Arguably the most anticipated political memoirs of 2016 was from Ed Balls; the ex-Shadow Chancellor, shadow cabinet minister, Treasury adviser, and all-round extraordinary dancer. As the blurb highlights, on the 7th May 2015, Ed was one day away from possibly becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer, but instead he woke up the next day without a job. Ed’s book looks at the highs and low of his life and career so far, from his early days being right hand man in the Treasury to Gordon Brown, all the way to his appearance on Celebrity Great British Bake Off.
There were so many reasons I was hyped for this book. Firstly, I’m a big fan of the man himself. Ed is a great character, a bright mind, and a big inspiration for me in both politics, and the Labour Party. Another draw was my keen interest in politics, and the stories behind the scenes. There’s been many a time that I’ve thought of entering politics over the past few years, being able to help those up and down the country who need it, and this book could offer a great insight into the front line. And finally, arguably the biggest reason of them all, the Gordon Brown anecdotes.
Balls’s autobiography looks over his life in an unconventional format. Rather than following the events of his life chronologically, each chapter focuses on one lesson or subject, and Balls reflects on how this subject has touched his life in politics. Some of the subjects are quite personal, deep, and moving; for example, the chapters that focus on vulnerability, mistakes, and purpose. Other chapters such as markets, spin, images, and opposition are much more applicable to his life, and offer the key insight and knowledge into the workings of parliament.