Gordon, Dave -- Take a Leaf out of Barack's Book

The Evening Standard (London, England), August 14, 2009 | Go to article overview

Gordon, Dave -- Take a Leaf out of Barack's Book


Byline: Sebastian Shakespeare

WHAT will you be reading on your holiday? David Cameron says he always starts with "a really trashy novel. You need something to completely empty your mind and take you back." Back where, precisely? This anti-intellectualism comes across as a tad disingenuous -- the equivalent of Harold Wilson's avowed preference for beer over champagne.

Will Cameron ever get round to telling us what trashy novel he read when he returns from his sun lounger? It could cost him votes, so don't count on it. Before his departure, his aides implied that it might be the latest thriller from Patricia Cornwell. But there are far better contenders for trash if Cameron really wanted to empty his mind: take Jeffrey Archer or Jackie Collins. Perhaps the reason for Dave's coyness is that last year he was ridiculed when he gave his MPs a reading list of 37 titles, which included a book by his Etonian contemporary David Runciman, a memoir by Cameron's OE cousin Ferdinand Mount, and no fewer than two books about another famous OE, Boris Johnson. No wonder the Tory leader is so keen to establish his demotic credentials this year: "trash" and "twat" are his bywords of the summer.

Gordon Brown, our most bookish PM since Winston Churchill, has also been unusually coy about his holiday reading this year. …

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