Football, Kindles and Jeffrey Archer: Justin Tomlinson MP

Written by Justin Tomlinson MP on 24 April 2013 in Culture
The Tory MP for North Swindon reveals his reading habits - and writing ambitions

This article is from the May 2013 issue of Total Politics

Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Syzmanski – a surprising choice, but I’m a football stat geek. Written with an economist’s brain, it challenges all excepted wisdom in football. Now I understand why my team seems to lose so much…

What’s your least favourite?

Beyond the Crash by Gordon Brown – would’ve saved a lot of trees if he’d simply apologised.

Whom would you like to write a political biography about?

Stanley Baldwin, while prime minister in the 1920s and 1930s, showed an almost contemporary grasp of the art of the political campaign. As a keen, prolific campaigner myself, I can take much from him and his remarkable ability to create a consensus in society.

What was your favourite children’s book?

The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher.  Set 100 years in the future, yet Earth had retreated to seemingly medieval ways. Ticked all the boxes for me as a teenager, embracing sci-fi, technology and terror.

What’s the most inspiring book you’ve ever read?

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs, a mix of the book and the BBC drama series with the late Ian Richardson.

It really captured my imagination of the world of politics. I remember then telling my careers teacher that I would love to be an MP, who then calmly explained there was no chance of that ever happening.

What’s your favourite political novel?

First Among Equals by Jeffery Archer sparked my appetite for the cut and thrust of politics. For all his faults, Archer can create a cracking rollercoaster read.

Name the most significant book of the last decade

While not technically a book, I will say the Kindle.  As chair of the Libraries APPG, the switch to e-reading is having a profound impact on libraries and traditional bookshops.

What would you like to write a book about?

Robert Buckland MP, with whom I share an office, if for no reason other than I have lots of amusing stories (invariably involving his lateness for everything), and I’m sure he’d be very grateful… I’d probably enjoy writing a book on political campaigning, though the art of canvassing is unlikely to trouble the best sellers’ charts.

Which fictional character would you be?

Roy of the Rovers.

Justin Tomlinson is the Conservative MP for North Swindon

Tags: Brought to book, Issue 58, Justin Tomlinson MP, May 2013

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