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The political class has never been popular. Shakespeare wrote of 'scurvy politicians', while their shortcomings have been a staple of satire over the centuries, from Swift and Hogarth to Spitting Image and Steve Bell. And in recent years the political class has given its opponents plenty of ammunition, with 'cash for questions', Tony Blair accused of misleading the public over Iraq, and then the expenses scandal producing anger and criticism on a hitherto unkwn scale. We may have a low opinion of politicians but we can't do without them, andhere Peter Riddell, for decades one of the most astute and respected of all observers of the Westminster scene, presents the case for their defence, offering a series of recommendations for rehabilitating the political class in the eyes of voters. This is a thought-provoking, entertaining and acutely observed defence of politicians, at a time when they need it more than ever before.
Peter Riddell is a familiar political commentator, both through his columns in The Times and his presentation of BBC Radio 4's The Week in Westminster. His books include Hug Them Close: Blair, Clinton, Bush and the 'Special Relationship' - winner of the Channel 4 Political Book of the Year in 2005 - and The Unfulfilled Prime Minister: Tony Blair's quest for a legacy.