Book – Truth to Power

Author – Jess Phillips MP

Year – 2019

Pages – 224

Genre – Politics and Thought

A couple of years ago, I nailed my colours to a mast and became a member of the Labour Party. I have made some decisions in my life about my politics, but there has always been an issue for me in declaring myself specifically sided with one party. There is no one there that completely represents what I think, and as a result deciding to join a party seemed silly. After a long conversation with my friend Charlie however, I realised that to cause change you have to be a part of something, and as a result I joined the Labour Party, the people who seemed to best represent my thoughts on how things should be done in this country.

I try not to ram my politics down people’s throats (I usually, but not always, succeed) but we are in a position now whereby I have a small say in who will be leader of the opposition moving forward. At the start of this year, Jess Phillips was one candidate for the job (she has since withdrawn from the race), and as I had bought this as a present for Alex for Christmas, I thought it was worth a look.

The book is subtitled “7 Ways to Call Time on BS” and follows Jess Phillips’ pretty up front way of presenting herself, as she tries to show people how it is possible to cause change by speaking up for what they believe in to those with power. She does not hide from the fact that this is difficult, and can potentially cause problems for you, but building upon her own experiences along with several people who have done just the same at some point in their lives – Zelda Perkins who spoke out about Harvey Weinsten, Sara Rowbotham who spoke out about problems in social services, and many more inspirational figure – she tries to help to show you ways in which you can cause change in your life and the community around you.

I like Jess Phillips. I don’t agree with her on everything, but I find her approach quite refreshing, and I really appreciate how much she obviously cares about the things she campaigns for. As a result I found this an interesting peek into how she does what she does and her role as a Member of Parliament. There is genuinely good advice in here, and she has taken the time and effort to shape it for her readership. I would probably have liked a little more depth to some of it however. The book was an easy read – and is probably designed to be so – but I feel like it could have been more somehow. I would have liked to have heard more about how she had campaigned in the past and the effect of these. I know that this is more a book on political thought than an autobiography, but nevertheless this is probably the most interesting element of the book and it would be been nice to have a little more.

Ultimately, Jess Phillips dropping out of the race means I will have no chance to vote for her in this campaign, but I would be surprised if there is not another opportunity somewhere down the line. At the very least, I can see her gaining a seat in the shadow cabinet somewhere, and I would like to see that happen. In the meantime, this is a decent book for anyone who is thinking of upping their practical application of their politics.