On the night of 7 May 2015, Ed Balls thought there was a chance he would wake up the next morning as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. Instead he woke up without a job.
For two decades he had occupied a central position within Labour, rising from adviser to Cabinet Minister during the years in power and Shadow Chancellor in Opposition. Throughout one of the most tumultuous periods in recent British history, he made a point of speaking out, whatever the consequences. But on that May morning, he was silenced.
Speaking Out is a record of a life in politics but also much more. It is about how power can be used for good and the lessons to be learned when things go wrong. It is about the mechanics of Westminster and of government. It is about facing up to your fears and misgivings and tackling your limitations - on stages public and private.
It is about the mistakes made, change delivered and personalities encountered over the course of two decades at the front line of British politics. It is a unique window into a rarely seen world. Most importantly, it explains what politics is about and why it matters.
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Much of the dialogue, for example, supposedly recalled verbatim, seems sticky with retrospective varnish. Rather, it is Balls’s frustration at what might have been said but was not – partly because the words wouldn’t always flow, but more because modern politics can be so unforgiving of candour – that has the poignant ring of truth.Read Full Review of Speaking Out: Lessons in Life... | See more reviews from Guardian