Friends, Voters, Countrymen

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9780007119134: Friends, Voters, Countrymen

A lively, idiosyncratic, witty look at what is at the heart of our political process by a man who has crossed over from observer to activist, to become one of our newest members of parliament.

Boris Johnson, celebrated for his blonde thatch of hair as well as for his brilliant writing in the newspapers, and much liked for his appearances on television and radio, took notes throughout his period as prospective candidate and the election campaign. The result is a book that is lovely and fascinating, outspoken and funny, and yet raises real questions about the democratic process.

Have you ever wondered about becoming a Member of Parliament? Or why other people do? Or thought about the process of getting from being a regular person, through the selection procedure, to becoming that candidate for whom we may (or may not) vote? Or considered what the prospective parliamentary candidates do as they stump around the constituency – making speeches, kissing babies, knocking on front doors, providing newspaper copy? Or what difference it makes to us?

Boris Johnson has been a candidate in two elections. As a journalist, he is used to writing about politicians. But he decided that he should become one. Now he is himself being interviewed. So what does it feel like, with the tables turned? What made him decide to become an MP?

In his own inimitable style, Boris Johnson writes about his views on the role of MPs and their historical place: what they can achieve today. He comments on life on the stump, and the pleasure (mostly) of meeting voters, on political parties, current issues, and how to persuade people to vote – all interwoven with stories of what happened to him on his way to a meeting…

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Review:

Whatever you think of Boris Johnson's politics, it is hard to deny the man's ability to raise a chortle, as evidenced in Friends, Voters, Countrymen. Not content with gainful employment as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, editor of the Spectator and regular contestant on Have I Got News For You, Johnson decided to turn his hand to politics on the principle that side-swiping at those in positions of responsibility didn't amount to much if one never had to make political decisions oneself. And despite the self-deprecating indignities of the trawling campaign trail recounted here, Johnson clearly has no regrets in taking up the challenge. The book chronicles his failures and successes over the course of two general elections: from humiliating failure in Clwyd South to glorious victory in Henley-upon-Thames. There are many hilarious episodes: his rivalry with golden boy "Hezza", the unforgivable incident at the village jumble sale and the time when, out running in the rain, he is stopped by several young men who call him a c**t. He turns on them, rather pitifully protesting that "things are bad enough, and now you call me a c**t--why do you say that?" only to be met with the simple, arm-round-shoulder response: "face the fact that you're a c**t". Such is life in the public eye as one of the representatives of a great democracy. A light and delightful romp, this is a thoroughly enjoyable eye-opener for anyone who's ever wondered what it's like to get into politics and why on earth people do it. -- Rebecca Johnson

Review:

Ideal for reading in the bath... it will produce page after page of smiles. -- Daily Mail

If you ever wondered whether you might like a stab at parliament , read this book. -- Sunday Times

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Johnson, Boris
Published by HARPERCOLLINS (2001)
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Johnson, Boris
Published by HARPERCOLLINS (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007119135 ISBN 13: 9780007119134
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