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Book Review: How to Be in Opposition by Nigel Fletcher

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Every so often you read a book that you wish were available when you were in university or working towards a higher degree in your chosen subject. Nigel Fletcher has written one such book on the nature and history of being in “opposition” in the British Parliamentary System. He starts by explaining there was nothing “official” about the opposition up in the early 20th century (or relatively recently in the history of the Mother of All Parliaments.

With a detailed history and a few chapters by those who were there in our lifetime, including Nigel himself, How to Be in Opposition is a great resource for anyone interested in how things actually work in Westminster. While it’s easy to find books on the theory of governance of the United Kingdom, ones that are factual are less often easy to come by.

To say that things are made different for the major party out of power is an understatement. And when a party loses party changes are brutal and swift. While the “walk of shame” is a pleasure to watch for the supporters of the incoming party it can be painful for the losers. Their lives are literally turned over the instant the election has been decided.

Ultimately Fletcher has produced an invaluable resource for anyone studying British governance. To say it should be required reading for anyone studying the subject is an understatement. If you have even a passing interest in how Britain is governed you might want to pick up a copy.

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