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Decline Fall: Diaries 2005-2010

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  322 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Chris Mullin's bestselling A View From the Foothills provided a riveting insider's account of life as a junior minister. Laying bare the personalities, pyrotechnics and political intrigues of the Blair years, it was described as Yes Minister meets Alan Clark.Funny and self-deprecating, the new diaries run from his sacking by Blair as a minister after the 2005 elections to ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published August 30th 2010 by Profile Books
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Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
The second volume of Chris Mullin's diaries reflect irreverently and humorously on New Labour's last term in office. Today, dismissed from government Mullin contemplates a future at the lower foothills of political life.

Chris Mullin is the former MP for Sunderland South, a journalist and author. His books include the first volume of his acclaimed diaries, "A View From the Foothills." He also wrote the thriller, "A Very British Coup", with the television versio
Pinko Palest
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
this is not the author of A Very British Coup, alas. Also, it is mainly about his dealings with the powerful, from ministers upwards. Surprisingly, there is nothing about his assistants, and very little about the local party. Thus, it is a very skewed view of politics. Nor is it particularly informative
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
This volume of diaries about British political life are the best I've read, and I'd include Mullen's previous volumes in that. This collection covers the decline of the Blair years, the inevitable, but dreaded, rise of Gordon Brown to the top job and the utter shambles that surrounded the final days of New Labour. One of the thing that strikes me about the diaries of Chris Mullen is how acutely aware he was of how much MPs were despised and thought of as useless by the public as the first decade ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A very fine book indeed. A book that has gone a long way towards restoring my interest in politics that has been slowly strangled during the Blair and Brown years. I'd blamed them, but Chris Mullin makes me think again. He is no apologist for their wrong-headed decisions, but he makes it clear that they also did much good. The Britain of 2010 had moved forward from the Britain of 1997. What was wrong with Britain in 2010 was what was still the same not what had changed. The allowing of a bunch o ...more
Jo Weston
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: radio-books
R4X rerun of Book of the Week. Very good.
Andrew Garvey
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This second (hefty) volume of Labour MP and, by 2005, former Minister Mullin's diaries are a little sadder and angrier than the previous ones. Understandable, really, given their detailing the doom of New Labour and the end of his own political career after 23 years in the Commons.

Again, they're a fascinating read, even if he gets it badly wrong sometimes. The toe-curling entry where he talks about how compelling and thought-provoking Nigel Lawson's swivel-eyed, anti-scientific gibberings about
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
The third (chronologically) or second (by date of publication) of Chris Mullin's diaries is to my mind the most melancholy of the three. And while I haven't actually read any other political diaries (as distinct from memoirs) to compare them with, they all have a somewhat downbeat air, perhaps because they are written by a man who realises early on that he will always be on the sidelines, a spectator to the main events, and that his personal vision of where the country should go is not one that ...more
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read and enjoyed the first volume of Chris Mullin’s diaries, A View from the Foothills, and so, when I saw the second volume in the library, I snapped it up. Like the first volume, they’re brilliant reading. The period covered is 2005-2010, from the point the first volume ended to the general election, and so it describes the ‘long goodbye’ of Tony Blair and the takeover by Gordon Brown (what one backbencher quoted in the diaries described as ‘replacing a pychotic with a neurotic’). The long d ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Throughout this volume of Diaries, as with its predecessor, Chris Mullin emerges as a politician with a genuine conscience. At times he is aware that he must compromise but never does so for simple expedience or personal aggrandisement. He fails to convince himself that he has chosen the right course after standing down from Parliament after 23 years, though there is just one indication that the time had come to prioritise family rather than constituency. He can do so with head held high. One wo ...more
Jon Curnow
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The second volume of Chris Mullin's diaries that I have read and, as an inside account of the British Parliament at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, it's both reassuring to see that many representatives in The House are not in it purely for self gain, having loftier aims that benefit us all, and disappointing to discover that Honourable Members, just like the any group anywhere, can be back-stabbing and self-serving. Mullin clearly falls into the former but his ringside seat for ...more
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such a depressing read.

It charts the decline of the New Labour dream for (almost) the inside. Mullin very honestly shows the decline in the Government as splits develop, as events do not go the way they were planned. You just want to get people to stop scheming, stop leaking against each other and get on with doing the job. You understand how remote Tony Blair is from the rest of his party, let alone the electorate- Mullin refers to him as "the man" throughout, never by name. Gordon Brow
Harry Rutherford
Decline & Fall is the second volume of Mullin's diaries, which I bought on a whim to read on my phone without having read the first volume. The first volume was about life as a junior minister in Tony Blair's government; this one starts with him being sacked after the 2005 election, and so is about being a backbench MP in the last five years of the Blair/Brown government.

It probably would have made more sense to read the first volume first, but I enjoyed this anyway; because he never had a senio
David Cheshire
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Diaries can be amazingly useful short-cuts into the past. Mullin offers a peculiar and unusual view of the zone between insignificant back-bencher and almost equally insignificant very junior minister. What elevates him as a diarist is his own intelligence, decency and political niceness (usually an oxymoron) and the wry, self-deprecating (it would be hard to be too arrogant from this CV)humour of his style. My favourite quote is the American diplomat, on Africa: our policy he says is free trade ...more
Jeff Howells
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The third volume of Chris Mullin's diaries, and the wheels have well & truly come off New Labour. At the start of the book, it's difficult not to detect a hint of resentment as Mullin loses his ministerial job in a reshuffle. A hint of rebellion returns but I believe he remains a pragmatist and not 'pickled in dogma' like some of his colleagues from an earlier time. The end of a New Labour government also marks the end of Mullin as an MP. Parliament is worse off as a result of both things happen ...more
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Not quite as fascinating as his View from the Foothills, because in this volume of diaries he is even more on the fringes of power, looking in. But of course he has such a highly readable and engaging style, full of little humorous or sad asides, that it is a difficult book to put down. Given that it is the volume that ends his political career (at least as a Westminster MP), there is more than a little sadness that a very decent but also very wise man should be leaving Parliament. We need more ...more
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Another fascinating political diary that sits comfortably on the shelf alongside Alan Clark's efforts. In this diary, however, there is less ego to wade through, and unlike his predecessors (Clark & Campbell) Mullin does not become bogged down in self-promoting anecdotes. His sadness and regret at losing office is reminiscent of Clark's experience, but Mullin's habit of referring to Blair as simply 'The Man' throughout is cheering, no-one is taken too seriously here. An enjoyable and recommended ...more
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This only gets 4 instead of five stars because the view enjoyed by Mullin of events is more distant than in his first volume. However it is still wonderfully written and full of humour and insight. I am confident that would be plenty on which he and I would not agree in politics but I suspect that there would be much we would. I found his comments on the popular newspapers and the corrosive effect they have on politics to be well made and he certainly hardened my view on them (from disdain to co ...more
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very honest and interesting diary. At least as good as the earlier View from the Foothills. Chris Mullin writes with great clarity and his opinions, assessments and predictions are fascinating. I'm now reading the final diary A Walk-On Part, which is chronologically the first diary. Anyone interested in reading these three excellent diaries should start with the third then the first and finish with the second.
Duncan Maccoll
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This was an amazing run through recent British politics. Mullin shows an in-depth knowledge of the inside of the end of the Labour government. He keeps his faith to the end, read on to see what happens.

I would be interested in a review from Mullin once he has had time for reflection, how different would that be?

Alan Hughes
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
These are very readable diaries. Chris Mullin is revealed as a sensitive and intelligent man of principal. He held to his principals while his party discarded them, and him, over the years. It is also interesting to see the background machinations which went on behind the Brown/Blair transition and to have confirmation of much of what was thought at the time.
Thom Beckett
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A great, fascinating and moving continuation of his previous set of diaries. Mullin writes beautifully and gives a great insight into the life of an MP. Worth a read for anyone interested in British politics of any hue.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A profoundly depressing book but a great one. Lifts the lid off what its like to be an MP who cares and who witnesses the craziness of supposed government. Chris Mullin comes across as a really decent and principled person.
Dave Johnson
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Witty and self-deprecating. A really interesting and honest account of the twilight years of New Labour and of a Government running out of ideas despite their obsessive development of new initiatives.
Ms6282 Slater
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Another well written volume of political diaries. I didn't enjoy it as much as his previous volume " a View from the foothills", mainly because I found it too depressing - particularly the ending. But I did like his "valedictory speech in the postscript.
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The complete opposite of Tony Blair's view. Chris' book showed the same era form the grass roots level. It showed the frustration they experienced with a leader who seemed to be all ideas. Chris also shows how the Labour Party was making a difference for ordinary people.
Paul Servini
Oct 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and inforrmative as well as well written.
Paul Greenfield
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
See View from the Foothills – this is better than the first volume because it is so current. So much better than the Blair, Mandelson etc because it is really funny and yet full of insight.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well written, quite thought provoking and sometimes makes you wonder what an MP can achieve
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written political memoir.
Incisive, fascinating detail from someone on the fringes of government.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed it - someone with integrity, the courage of his convictions, humour, an ability to really write well, and an all-round good egg. And representing Sunderland. A class act.
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Chris Mullin is the former MP for Sunderland South, a journalist and author. His books include the first volume of his acclaimed diaries, "A View From the Foothills." He also wrote the thriller, "A Very British Coup", with the television version winning BAFTA and Emmy awards. He was a minister in three departments, Environment, Transport and Regions, International Development and The Foreign Offic ...more

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