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The Truth That Sticks: New Labour's Breach of Trust

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The Truth That Sticks: New Labour's Breach of Trust

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    Available in PDF Format | The Truth That Sticks: New Labour's Breach of Trust.pdf | English
    Martin Bell(Author)
This is a timely, heartfelt and tough analysis of Britain's New Labour years from a hugely respected journalist and former politician. It is destined to become the definitive critique of the Blair years. Martin Bell dissects scandals from Bernie Ecclestone to David Blunkett; explores Labour's contempt for democracy, electoral reform and cash-for-peerages; attacks the illegal and utterly disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq, and questions the deployment in Afghanistan - he visited both countries in the course of writing the book. He berates the government for its neglect of the victims of its wars, and the faith-based foreign policy behind their deployment. He describes the politicization of the Foreign Office and asks how an ethical foreign policy can be consistent with the continued use of cluster bombs. Behind much of this lies the descent of New Labour's media management skills into the telling of bald untruths in the face of overwhelming evidence. Wide-ranging and pulling no punches, "The Truth that Sticks" is a crushing analysis of Labour's decade of deception, dishonesty and abuse of power, delivered with precision and great passion. "The Truth that Sticks" is a book that only Martin Bell could have written.

"'A powerful look at the world's recent history' Kofi Annan 'Heartfelt, radical and original - Bell at his best' Guardian 'A powerful, riveting analysis of the world in the new century.' Scotsman 'A corcuscating account of the dangerous work of a war correspondent, replete with tales of Bell dodging, and in one case not dodging, bullets across the globe in order to bring us nightly news.' Independent"

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Book details

  • PDF | 294 pages
  • Martin Bell(Author)
  • Icon Books Ltd; 1st edition (6 Sept. 2007)
  • English
  • 8
  • History

Review Text

  • By William Podmore on 9 May 2008

    Martin Bell, the BBC reporter and Independent MP from 1997 to 2001, has written a scorching book on the Labour Party's record in government. Its 1997 election manifesto promised, "We will clean up politics. ... Our mission in politics is to rebuild this bond of trust between government and the people." But, as Bell writes, "on the issue on which it was elected, public trust in public life, its record was wholly, completely and unforgivably negative."Bell calls the House of Commons the `House of Ill Repute', describing the cash-for-peerages scandal, and the insult of state funding for parties. A government inquiry proposed an extra £23 million a year, on top of the current £5.6 million.He notes that the Prime Minister appoints members of the national assembly, and then preaches democracy abroad. He points out that the transitions between Thatcher and Major, and then between Blair and Brown, were not democratic. Bell concludes that Parliament is a rubber stamp for an all-powerful executive, and that the only worse system is the party list system used for elections to the European Parliament.Bell calls the illegal invasion of Iraq `the worst miscalculation by any British government in memory'. General Sir Michael Rose said, "Blair should be impeached." The war gave rise to the unprecedented Military Families Against the War. General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, said, "We should get ourselves out sometime soon, because our presence exacerbates the security problems." A British officer in Iraq said, "I'll tell you what this feels like. It feels like being a German in the Wehrmacht in France in the Second World War. We too are an occupation force."Bell has three chapters on the Iraq war, and chapters also on Labour's other unwinnable war in Afghanistan, on the EU's disgraceful role in the break-up of Yugoslavia, on the Labour government's long campaign to keep cluster bombs, and on its mean-spirited treatment of wounded and shell-shocked veterans. Even now, it is still defending the indefensible, the five-year war on Iraq.He notes that in May last year, Labour lost the Scottish election, which was a vote for honest politics, not a vote for the break-up of Britain. Two-thirds voted for the parties that oppose a break-up.Bell's book focuses on what he calls the driving issues of public trust in public life - the Iraq war and the sale of peerages. (I would add the broken promises of a referendum on the EU Constitution.)

  • By T. J. Hurrell on 6 January 2009

    An absorbing if sometimes depressing (due to the subject matter) read. After the first few chapters I began to realise how much I've been numbed by politicians' casual disregard for the offices they hold, to the extent that I've scarcely noticed recent flagrant breaches. One of things I think Bell does very well is to link this moral vacuity with the tragic consequences in Iraq and Afganistan. Cash for honours and sexed up documents are not victimless crimes. This is not a book about moral philosophy but about how the world is becoming a more dangerous place because politicians are becoming more insular and self serving. I don't agree with everything he says and in some chapters I'd have liked more detail (eg. Afganistan). Ultimately though it is a book that asks questions not only of our politicians but also of ourselves. What can we do ?

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