This article is from the December issue of Total Politics
“Men of power have no time to read; yet the men who do not read are unfit for power.”
You will find plenty to read on the topic of power in this issue. The above quote is by Michael Foot. Perhaps not the best example to follow to gain power, but as one of the finest orators in British politics, I’ll recommend his advice on this occasion.
Our cover interview (p52) is with a man who has enjoyed enormous power and craves it again. Amber and Caroline talked to Ed Balls for so long that he was late for his meeting with the party leader. He will never shake off his stereotype as a political bruiser, but he can be excellent company and we get him to relax and open up on much that is political and personal. Balls’ claim that he and Yvette don’t talk politics is a little hard to believe but he certainly knows his Americana – a trait he shares with his bête noire, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
George Osborne is extensively profiled by Simon McGee on p48. The future of both men seems bound together as we weather a period of enormous financial insecurity. As the most respected strategists in their respective parties, Balls and Osborne are the real powers behind their leaders’ thrones. Osborne has been carefully placing allies around the cabinet table and in wider government. Simon digs out some lovely details on this hugely ambitious figure and we again hear of his ambitions for the top job.
Elsewhere, we interview key backbenchers, Graham Brady and Tony Lloyd, who are both understated but crucial conduits between the two sources of party power, the leadership and backbenchers. And our ever-popular history section enjoys the considerable presence of Cardinal Wolsey, who makes our modern-day power-brokers look amateurish.
Finally, no coverage of power would be complete without Niccolò Machiavelli. The latest biography on the Italian is reviewed by Tristram Hunt. Power, both current and past, always makes compelling reading. I hope you enjoy our content of the strongest of political currencies.
Ben Duckworth, editor of Total Politics