Nick Ferrari hosts the breakfast show on LBC Radio, spending much of that time interviewing politicians. This short book, which is another of the LBC polemics, addresses what he sees as the disconnection between Westminster and the rest of the country.
As you might expect, the prose is light and blokey. Drawing on interviews that he has conducted it’s clear that Nick Ferrari knows his way round politics and has a clear grasp of his audience. Unsurprisingly he identifies the professional politician as the villain of the piece, particularly those with PPE degrees from Oxbridge. He identifies a politician’s reluctance to provide straight answers to straight questions as one of the major irritants to the public. He identifies and praises those MPs who do rise above trivial party politics. It’s all very fair and engaging; so far so good.
Even non-military readers might be disappointed to discover Nick states that Tim Collins commanded the Irish Guards. While it’s not significant to the argument it does illustrate spectacular idleness by both Ferrari and his editor not to spend ten seconds on Google. This howler shows up the flaw in Ferraris argument. Most political communication with the public is via the media. If journalists can’t get simple facts straight how are they ever going to hold politicians to account? In other anecdotes Ferrari reveals that he is more interested in tripping a politician up on a trivial item than addressing the important issues.
Ferrari’s ego also gets in the way; the second half of the book is devoted to his political plan. It opens with the statement “the nation tunes into my show over the Weetabix.” But it doesn’t. Another 10 seconds on Google reveals that LBC has 1.4% of listening (source Rajar) and Mr Ferrari gets about 11% of the London audience. He then launches into his plan, which is glib and facile without saying anything new, or even saying the same old things in an interesting way. It’s not particularly funny either. He concludes by exhorting us to emulate the French and riot more.
This is an unintentionally useful book because it illustrates precisely the short comings in the media that allow second rate politicians to survive. But it could have been so much better.
This review originally appeared on http://www.arrse.co.uk and appears here with their kind permission