About me
Archive
About me

Crap: A Guide to Politics by Terry Arthur

close

Warning: This post was published more than 9 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 9 years since I wrote this post.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Many thanks for your understanding.

Terry Arthur: Crap

Note: I was sent this book to review by the publisher, and have reviewed it in compliance with the review policy of the site. Other companies are welcome to send me stuff to review – email me using the details on the right.

Crap: A Guide to Politics is a major update on Terry Arthur’s famous book from the 70s, 95% is Crap. It aims to deconstruct ‘political speak’, and expose it as ‘crap’ of one of twelve kinds, each of which is given a chapter in the book.

The book is certainly entertaining – it’s written with humour, and certainly made me smile. However, the clear anti-government stance of the author became wearing in parts, and there was often a strong feeling of him criticising every option without offering a solution.

That said, the book does highlight some quite startling U-turns by politicians, and some fairly worrying half-truths (and worse). It highlights the way in which the political process has become corrupt, and reliant on influencing the news cycle and assuming that the voter will forget last week’s news in favour of today’s.

However, the book itself has been published at an unfortunate time, which (thanks to the turbulent political times of late) makes it appear outdated as soon as it has hit the shelves. At the time of the book’s writing, Tony Blair is leading the Labour Party, much is made of Menzies Campbell’s leadership of the Liberal Democrats, and Cameron’s Conservatism is still seen as new and exciting. Clearly, things have moved on from there, but the central messages of the book hold true.

Arthur points out the core duality of any political process – the politican must represent both their constituents’ interests and their own, which are often disparous – and highlights some fascinating (and hilarious) episodes on which this has been clearly exposed to the public. But whilst maintaining a humour, there is a serious message underneath about the damage such approaches can have on the political process as a whole.

This book is both humorous, and also a serious deconstruction of the state of political play. That duality makes the book untidy and repetitive at times, and the humour sometimes comes across as juvenile, but it isn’t a bad book. It’s certainly accessible enough for the general reader, but perhaps not quite heavy enough for the political junkie. It’s worth a read.

Win My Review Copy

To comply with my self-imposed policy of not accepting payment for reviews, I held a competition to give away my review copy of Crap: A Guide to Politics. But it’s closed now – you’re too late.

Buy Your Own Copy

If you’re not feeling lucky, Crap: A Guide to Politics is now available to buy from sjhoward.co.uk/shop.

This 1,222nd post was filed under: Politics, Prize Draws, Reviews.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 7th May 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd April 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 4th March 2017)

MTAS: Doctors want Hewitt to go (published 28th April 2007)

Photo-a-day 93: Flower (published 2nd April 2012)

Only the good-looking need apply (published 9th February 2005)

Photo-a-day 76: City AM (published 21st March 2014)


Comments and responses

Comment from Rob


by Rob

Comment posted at 13:48 on 25th June 2009.

Very interesting. Thanks!


Compose a new comment



Comment

You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.



The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.