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How Westminster Works . . . and Why It Doesn't

On sale

13th April 2023

Price: £18.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399602730

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British politics is broken.

Anyone sitting down to watch the news will get the sense that something has gone terribly wrong. We have prime ministers who detonate the economy, secretaries of state who are intellectually incapable of doing the job and MPs who seem temperamentally unsuited to the role. Expertise is denigrated. Lies are rewarded. And deep-seated, long-lasting national problems go permanently unresolved. Most of us have a sense that the system doesn’t work, but we struggle to articulate exactly why. Our political and financial system is cloaked in secrecy, archaic terminology, ancient custom and impenetrable technical jargon.

Lifting the lid on British politics, How Westminster Works . . . and Why It Doesn’t exposes every aspect of the system in a way that can be understood and challenged, from the heights of Downing Street to the depths of the nation’s newsrooms, from the hallways of the civil service to the green benches of the Commons.

Based on interviews with some of the leading voices in politics, from former occupants of No.10 to key figures in Whitehall, Westminster and Fleet Street, Ian Dunt provides exactly what people in power have always tried to avoid: a full description of the mechanisms of British government. And a vision of how we can fix it.


Ian Dunt is an acute observer of what's gone wrong with our politics and why
Charlotte Ivers, THE TIMES
Dunt has spent years watching Westminster and his book offers a comprehensive analysis of the problems with these institutions . . . an elegant primer for those who wish to understand how power actually operates in Britain . . . far scarier than any conspiracy theory
Harry Lambert, NEW STATESMAN
Excellent . . . Dunt's analysis is refreshingly focused on reality, rather than academic abstraction. When he advocates change, it is because his book has shown how an existing set of incentives is ensuring failure. Read it and you will see just how deep our problems run
Thrilling, searing and scathing, but ultimately hopeful that our political system can be rescued from the quagmire that it currently is. How Westminster Works is as gripping as it is brutal
Hugely entertaining and informative . . . razor sharp. How Westminster Works reveals the rot beneath the veneer of our much venerated parliament and organs of state. A must read for anyone who cares about British politics, where we are at and where we should be going
British politics, Dunt argues with his trademark insight and incisive wit, is broken. And it doesn't help that the way Westminster actually works is shrouded in secrecy. Here he exposes the truth behind our political systems in a rousing call to arms
A blistering account of the irrationality and sheer absurdity of Britain's dysfunctional political system. Forensic and unflinching, Dunt lays bare the failings of the Westminster machinery, and picks through the wreckage to identify what needs to change to give us a fighting chance of decent governance. If you want to understand why this country is in such an alrighty mess - and what we might do to fix it - read this book
In clear, reasonable tones Ian Dunt lays out why we should all be bloody furious at how badly British politics serves us. Parliament, parties, the media, the civil service and the law are all shatteringly exposed as rusted vehicles of inactivity, where long-term thinking is a dirty idea. How Westminster Works is both an articulate wail of lament and a rousing call to arms
The inner workings of Westminster are undeniably important, but making them interesting takes talent - commentators like Ian Dunt are rare and valuable things
A devastating diagnosis of how Britain's political engine has broken down. Everyone in Westminster should read it
With typical incision, wit and flair, Ian Dunt masterfully deconstructs and skewers our corrosive political culture. An indispensable analysis of how we got into this mess
A brilliant, surgical book. Ian Dunt is so good at opening up scandals that we ignore because they seem too complicated, bringing them alive and making us furious about them. How Westminster Works is an angry and clear exposition of a system that doesn't make sense
Kathryn Hughes, GUARDIAN
lacerating . . . a savage indictment of the status quo. In a series of deeply informed and carefully worked out examples, Ian Dunt takes us through the Westminster labyrinth to reveal an omnishambles