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May 13, 2008



My brother owns a copy of Ministers Decide - and though he could easily have peeled off the remainder bookshop's (massive) discount sticker, for some reason he thought it was a good idea to retain it.

(I've only skimmed it, and wasn't minded to delve deeper).

I do have a very soft spot for Fowler, though, for his heroic stint as chairman of the Tory Party during one of their worst by-election runs ever. He regularly had the appallingly thankless task of (a) assuring the likes of Paxman, Snow and Dimbleby that the Tories were heading for a spectacular comeback and the polls were simply lying and then, after the party suffered a record-breaking landslide loss, (b) seamlessly switching into post-mortem mode, as though (a) had never happened. It takes a certain élan to do that, even if it was never displayed in his memoirs.


I've been reading Edwina Currie's diaries recently. They're a bit strange - she of course didn't even make the Cabinet, and the main point of the book was to reveal her affair with Major, which is never actually explictly said (he's called 'B' for much of it). Most fun comes from the footnotes which in sections when she is looking forward to post-resignation Directorships, or similar, dryly say something like 'In fact EC was never offered any directorships of public companies', 'in fact her majority fell'.


By the way, wasn't Ministers Decide taken from a quote by Mrs Thatcher, when she was pressed on her relationship with and the relationship between Alan Walters and Nigel Lawson - i.e. advisors advise.

Oliver Kamm

That's right: she was interviewed by Brian Walden after Lawson's resignation, and her mantra was "advisers advise; ministers decide".


Almost (I've looked this up) she repeated it in her Walden interview but she was quoting herself in PMQs in response to a Neil Kinnock question.

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