Public Affairs

Danny Kennedy

A new series on politicians’ favourite books. Danny Kennedy’s favourite reads cover the thoughtful and entertaining, as well as the stories of a minister he admires and one with whom he disagreed.

107a The Bible

The Bible is probably the most important book for anyone to read and to learn about. It’s the guiding direction of my life, as a Christian. And I think it’s relevant. I think it deals with all manner of issues. I think it’s astonishing in its honesty and it’s clear in its message, and so that’s my number one choice.

107b A Life at the Centre

AUTHOR: Roy Jenkins

Roy Jenkins, his politics and his policies, I’m not saying that I always agreed with and would have endorsed but I think it’s a very well-written autobiography. It’s a great insight for people who are interested in politics to see how someone emerging from the Welsh mines, the son of a miner, can reach high political office and academia and all manner of things. A very interesting life and a very well documented account.

107c The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

I think the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations is an essential requisite. It’s one of those books that if you’re making a speech or you’ve a few remarks to say or there is a particular issue, it’s an important reference book.

107d Angels and Demons / The Da Vinci Code

AUTHOR: Dan Brown

I suppose for light relief, or for the beach or for the pool, that would be one of Dan Brown’s: either Angels and Demons or the Da Vinci Code. Again, I think there are people who have gone to considerable trouble to pick major holes in some of the research. I think it’s interesting but it’s probably interesting nonsense but, in terms of light relief, I have enjoyed at least three of the Dan Brown books.

107e Rab: The Life of R.A. Butler

AUTHOR: Anthony Howard

I love political biography. One of my political heroes is Rab Butler, who people of this generation will probably never had heard of but he was a leading Conservative politician through the 40s, 50s and 60s. He’s probably the best Prime Minister we never had, and it’s quite a story as to the reasons why he didn’t become Prime Minister upon the resignation of Harold Macmillan in 1963.

The political biography that I like about Butler is Anthony Howard’s – distinguished political commentator and journalist – and it shows Butler as a centrist politician, a man of consensus but also ultimately robbed of the top prize.

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