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Kind of Blue
Title : Kind of Blue
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : null
Language : English
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 528

Ken Clarke needs no introduction. One of the genuine 'Big Beasts' of the political scene, during his forty-six years as the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire he has been at the very heart of government under three prime ministers. He is a political obsessive with a personal hinterland, as well known as a Tory Wet with Europhile views as for his love ofKen Clarke needs no introduction. One of the genuine 'Big Beasts' of the political scene, during his forty-six years as the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire he has been at the very heart of government under three prime ministers. He is a political obsessive with a personal hinterland, as well known as a Tory Wet with Europhile views as for his love of cricket, Nottingham Forest Football Club and jazz. In Kind of Blue, Clarke charts his remarkable progress from working-class scholarship boy in Nottinghamshire to high political office and the upper echelons of both his party and of government. But Clarke is not a straightforward Conservative politician. His position on the left of the party often led Margaret Thatcher to question his true blue credentials and his passionate commitment to the European project has led many fellow Conservatives to regard him with suspicion - and cost him the leadership on no less than three occasions.Clarke has had a ringside seat in British politics for four decades and his trenchant observations and candid account of life both in and out of government will enthral readers of all political persuasions. Vivid, witty and forthright, and taking its title not only from his politics but from his beloved Miles Davis, Kind of Blue is political memoir at its very best.

Kind of Blue Reviews

  • Faith Jones

    When you’ve done everything you can over your allotted span, life of course ends but the eternal reward isn’t quite what you think, you who are convinced you’re right about your Nirvana, hovering Heaven, rousting Valhalla, forty bored virgins siting about, leafy Elysium or mythical golf links. No. What really happens is not a one size fits all solution that clogs up the fairway because, as everyone knows deep down in their innermost soul, thank you gifts are always best when they are perso [...]

  • Ian Brydon

    Kenneth ‘Ken’ Clarke is currently the Father of the House of Commons, being the longest sitting current member (He was first sworn in as an MP on the same day on 1970 as Dennis Skinner, but takes the honour of being Father of the House because he took the oath of allegiance to the Queen before the ‘Beast of Bolsover’). He has represented the same constituency (Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire) throughout the whole of his time as an MP, and during that period he has held several ministerial [...]

  • Oscar Despard

    I began to read this book because of my admiration for the politics which Ken Clarke has espoused; I finished it with that feeling hugely strengthened by this fascinating autobiography, detailing his decades-long political career. ‘Kind of Blue’ is consistently engaging and enjoyable, with Clarke being humorous and candid throughout. He shatters illusions about himself, other political figures (such as Margaret Thatcher and Jean-Claude Juncker) and the important political issues of his time, [...]

  • Simon Zohhadi

    The title of Ken Clarke's autobiography Kind Of Blue describes his political position within the Conservative Party. He was an admirer of Thatcher but was never a Thatcherite. He is a one-nation Liberal Conservative. Clarke was the last Chancellor of the Exchequer to raise income tax, he is pro-European, he opposed the Gulf War and advocated more liberal reforms in sentencing and prisons. Ken Clarke was quite a popular politician with cross-over appeal who rightly believed (in my opinion) that t [...]

  • Jane Griffiths

    An accomplished, and at times very interesting, political memoir from a politician who said he would never write a memoir. No surprises here, but why would there be, from one of the few politicians of any party who is instantly recognisable by the public, and whose views are well known by everyone – or so we the public think. There is a bit too much I Was Right All Along, but you always get that with political memoirs. Ken Clarke seems, it emerges from this book, to have been oddly distant fro [...]

  • Phil

    Ken Clarke is one of those old-school politicians whose image is no image, very carefully maintained. His famously cavalier approach to his personal appearance, his forthrightness and self-deprecation, have made him one of the few immediately-recognisable Members of the U.K. Parliament for almost the whole of the 47 years in which he has sat there, and certainly since he entered the Cabinet in the 1980s. A liberally-minded, pragmatic Conservative, he is a very attractive figure, liked by almost [...]

  • Richard

    Ken Clarke is a politician I’ve always largely agreed with despite never voting for his party, so I hoped to learn in this autobiography how we could end up on different sides. He does turn out to be slightly different than I’d imagined - much more of a free market ideologue than a ‘wet’, and surprisingly lacking in empathy for the poor. So he doesn’t arrive at his political views out of the set of values I’d hoped to find. Nevertheless, I think he’s right about almost everything!T [...]

  • Jakey Gee

    Read as part of project ‘Understand the Right’ - an occasional series. Generally a little underwhelming and flakey. One of the things I look forward to in autobiographies and biographies is the formative story and the early years; one of the things I loved about the Charles Moore Thatcher Volume 1 was the emergence of this odd, particular character. Here, we’re at Ken Clarke’s selection as an MP within the first dozen pages, it feels, with little of that foundation. There’s a sense, ev [...]

  • Hasan

    Ken Clarke started his political activism in the early sixties to campaign for Britain to join the then EC (EU), he is now towards the end of his political career watching Britain embark on possibly the most critical moment in its history with Brexit. Clarke has been opposed to Brexit, and is still advocating the need for a softer Brexit, as the final chapter highlights.A political giant over a career spanning 50 years, an advocate of One Nation Conservatism, a passionate Tory Europhile and some [...]

  • Harry Buckle

    As an author there must be a nervous frisson of fearful anticipation of possible retribution when you mark a book down as simply terrible. But long serving Conservative politician Clarke,who I had always noted with a degree of approval, was a relatively casually dressed Jazz fan, and a seemingly affable blokey has with this appalling book turned himself into a self opinionated, self serving, credit claiming, ghastly figure deserving of disdain.I even supported / still support some of the policie [...]

  • Jim Bowen

    This is an interesting biography or Ken Clarke, on of the more liberal Conservatives to hold high office in the UK in the last 30 years or so.The book itself is readable I found, because I think that Clarke assumes the read doesn't want the minutiae of political arguments that were fought out 20 years or so ago, or what his childhood was like in too much detail. He would simply note that the argument (or element of his life) was about this or like that, before going on to explain why he did the [...]

  • Nigel Fletcher

    A highly enjoyable meander through Ken Clarke's long and successful career, told with his characteristic cheerful good humour. Historic events and political crises bounce off him without leaving a scratch, as he continues his untroubled rise to the heights of British politics. Those seeking agonised soul-searching and pensive reflections on the future of humanity will be disappointed - this is the relaxed memoir of a man who seems contented with his lot in life and his place in history, generall [...]

  • Peter Wanless

    An extremely readable canter through Ken Clarke’s perspective on political events of the last forty years or so. He and I overlapped in the Treasury in the wake of the ERM crisis and when he was introducing NHS reforms whilst I was in John Major’s office. His and Ken Baker’s education reforms also survived strongly through the Blunkett years when I was at Education. So this was mostly familiar stuff. A politician who has stuck to his principles, whether you agree with them or not, he is no [...]

  • Andy Regan

    Really enjoyed this political tour de force from such a major Westminster figure, with some half a century in Parliament completed.Clarke's passion is clearly problem-solving and the practical side of political management rather than ideological musings. Having been at the forefront of Thatcher and Major cabinets - and to some extent Cameron's - his wide-ranging experience in a range of ministries, from health to education and justice to the treasury, reveals a determination to take on vested in [...]

  • Andrew Pratley

    I have always been a big Ken Clarke admirer. He is one of my favorite politicians. I also identify with him in many ways not least in his political views. The book is a good read though with many insights that are worth noting. His descriptions regarding his time of the government of Margaret Thatcher is quite illuminating. It is also good on Tory divisions & reception on Europe especially on those regarding the Maastrict Treaty. What it lacks as a book is a bit of spice. The book is affable [...]

  • Hubert Han

    Clarke describes his political outlook as laissez-faire with a social conscience - much like how he describes his political stardom as almost breezy with a dose of dogged determination. Like Clegg, he is a technocrat with some strongly held principles. It is a pity that both have been maligned and misunderstood as a result of them not pursuing irresponsibly populist policies while in government.While enjoyable, much of the memoir was unilluminating recounting of hitherto known events, with the k [...]

  • David Lindley

    An interesting record of the life of a working class family who, because of education, enjoyed social mobility by becoming a barrister, career politician, then businessmanGenerally an enjoyable read, but clearly he is a Europhile who doesn’t agree with the use of referenda (although the vote in to the then European Economic Community was not viewed as problematic). Plenty of travel, lunching, dining and drinking at taxpayers expense, but, respectfully, no philandering. He is very honest when d [...]

  • Les Dangerfield

    A very interesting romp through the last fifty years of British politics by one of the more honest and entertaining Politicians of my lifetime. He is, naturally, I suppose, consistently very convinced of the positive impacts of his achievements in the various ministerial positions he has held - so he blows his own trumpet a bit. However, there can't be many people who have held such an array of government posts in recent times. I hadn't realised that it was he who, as Minister of Education, gave [...]

  • Jonny Medland

    An enjoyable (if limited) political biography, which was perfectly priced at £1.99 on Kindle. The most insightful chapters are on the 1979-97 Tory government, where the breadth of Clarke's ministerial experience gives some good insights on public service reform (e.g. how contentious even obviously necessarily changes were) and the nature of the Thatcher and Major premierships. The early years are rather lost in a fog of what the author sees as an inevitable rise to ministerial office. To be fai [...]

  • Sunil

    A long political career is covered in quite a short space of time. All the major incidents of the day and the very many political appointments are covered. Ken Clarke mentions his relationships with his colleagues but doesn’t say too much that is controversial. His passion for the European project is evident. I would have liked a bit more about what the prime ministers he worked under were actually like.

  • Moodleprof

    Acceptable face of ConservatismAs a lifelong Labour supporter I've been privileged to have followed virtually all of the political span that this book covers. I've always had a secret admiration for Ken Clarke and liked his affable character and his political performance; indeed, often wondered why he was a Tory. I very much enjoyed this book and feel rather sad that, in this post-Brexit UK, we'll not have his political wisdom and experience. He will be greatly missed.

  • Mark Taylor

    Quote: "David Cameron's chancer-like gamble taken for tactical, internal, party management reasons turned out to be the worst political mistake made by any British Prime Minister in my lifetime." Well said Ken. An excellent entertaining memoir very well read by the author himself. Good to hear a bit of common sense on the referendum issue but also lots of detail from a great political career- and a son of Nottinghamshire to boot.

  • Suzi Stembridge

    This is the kind of book which makes you thankful that there are, or is it were, some people in a parliament that still speak with common sense. It also shows that the problems in the Conservative party are not unique to the current time. Well worth reading, whatever party you support this is a very well written book which I predict you will finish, glad to have know Ken Clarke!

  • Mark

    Brilliantly written autobiography of one of the great men of recent British politics. I felt a real sense of satisfaction on finishing in the same way as any political biography but a real sense of dejection over where, one year after the calamitous Brexit referendum, Britain finds itself.

  • Noo's Kitchen

    Unfortunately Mr Clarke turns out to be much more Tory than I thought and was instrumental in many of the party's policies that I disagreed with the most. That said it's an interesting and easy read and I am still left liking the man if not the politician.


    Spot on KenI have always found that Ken almost took the words out of my mouth. The book confirms this - I couldn't agree more with everything he writes. Vive l'Europe.David G Wilson

  • Caleb

    It was a very good book which is so accessible for those who perhaps unlike myself may not be entirely obsessed with politics! Whatever your political stance, it’s certainly worth reading it, if you enjoy biographies like I do.

  • M L Forster

    A full and fascinating political lifeAn excellent read for anyone interested in a true heavyweight politician recalling some of the major events of the last 50-years.

  • Philip Carman

    Interesting book as doesn't go into the usual detail of bill after bill after bill that some political biographies do, as does have the "personal" touch.

  • Ferhat Culfaz

    Superb biography. Very engaging, and a great insight to such a prominent public figure and politician.