Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir

Front Cover
Pan Macmillan, Oct 6, 2016 - Biography & Autobiography - 515 pages
2 Reviews

Ken Clarke needs no introduction. One of the genuine 'Big Beasts' of the political scene, during his forty-six years as the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire he has been at the very heart of government under three prime ministers. He is a political obsessive with a personal hinterland, as well known as a Tory Wet with Europhile views as for his love of cricket, Nottingham Forest Football Club and jazz.

In Kind of Blue, Clarke charts his remarkable progress from working-class scholarship boy in Nottinghamshire to high political office and the upper echelons of both his party and of government. But Clarke is not a straightforward Conservative politician. His position on the left of the party often led Margaret Thatcher to question his true blue credentials and his passionate commitment to the European project has led many fellow Conservatives to regard him with suspicion - and cost him the leadership on no less than three occasions.

Clarke has had a ringside seat in British politics for four decades and his trenchant observations and candid account of life both in and out of government will enthral readers of all political persuasions. Vivid, witty and forthright, and taking its title not only from his politics but from his beloved Miles Davis, Kind of Blue is political memoir at its very best.


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User Review  - Eyejaybee - LibraryThing

Kenneth ‘Ken’ Clarke is currently the Father of the House of Commons, being the longest sitting current member (He was first sworn in as an MP on the same day on 1970 as Dennis Skinner, but takes the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mumoftheanimals - LibraryThing

Normally, whatever my opinion about the politics of someone, I always like the more after reading their autobiography. It was therefore a surprise and a first for me to like the person less. This is ... Read full review


Go Dexter Gordon 1962 Early Life
2 Giant Steps John Coltrane 1959 Nottingham
Blues for a Reason Chet Baker 1984 Cambridge
Workin Miles Davis 1956 Birmingham
Hot House Dizzy Gillespie 1945 Parliament
Steps Ahead Steps Ahead 1983 Whips Office
Dont Get Around Much Any More Duke Ellington 1942 Opposition
Maiden Voyage Herbie Hancock 1965 Junior Minister
Out to Lunch Eric Dolphy 1964 Black Wednesday to Maastricht
Money Jungle Duke Ellington with Mingus and Roach 1963 Chancellor
The Nearness of You Sarah Vaughan 1955 Europe and the Euro
Un Poco Loco Bud Powell 1951 Tory Euro Wars
On the Road Again Willie Nelson 1980 Foreign Affairs
Time Out Dave Brubeck 1959 Out of Office
Plucked Again Duke Ellington 1950 Opposition Again
Straight Life Art Pepper 1979 Ministry of Justice

Fever Peggy Lee 1958 Health Minister
Nice Work If You Can Get It Thelonious Monk 1937 Employment
Work Song Nat Adderley 1960 DTI
Nows the Time Charlie Parker 1945 Health Reform at Last
Wham Bam Thank You Maam Charles Mingus 1962 The Thatcher Experience
Off Minor Thelonious Monk 1952 John Major
School Days Dizzy Gillespie 1951 Education
Youre Under Arrest Miles Davis 1985 Home Secretary
My Favourite Things John Coltrane 1961 Cabinet Office
Sack o Woe Cannonball Adderley 1960 Referendum
Picture Acknowledgements
Plate section

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About the author (2016)

Born in Nottingham in 1940, Ken Clarke was educated at Nottingham High School and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he studied law and was called to the bar in 1963. In 1970, at the age of twenty-nine, he became MP for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire, a seat he has held ever since. He held many ministerial posts in Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, including Secretary of State for Health and Secretary of State for Education. He subsequently served as Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer under John Major and Secretary of State for Justice and Minister without Portfolio under David Cameron. He lives in London and Nottinghamshire.