Outside In

Outside In

Peter Hain

Language: English

Pages: 612


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Peter Hain has always spoken his mind. So he does in this book. Here he tells his story as an outsider turned insider: anti-apartheid militant to Cabinet minister, serving twelve years in Labour's government between May 1997 and May 2010. Growing up as the son of courageous anti-apartheid South Africans, Peter Hain was first in the public eye aged fifteen, reading at the funeral of an anti-apartheid friend hanged in Pretoria. Living in exile in Britain during his late teens, he led campaigns to disrupt whites-only South African sports tours. His political notoriety resulted in two extraordinary Old Bailey trials and a letter bomb. Hain recalls his role in negotiating the historic 2007 settlement in Northern Ireland, being Britain's first-ever African born Africa Minister, and acting as a passionate advocate and deliverer of devolved government to Wales. Featuring Iraq, Mugabe, Europe, Gibraltar, blood diamonds, work alongside MI5 and MI6, and the delivery of justice for workers robbed of their pensions and compensation for sick miners, Hain's autobiography gives a fascinating insight into life near the top of the Blair and Brown governments.

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including Welsh trade union leaders whose support he claimed had been pledged in that eventuality. Sadly he had lost the plot. Weeks before some of the very same people had tipped me off about Ron’s manoeuvrings and told me that, contrary to Ron’s claims, they had not the slightest intention of backing him. But I did not tell him that. Nor did I mention that I did indeed have a ‘Plan B’, which I had privately got agreement for at No. 10 and from the Welsh Party general secretary, Anita Gale: and

felony some of the newspapers reported the next day that I been ‘slapped down’ by Gordon Brown and the Treasury – all of this between just after 8.10 on New Year’s morning and around 10 a.m. when PA called me to follow up Today. The idea that Gordon, after a Scots Hogmanay, had phoned me in this early morning slot was complete fantasy, but it was symptomatic of the overblown, over-hyped media spin about the euro. Although the Sun and the Daily Mail despatched journalists all over Europe to

it reasonably straight, the FT with a remarkably supportive editorial. But the truth was you could not discuss issues, especially tax, in the fraught cockpit of modern media frenzy – which I should have known. The following week’s Cabinet meeting was not very comfortable. Tony asked me to pop into his room beforehand to explain that he wasn’t having a go at me, but would tell the meeting that we had to find a way of having sensible discussions without these going ballistic. When the Cabinet

been a prominent businesswoman in her own right long before we even met. Then, if anything, she had to pursue her career despite me and my high political profile. Elizabeth nevertheless concluded the take-over negotiations and went for a celebratory drink with the managing director and finance director. ‘We will just need to run it past the chairman,’ they said, ‘It should be a formality; we enjoy his full confidence and he backs our judgement.’ But the chairman Googled Elizabeth and up came the

politician could help make progress, especially those close to the republican leadership, some of whom had seen the IRA’s struggle against the British almost as equivalent to the struggle for American independence. Hilary Clinton – then the recently elected Senator for New York – was the most impressively briefed despite all her other policy expertise and interests. Meeting Senator Edward Kennedy was also special. Northern Ireland was a cause close to the heart of the Kennedy family, and he was

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