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Peter Hain has always spoken his mind. So he does in this book. Here he tells his story as an outsider turned insider: anti-apartheid militant to Cabinet minister, serving twelve years in Labour's government between May 1997 and May 2010. Growing up as the son of courageous anti-apartheid South Africans, Peter Hain was first in the public eye aged fifteen, reading at the funeral of an anti-apartheid friend hanged in Pretoria. Living in exile in Britain during his late teens, he led campaigns to disrupt whites-only South African sports tours. His political notoriety resulted in two extraordinary Old Bailey trials and a letter bomb. Hain recalls his role in negotiating the historic 2007 settlement in Northern Ireland, being Britain's first-ever African born Africa Minister, and acting as a passionate advocate and deliverer of devolved government to Wales. Featuring Iraq, Mugabe, Europe, Gibraltar, blood diamonds, work alongside MI5 and MI6, and the delivery of justice for workers robbed of their pensions and compensation for sick miners, Hain's autobiography gives a fascinating insight into life near the top of the Blair and Brown governments.
disorganised – though pointed in the right direction or given a platform, they can perform, maybe even brilliantly. To be an effective whip you have to be an organiser. To illustrate this role I was asked to fly to Cape Town for a few days in November 1996 by friends in the African National Congress. Then two years into Nelson Mandela’s new government, the ANC’s former freedom fighters were finding it hard to adjust from struggling against the state to running it: where they had been steeped in
as freeing up border controls and air access – matters which had for so long caused such antagonism towards Spain. Madrid had good reason to believe, however, that Gibraltar would simply pocket such concessions and remain inflexible on the constitution. Caruana then took me on a wander down Main Street, something traditionally done by visiting British Ministers. I was immediately recognised with ‘don’t sell us out’ exhortations. When I later saw the former Chief Minister and Labour Party
envelope. The historic post of Lord Chancellor was yanked out, creating a Lord Speaker to preside over the Lords and establishing a Supreme Court, with an independent judicial commission to appoint judges instead of the Prime Minister. These radical and progressive reforms were very welcome to reformers like me, but the whole thing was rushed out without proper explanation or expert attention. Perhaps the post-Iraq invasion fiasco was infecting No. 10’s operation more deeply. All this,
Police chiefs over a potential political embarrassment if a mistake was made in charging a public figure. But he had no proof and so had no basis for pursuing it. If BOSS (or perhaps a British intelligence source) did phone the Yard as Winter described then this could be the elusive factor in those key hours when the decision was finally made to proceed against me. It would make sense of Dundon’s conversation with the detective, of the lengthy delay while consultations took place, and of the
and Sino experts, including Ramsay MacDonald’s daughter Sheila Lochead, with whom I got on well. Then sprightly in her seventies, she told me tales of life as a young girl in No. 10. When we were first introduced she had described herself as ‘Malcolm MacDonald’s sister’. I immediately thought of the Newcastle United and England footballer of the same name and blurted this out to general hilarity, the rest of the learnt group well aware her brother was a distinguished former British Ambassador to