John Major: The Autobiography PDF/EPUB ë John Major:

John Major: The Autobiography A truly revealing and at times very humorous account of a man, who history and conventional wisdom have derided as the boring bloke between Thatcher and Blair Instead, John Major was in power for six and a half years, during which some of the most important events of the post Cold War era occurred and that s before you even consider the pivotal role he played in the latter years of the Thatcher government Understanding Major s take on those events then is vitally important, and this au A truly revealing and at times very humorous account of a man, who history and conventional wisdom have derided as the boring bloke between Thatcher and Blair Instead, John Major was in power for six and a half years, during which some of the most important events of the post Cold War era occurred and that s before you even consider the pivotal role he played in the latter years of the Thatcher government Understanding Major s take on those events then is vitally important, and this autobiography unlike his successor s at times barely readable dirge Journey Major s attempt is a serious and eloquent defence of his time in Number 10 All autobiographies are exercises in self justification, but some come closer than others to painting a well rounded picture of the context in which decisions were made, and how events unfolded This book is one of those few that succeeds I was lucky enough to be in London when I was reading this book The only problem was that I had been back in the States for 3 weeks before I finished it There was an extraordinary amount of detail that just didn t interest me i.e., Major went into an inordinate amount of detail when he talked about Cabinet reshuffles, giving me the names and personal history of every practically every cabinet member He also often got into too much details when talking about other political issues the mo I was lucky enough to be in London when I was reading this book The only problem was that I had been back in the States for 3 weeks before I finished it There was an extraordinary amount of detail that just didn t interest me i.e., Major went into an inordinate amount of detail when he talked about Cabinet reshuffles, giving me the names and personal history of every practically every cabinet member He also often got into too much details when talking about other political issues the monetary unit, economics in general, the Balkans, world summits, etc My mind too often just tuned it out While the book helped me to learn a lot about Major s premiership and the landscape of British politics, I was left wondering a lot about the British political system I know that Major assumed his audience would know this system, but I had many moments where I was in utter confusion Members of parliament can be elected to represent areas in which they don t live The Prime Minister determines when to call an election, and the only requirement is that it be nothan 5 years after a previous one There is no time between an election and the PM taking over, so a new PM is elected and takes over the next day As I was reading this, I was really hoping to be able to investigate all of these issues, but that made me start wondering how much of our American system I also don t understand I m sure there is a lot Yet, I think most Britons understand ours better than I understand theirs So, I have work to do Isn t it funny how tastes can change over the years I m not talking about books this time though I only started reading political memoirs over the last five years or so but I always had an interest in politics even as a kid When I was twelve I could name every member of Margaret Thatcher s Cabinet I grew up in a family of Labour voters with a cloud hanging over the policies of Thatcher, especially in Scotland So when John Major was Prime Minister, everyone I knew pretty much hated the Tories Isn t it funny how tastes can change over the years I m not talking about books this time though I only started reading political memoirs over the last five years or so but I always had an interest in politics even as a kid When I was twelve I could name every member of Margaret Thatcher s Cabinet I grew up in a family of Labour voters with a cloud hanging over the policies of Thatcher, especially in Scotland So when John Major was Prime Minister, everyone I knew pretty much hated the Tories and thought they didn t do anything good for the ordinary person It is funny that it is my political leanings that have changed over the years and that is why I love reading about the 1980 s and 1990 s Now I can objectively see what the government was trying to do and the policies, fights, scandalsit is interesting to read and look back In most memoirs, I don t find much interest in the childhood years and the family tree but I have to admit that John Major s upbringing was different from most MP s His parents worked as circus performers and music hall stars so it was a far from conventional family life, and he talks about his father s children from other women in and out of his marriages Major was the family stage name which was adopted for John and he stuck with it He entered politics as a Conservative councillor in Brixton, fighting the infamous Rivers of Blood speech and standing up to racist candidates This part of the book was interesting as it set the tone for what Major was determined to fight against His rise through politics was very speedy and Major himself regrets that it all came about too quickly Having secured one of the safest Conservative seats in Britain, he swept into Parliament His jobs included PPS, working in the whip department, Social Security, Minister for the Disabled, and bringing reforms to winter fuel payments When Major reached the Treasury, Nigel Lawson was the first MP opposing the infamous Poll Tax both economically and politically so as a Treasury official, Major was arguing against the policy I always find it interesting to see who was for and against the policy The chapters about these different jobs were fascinating as Major goes into detail what the job entailed, his duties and what was generally going on with the government at the time.John Major was getting surgery for a wisdom tooth at the time the plot to unseat Margaret Thatcher was beginning so he was not at Parliament when the plotting was in full swing but he still tells what he saw and heard through visitors and phone calls It was Thatcher who promoted him to a job he did not want as Foreign Secretary but just as he was getting settled there and starting to enjoy it, Nigel Lawson resigned as Chancellor and Major was shocked to suddenly be promoted to the job he had always wanted He admits that he would have likedtime in both jobs before suddenly being in the frame for Prime Minister He was chosen to lead the party and country by a lot of his peers and with the full blessing of Thatcher who believed that he would be her man and continue her policies She was to be mistaken There are chapters dedicated to all the main events in his years in power including the Poll Tax discussions, The first Gulf War, The Citizen s Charter, Maastricht Treaty, 1992 General Election win, Black Wednesday, the National Lottery, the Northern Ireland peace process, the summits, Balkan War, fighting allegations of Tory sleaze, his put up or shut up challenge to his backbenchers and the 1997 loss to Labour He details how Labour stole Tory policies and how Tony Blair copied ideas from Major s own speeches so it seems that the popular soundbites Blair used came often from Major s speeches Blair was often seen as a Red Tory and I m starting to see why The other thing that interested me was of course Major s love of reading, talking of books as cherished friends to be picked up again and again, a sentiment I certainly agree with I loved the detail in this book John Major explains each policy, what it was intended to do, how it was implemented, what went right or wrong It gives the reader a greater understanding of the policies and the political issues that were going on It goes very much behind the scenes of the fights and scandals and the battles with the Tory right over Europe that derailed the government and helped them to lose an election It was fascinating from start to finish yet written so that the ordinary person can understand even the most complex financial issues It was a brilliant read and my first five star book of the year A fascinating insight into the workings of government Covering both external politics as well as internal party wranglings it allows a deep insight into how policy is created and decided What can we agree on as a party, what will the electorate vote for as well as the additional expectation of international partners.It is easy to forget how many significant national and international events occured during John Major s time in cabinet and as Prime Minister He certainly had a huge amount to con A fascinating insight into the workings of government Covering both external politics as well as internal party wranglings it allows a deep insight into how policy is created and decided What can we agree on as a party, what will the electorate vote for as well as the additional expectation of international partners.It is easy to forget how many significant national and international events occured during John Major s time in cabinet and as Prime Minister He certainly had a huge amount to contend with.The book deals with major events at a time rather than solely being chronological so the sheer scale of these events unravels as the book progresses, for me a fascinating way of developing events.Reading this 20 years after publication the way he tried to ward off and prevent some of the divisive views and opinions that still cause huge division today is very interesting Could he have done things differently and driven better outcomes We will never know.Which ever side of the political divide you sit on, I think this is an excellent account of events As with any political biography it comes with the caveat of telling one person s perspective of events but it is well done.An excellent book For a book I didn t choose to read it was bought for me at a carboot I got on ok with it The only similar one I can compare it with was James Callaghan s memoir which I remember being equally favourably surprised by 25 years ago My sole criticism would be that it s not really an autobiography you don t get much about him in it You get a detailed account of the problems he faced and the decisions he made while he was Prime Minister You don t get any sense of why people picked him, or ho For a book I didn t choose to read it was bought for me at a carboot I got on ok with it The only similar one I can compare it with was James Callaghan s memoir which I remember being equally favourably surprised by 25 years ago My sole criticism would be that it s not really an autobiography you don t get much about him in it You get a detailed account of the problems he faced and the decisions he made while he was Prime Minister You don t get any sense of why people picked him, or how he felt It wouldn t inspire anyone to follow him Also, because he makes the pragmatic decision to deal with his time at the very top thematically rather than chronologically, which is obviously necessary for clarity, you don t get the sense of what it must have been like doing everything at the same time Otherwise, it gives his point of view on the issues of the day and stirs some memories which is what you want it to do twenty years on from when he left office This book is about John Major, the politician who took over from Maggie Thatcher as leader of the Conservative Party and British Prime Minister She had an intense focus, span her views well, but approached it from what was the extreme right of her party In many ways, she was the British Ronald Reagan, implementing many of his policies here.Major wasof a centrist, the sort of leader who wanted to get the trains to run on time In many ways he wassensible than his predecessor, but ha This book is about John Major, the politician who took over from Maggie Thatcher as leader of the Conservative Party and British Prime Minister She had an intense focus, span her views well, but approached it from what was the extreme right of her party In many ways, she was the British Ronald Reagan, implementing many of his policies here.Major wasof a centrist, the sort of leader who wanted to get the trains to run on time In many ways he wassensible than his predecessor, but had the misfortune of following a popular leader who had left in difficult circumstances with a rump in the party liking her, and better promotion from those around her.The book itself was an interesting book We do genuinely get a sense of where Major came from, what his vision of the future, and why he did whaat he did It s just the book is very dated now It was written in the late 1990s, and looked at things in a very 1990s way That might have been fine at the time, but 20 year later, you re going to be left feeling like you re looking at history, rather than a recent biography Considering the amount of detail and the size of book it was well written and really interesting It changed my views on John Major and definitely he is nothing like the picture we were presented with at the time by Spitting Image I m not a Conservative fan but he had some really interesting ideas philosophies and it is disappointing that so many of the MP s elected under the Conservative banner wereinterested in their own self importance rather than being willing to support the party Considering the amount of detail and the size of book it was well written and really interesting It changed my views on John Major and definitely he is nothing like the picture we were presented with at the time by Spitting Image I m not a Conservative fan but he had some really interesting ideas philosophies and it is disappointing that so many of the MP s elected under the Conservative banner wereinterested in their own self importance rather than being willing to support the party government that had got them elected in the first place The views, which may be biased, on New Labour are very interesting and it makes one wonder how they could so easily adopt Conservative policies as their own and get away with it.A good read Major s early life was extraordinary his rise through Parliament meteoric Soon a favourite of Margaret Thatcher, he became Foreign Secretary and then Chancellor of the Exchequer When Thatcher fell, he fought and won a shrewd campaign to succeed her I do like the memoirs of former Prime Ministers I was interested in John Major s book because I was too young to experience his government as it was in power, and remember very little about him except seeing him depicted on Spitting Image the peas are good tonight, dear.But crikey he had a rough ride Spotlight on a ConservativeThis is an interesting insight into recent history, the story of one man s moderate Conservatism and the origins of the split over Europe which had finally come to a great on Brexit Well worth a read.


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