Something Heavy or the Novel Approach? It's a Tough Decision; POLITICIANS REVEAL WHAT'S ON HOLIDAY READING LISTS

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 6, 2011 | Go to article overview

Something Heavy or the Novel Approach? It's a Tough Decision; POLITICIANS REVEAL WHAT'S ON HOLIDAY READING LISTS


IF POLITICAL success depends on the art of creating a distinctive identity, choosing the right summer reading is a thorny challenge.

Too heavyweight and a politician can look out of touch, but too populist and he or she might just appear lightweight.

Labour leader Ed Miliband is unlikely ever to have intended to release the list of books he was photographed carrying last week.

His armful of serious-minded works included Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading, financial crisis work Fault Lines, Prosperity Without Growth by Tim Jackson, The Leader of the Pack... and more.

David Cameron's more scheduled release of his summer reading included Skippy Dies, a comic account of life at a Dublin Catholic public school and Simon Sebag Montefiore's Jerusalem: The Biography.

Welsh politicians are more likely to be found clutching great tomes on the history of civilisation, the evolution of the Supreme Court and the essence of Welshness.

Mick Antoniw, Labour AM for Pontypridd, hopes to find inspiration while on holiday with his family in Porthmadog and then in Ukraine.

As well as The State and Local Government by Peter Latham, he has with him a book of 1960s Ukranian poetry and Arthur Koestler's Darkness At Noon.

He said: "Based on the 1938 Stalinist show trials it is an amazing philosophical analysis of power, the abuse of power and the rationalisation of abuse.

"My copy has a foreword by the former vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Goronwy Rees, who I met several times in the 1970s and who at one stage was being suggested was part of the Cambridge spy ring."

Susan Elan Jones, Labour MP for Clwyd South, plans to reread the classic Wythnos Yng Nghymru Fydd by Islwyn Ffowc Elis, who came from the Ceiriog Valley in her constituency.

She said: "After the recess I will be on the committee of the Public Bodies Bill and will be proposing an amendment to take S4C out of the Bill.

"Islwyn's novel always reminds me how easily Welsh can decline as a community language and how policymakers who care about the language should remember this."

Wayne David, Labour MP for Caerphilly, is looking forward to digging into A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin, the first volume of a fantasy saga.

He said: "This should take my mind off Westminster for a couple of weeks. But having read one review which says that 'the characters are so venomous they could eat the Borgias', I'm not so sure."

Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, is one of the few packing a traditional page-turner. He hopes to pick up a few tricks of the trade from Val McDermid, Trick of the Dark, a murder mystery set around Oxford colleges.

He said: "When I cease to be an MP I want to write some books myself so I'm taking a whole pile of cheap thrillers with me... I'm thinking I may have one career left in me and that might be writing."

MPS' CHOICES WAYNE DAVID, LABOUR MP FOR CAERPHILLY: Mr David is taking Ed: The Milibands and the making of a Labour leader by Mehdi Hasan, James Macintyre. He said: "Now that Ed is emerging as a truly effective leader of the Labour Party it will be interesting to look back at the events of the past 12 months before we get ready for the next tumultuous 12 months when I reckon Ed will really make his mark."

SUSAN ELAN JONES, LABOUR MP FOR CLWYD SOUTH: "I am currently reading Roy Hattersley's excellent new biography of David Lloyd George - The Great Outsider. A beautifully -written biography of a man who became PM despite the odds."

JONATHAN EVANS, CONSERVATIVE MP FOR CARDIFF NORTH: His fiction choices are 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth. His non-fiction reading will include David Lloyd George - The Great Outsider by Roy Hattersley and Civilisation by Niall Ferguson. …

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