Politics, Media and International Relations

Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


Applying the Lessons of UK National Politics to Everyday Office Life

Learning from Cabinet Ministers and MPs

Richard Willis is a British historian and political scientist currently based at the School of Advanced Study University of London. He has previously worked as a senior researcher at Cambridge, Roehampton and Adelaide Universities. He is a prolific writer of books and articles, and he has contributed to, among others, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Times Educational Supplement, History Today, and Who Do You Think You are? Magazine.

This book engagingly presents an intriguing account of many of the principles of UK government politics and how these have an important bearing on everyday office life as experienced by the working population. Here is a fascinating account of the findings of two former Cabinet ministers – Lords Blunkett and Baker – who were interviewed by the author. Oral testimony allows the reader to learn about the perspectives of political power brokers and provides data and insight not always apparent or revealed from historical records and archive material. The overriding aim is to analyse the nature of ‘politicking’ in central government and to apply the techniques and lessons of national politics to everyday office life. The book offers a political framework, giving behavioural pointers to assist those who face challenging circumstances that could impinge on their well-being and business efficiency in the workplace. A ‘back to basics’ methodology is advised, touching on a range of techniques, including, for example, that gossip is an effective way of getting back at someone. This touches upon Blunkett’s assertion that Michael Gove MP is a ‘zealot’ and a politician having an ‘ideological obsession’. Applying the Lessons refers moreover to cases calling for bargaining and negotiation, also a part of the life of the whips in Parliament, and an essential tool for office business. As a seasoned historian and political analyst, Richard Willis revealingly unravels the nature of political power and control, and shows how Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair initially supposedly gave Baker and Blunkett considerable scope in introducing reform. He goes on to explain how the two peers give their critique on policy-making against a background which is of definite benefit to office managers and supervisors, executive assistants, PAs, administrators, and administrative/administration assistants.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-988-3
Paperback Price: £14.95 / $22.95
Release Date: April 2019
Page Extent / Format: 112 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



1  Elective dictatorship
2  Interviews: Lord Baker and Lord Blunkett
3  Limitations on power
4  Exercises of power
5  Change and reform
6  Case study: the John Lewis Partnership
Appendix  Interviews with Lord (David) Blunkett and Lord (Kenneth) Baker

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