Robin Cook's Book

While I was in California over the last weekend, I picked up Robin Cook’s Point of Departure, and read it in a couple of sittings. Rather than providing a detailed review, let me refer you to this review in the Guardian by Malcolm Rifkind, the last Conservative foreign secretary (and therefore a political adversary of Robin Cook).
Despite the obvious Iraq angle, this book is about more than just the rush to war. There are really three aspects to it:

  • It provides an invaluable account of the debate within the British government during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
  • It gives a detailed view of how “the mother of all Parliaments” actually operates at the beginning of the 21st century, from the point of view of someone who is both a committed Parliamentarian and a passionate voice for modernisation.
  • In a lengthy coda, it sets out a strong case for the continuing relevance of a Social Democrat alternative to the prevailing market-centric neo-Liberal orthodoxy.