"Why the hell have you come to a place like this" These are the words of a twelve-year-old pupil upon meeting one of the Prime Minister's key strategists in the playground. Why has Peter Hyman, the Prime Minister's chief speechwriter, swapped the corridors of power for the corridors of a tough inner-city comprehensive? And would ten years at the heart of Westminster politics be adequate training for a new life in the classroom? Peter is thrown in at the deep end. He has to cope with a child trying to escape out of a sixth-floor window, a detention room full of disruptive children and a staff room of teachers hostile to many of New Labour's reforms. This is an insider's account of leadership - a Prime Minister and a Head Teacher. What makes someone want that kind of responsibility? And what makes them good at it? It is also an exploration of change, whether it's a political party, a school, an individual or a country. It is often said that politicians and their advisors have no idea what the 'real world' iis like. After Peter Hyman's jolt of reality, both his view of politics and his own priorities have been surprisingly reshaped.
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'An insightful book, a sharp account of his time at the heart of Downing Street.' -- Observer, Andrew Rawnsley
'Essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the shape of New New Labour.' -- Independent on Sunday, John Rentoul
'Intelligent and readable.' -- Finantial Times, Philip Stephens.
One of the best inside analyses of this era so far...rapier-sharp -- Polly Toynbee
‘Clear-sighted, sincere, analytical…Brims with valuable insights into secondary education’ -- The Guardian
Peter Hyman has been an advisor to Tony Blair since 1994, first in opposition and then for seven years in government. He was Head of the Strategic Communications Unit at Number 10 from 2001 to 2003, and was the Prime Minister's chief speechwriter. He was previously an advisor to the late Donald Dewer MP and to Gordon Brown MP. He now works at Islington Green School. Married with two children, he lives in London.
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