Balls, and a Novel Approach to Political Research
ED BALLS revealed yesterday how he speed-read crime novels after Ed Miliband made him Shadow Home Secretary last year.
He said he was 'surprised' when the new Labour leader made him Home Affairs spokesman and not Shadow Chancellor last September.
But he attuned to his unexpected brief by devouring David Peace's The Red Riding Quartet, thrillers adapted into films shown on Channel 4 two years ago.
The admission by Mr Balls, finally promoted to Shadow Chancellor this month after Alan Johnson's resignation, has echoes of Mr Johnson's confession that he consulted an economics primer after he was surprisingly given the Treasury brief in September.
The Red Riding series has a backdrop of real serial murders, including the Yorkshire Ripper attacks, and is set in West Yorkshire, where Mr Balls has his Morley and Outwood seat. There are frequent references to police corruption and prostitution. In an interview yesterday, former Economic Secretary to the Treasury Mr Balls denied being 'hurt' at being initially denied the Shadow Chancellorship.
The move was seen as a sign of Mr Miliband's determination not to be overawed by Mr Balls, who was his senior when the two worked for Gordon Brown at the Treasury. …