It's been a bumper year for political memoirs. The Blair and Mandelson books were better than most of their critics alleged. I enjoyed The End of the Party" Andrew Rawnsley's well written and exhaustively researched account of the demise of New Labour, but for my money Jonathan Powell's elegant little memoir The New Machiavelli takes the prize. Unlike most other New Labour courtiers Powell was at the centre of power from beginning to end. He is not a cynic. His purpose, he says, is to help "idealistic and optimistic people who come to office understand the reality of power can be wielded effectively." For a bit of fun I recommend Alan Clement's fast-paced novel, Rogue Nation, about the unexpected fall-out when a Tory government decides to concede Nationalist demands for an independent Scotland.
'Decline & Fall' the second volume of Chris Mullin's diaries was recently published by Profile.