On the night of 7 May 2015, Ed Balls thought there was a chance he would wake up the next morning as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. Instead he woke up without a job.
For two decades he had occupied a central position within Labour, rising from adviser to Cabinet Minister during the years in power and Shadow Chancellor in Opposition. Throughout one of the most tumultuous periods in recent British history, he made a point of speaking out, whatever the consequences. But on that May morning, he was silenced.
Speaking Out is a record of a life in politics but also much more. It is about how power can be used for good and the lessons to be learned when things go wrong. It is about the mechanics of Westminster and of government. It is about facing up to your fears and misgivings and tackling your limitations - on stages public and private.
It is about the mistakes made, change delivered and personalities encountered over the course of two decades at the front line of British politics. It is a unique window into a rarely seen world. Most importantly, it explains what politics is about and why it matters.
If you couldn't stand this man when he was in politics, as I couldn't, all the more reason to listen. Ironically, I'd have him back in politics in an instant in 2017. Bit late now...
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Normally like books narrated by he writer but for me Ed's voice actually spoiled it. May try it as a book sometime but have returned the audiobook.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Where does Speaking Out rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
A frank account of life before, in and after politics. This rates as one of the most interesting audio books I have heard so far.
What other book might you compare Speaking Out to, and why?
Similar to other political biographies from Blair, Brown etc although this had a more humanistic approach.
What about Ed Balls’s performance did you like?
Good if a little frenetic at times.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Yes and it made me thoughtful.
Any additional comments?
Overall a very enjoyable and entertaining read.
I never really cared too much for Ed in his political career.
This book paints Ed in a whole new light to me.
What a fair and reasoned guy.
He should have been PM!
Most enjoyable and interesting. Very informative about politics and being an MP and Minister and also very easy to listen to. The chapters were divided up into well thought out themes. Thank you Ed Balls. I wish you were advising the present government!
Ed Balls gives an interesting if slightly sterile account of his time at Westminster. He is underrated both as a politician and as an academic. This book goes some way to putting that right.
A must read for anyone with an interest in the political history of Britain over the last quarter of a century.
A frank, at times very personal, look at the author's own career; Balls explains his thinking at the time and now with hindsight on some of the most important events in modern British politics; from Clause 4 to Brexit.
A great book, insightful and theoretically well informed. A super blend of political insight, economic theory and immense humanity. I felt that I knew Ed Balls by the end and would love to go to Harvard to hear his lectures!
More philosophical and certainly not the memoir I expected. The book is an enjoyable read and worth a listen if not for his personal insights in to life. informative on the more human side of politics. His narration is a nice change from the norm.
the ground covered by the book is wider and more varied and his head on approach is different from that I saw in the short tv and Commons exposure. I agree with far more of what he is saying in the book than I thought I would. Labour especially has lost a vital member from the benches I wish there were more like him.
I listened to all the book and had members of the family listen to a number of extracts that were amusing and or unexpected. I have recommended it to friends who like me have worked with local and national politicians as one of the people we would have appreciated rather than suffered.