The Books That Inspire the People Who Govern Us; as Assembly Members Continue to Enjoy Their Long Summer Break, Senedd Correspondent David Williamson Asked Them about Their Favourite Holiday Reads - and Uncovered an Eclectic List Running from the Bible and James Joyce's Ulysses to Stephen King and Watership Down

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 28, 2008 | Go to article overview

The Books That Inspire the People Who Govern Us; as Assembly Members Continue to Enjoy Their Long Summer Break, Senedd Correspondent David Williamson Asked Them about Their Favourite Holiday Reads - and Uncovered an Eclectic List Running from the Bible and James Joyce's Ulysses to Stephen King and Watership Down


Byline: David Williamson

BESTSELLERS, the Bible and political treatises are among the works which have shaped the minds of the men and women elected to the National Assembly for Wales.

A survey of AMs by the Western Mail reveals that a novel's power to grip the imagination can do as much to shape a person's political opinions as any polemic.

Conservative Assembly leader Nick Bourne is inspired by Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird.

The novel has fascinated millions of readers with its indictment of racial injustice, and in Atticus Finch features one of the most heroic portrayals of a lawyer in world literature.

Mr Bourne, who studied law at Aberystwyth and Cambridge, also recommended that AMs read Barack Obama's memoir Dreams from My Father. Written long before today's Democratic presidential candidate had entered politics, it is an astonishingly candid account of a young black man coming to terms with his identity in modern America.

When asked which works had had the greatest impact on how she viewed the world, Labour Health Minister Edwina Hart said: "The poetry that came out of World War One affected me more than anything else I read when I was younger."

She encourages politicians wanting to relax in the weeks before the new Assembly term begins to do so by reading Jane Austen.Her favourite of her books is Emma.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Mike German's life was changed when he read On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. This 1859 work powerfully calls for the freedom of individuals to lead lives unfettered by the power of the state.

He is also an admirer of Mr Obama's more recent book, The Audacity of Hope, in which he outlines his political vision.

The beliefs of Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly, were shaped by James Joyce's Ulysses and its "devastating critique of narrow nationalism".

He recommended that AMs read Sir Clough Williams-Ellis's Portmeirion: The Place & Its Meaning, describing it as "a marvellous account of a magical place, both ecologically serious and so light and pleasurable."

Labour Sustainability Minister Jane Davidson, a former English teacher, highlighted two books which changed her perception of life.She said: "For feminism, it was probably The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing; for socialism, Germinal by Emile Zola.

She is currently reading Resistance by Owen Sheers, which portrays a Britain occupied by Nazis.

She said: "It's wonderful for the sheer poetry of the language as well as the evocative Welsh landscape. I would strongly recommend it."

The writings of Irish socialist James Connolly - a leader in the Easter Rising of 1916 - have had greater impact on Labour Social Justice Minister Brian Gibbons than those of any other writer.

He believes Welsh politicians would do well to use the remaining weeks of recess to read The State We're In by Will Hutton.

"The book is not perfect in many respects but it has some good insights into the working of contemporary political economy," he said.

William Graham, Conservative AM for South Wales East, was influenced by Charles Dickens's David Copperfield - "A story of triumph in adversity".

His favoured swashbuckling summer reading is The Golden Ocean by Patrick O'Brian.

Dai Lloyd, a Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West who is also a lay preacher, said the books which had influenced him most was "the Bible and anything by Gwynfor Evans".

The late nationalist leader also fascinates Conservative South Wales Central AM David Melding.

He commends Rhys Evans's recent work, Gwyn for Evans: Portrait of a Patriot, for late recess reading.

Mr Melding said the book that made the most major impact on his life - alongside the Bible and the works of Shakespeare - was Michael Oakeshott's On Human Conduct. The British philosopher wrestled with the concept of the state and is considered one of the most influential contributors to Conservative thought in the 20th century. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Books That Inspire the People Who Govern Us; as Assembly Members Continue to Enjoy Their Long Summer Break, Senedd Correspondent David Williamson Asked Them about Their Favourite Holiday Reads - and Uncovered an Eclectic List Running from the Bible and James Joyce's Ulysses to Stephen King and Watership Down
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.