padding, which is commendable.Adonis seems to be motivated to go into print by a sense of frustration that the two parties who were closest in terms of political views, were unable to form a coalition, with the Lib Dems opting for what has been an uneasy and unnatural alliance with the Tories. I suspect in this, he underestimates the difficulties that the Lib Dems would have experienced in appearing to prop up a defeated government and an unpopular Prime Minister, at least in the short-term. Nevertheless, Adonis does make some credible points about the power imbalance within the current government.This felt like an interesting subject that needs a writer in a more objective position. Adonis was a participant who can only give a partial account.

  • By Rf And Tm Walters on 15 April 2014

    A useful view from the Labour side on the making of the coalition. This is a good book which will provide material for historians of the era. It is a well told story that demonstrates that the Libdems were intent in going in with the Conservatives whatever the cost, to their ultimate detriment.

  • By Andrew Billen on 28 July 2013

    Or, rather, one never offered Labour by Clegg. The pessimism inference to be drawn is that coalitions are hard to make work yet extremely likely in this political epoch.

  • By Jambro on 19 August 2013

    A behind the scene idea of went on between the election and the government being formed. Public needed to know

  • By David Herdson on 22 July 2013

    Andrew Adonis was quietly at the heart of the Blair and Brown governments, one reason why Gordon Brown chose him as a member of Labour's small delegation negotiating in the crucial days following the 2010 general election to keep their party in power. That therefore gave him a ringside seat from which to recount probably the most dramatic week in 21st Century British politics so far, which is what he does here.The majority of his book, telling the narrative of those five days (from the Friday immediately after the election, when the results were still coming in, to the Tuesday on which Cameron formed his new government), was written within a few weeks of the events they describe and have been published unaltered. This gives it a great sense of immediacy and you feel the emotions flow among the discussions, the intrigue, the fatigue and - particularly for Labour - the waiting and watching. The second, written much more recently, is Adonis' take on how the Coalition has fared and what lessons are to be learned from the events.Adonis writes well and the detail is impressive. What I took from it more than anything though was the scale of the delusion that Brown, Adonis and some others on the centre-left suffered from when trying to cobble together a government: again and again they see politics solely in terms of being pro- or anti-Tory without recognising that some - and in particular many Lib Dems - had at least as many differences with Labour as with the Conservatives. Indeed, they never really get beyond platitudes such as 'progressive' when trying to identify why Labour and the Lib Dems are natural allies and should form a coalition. That flawed analysis was clearly at the heart of Labour's failed attempt to hold on to power (time and again Brown talks about the numbers making a deal including the smaller parties possible, yet the only common factor between the parties was a common dislike of the Conservatives - there was virtually no suggestion of what it would have been a government *for*).As a record of those fraught days in May 2010, it makes an excellent companion to David Laws' '22 Days in May' (the other 17 being Laws' short time in office). It's less informative in terms of the talks than Laws' book as Labour was far less actively involved in them than the Lib Dems. Adonis does however relate well the frustration and concern within Number Ten as Labour's overtures are rebuffed, and then the growing realisation that a Con-Lib Dem deal is not only possible but likely. His was a ringside seat in more ways than one.The second part, analysing the fortunes of the coalition three years down the line, is more measured and thoughtful, looking back at that week and why Labour and Gordon Brown couldn't hold on, how the Lib Dems have changed, how they've fared in government, what opposition means for Labour and so on. It's an interesting extended essay in its own right.As a whole, this is a valuable contribution to the record of one of the defining weeks in British political history; one which will have consequences for years if not decades. To understand how politicians tick, how British politics operates, and why the UK ended up with the government it did, it's a good read; one that's inevitably partial (in both senses) but a fine companion and answer to Laws' earlier book and, perhaps, an insight into where a new Labour government would take the UK.

  • By SM Newman on 27 June 2013

    David Laws and others have given largely unchallenged accounts of the coalition negotiations. Here Andrew Adonis gives a riposte to critics of Labour's stance immediately after the election results. He argues, persuasively I think, that Labour was right to seek to cling on to power. His claim that the Lib Dem leadership is essentially a soft Tory clique is surely designed to discomfit Lib Dem activists who identify as social democrats. With polls hinting at another close election this is a thoughtful book coloured by intimate details of a heady few days in politics.

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