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

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781399602761

Price: £24.99

ON SALE: 13th April 2023

Genre: Society & Social Sciences / Politics & Government

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Why do some prime ministers manage to get things done, while others miserably fail? What is a ‘special adviser’ and how did they take over British political life? And why is the House of Lords more functional than most people think?

Most of us have a sense that our political system doesn’t seem to work, but struggle to articulate exactly why. And for good reason: our political and financial institutions are cloaked in secrecy, archaic terminology, ancient custom and impenetrable jargon. Now, expert political journalist Ian Dunt is lifting the lid on British politics to expose every aspect of the setup in a way that can be understood and challenged. From Downing Street to Whitehall, the Commons to the Lords, this book is an indispensable guide to our political system – and how we might begin to fix it.

Featuring an audio-exclusive interview with Dorian Lynskey


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
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
Kathryn Hughes, GUARDIAN
Ian Dunt is an acute observer of what's gone wrong with our politics and why
The inner workings of Westminster are undeniably important, but making them interesting takes talent - commentators like Ian Dunt are rare and valuable things
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
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
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
Charlotte Ivers, THE TIMES
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
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
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
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
A devastating diagnosis of how Britain's political engine has broken down. Everyone in Westminster should read it
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
Harry Lambert, NEW STATESMAN