Posts Tagged ‘Butler book 2010’

Jonathan Todd reviews “The British General Election of 2010” by Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley

11/10/2010, 04:50:33 PM

“The characteristic virtue of Englishmen is power of sustained practical activity and their characteristic vice a reluctance to test the quality of that activity by reference to principles.”

So said R. H. Tawney. Whereas the mantra of Alicia Kennedy, Labour’s director of field operations, during this year’s general election was ‘where we work, we win’ – a eulogy to the power of sustained practical Labour activity. Now, we can test the quality of that activity by reference to a simple principle: did it secure Labour representation as effectively as it could have done?

Only now is it possible fully to answer this question. Because Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley have just published the 2010 edition of what used to be known as the ‘Butler book’.

Kavanagh and Cowley have ably stepped into the big shoes of David Butler, whose foreword to the 2010 volume means he has been involved in these election studies for 65 years. Cowley’s revolts project, which, though struggling for funding, has so far just about made into this parliament, has debunked many myths about backbench behaviour. This study of the 2010 general election is equally successful at disentangling hype from reality. (more…)

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