Politics: Cutting Through the Crap

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Bali Rai, ill. Chris Riddell
Walker Books
Sep 2006
A humorous and thoroughly humane guide to politics. Necessarily implicated through his own politicised opinions and views, Bali Rai�s candid explanations of the mechanics of politics are both engaging and accessible. Together with expert illustrations by Chris Riddell, who as political cartoonist for �The Observer� is no apprentice to illustrative political satire, Bali Rai provides an insight into systems of governance.

Divided into two distinct sections, in the first of these Rai imparts an introduction to politics, explaining its application and constituent parts in the United Kingdom. An overview is given of the major political parties, of political ideologies and the relationship between politics and the media. The second part of the book arose from responses to a questionnaire Rai held with young people whereby he probed whether there were other areas of politics they would like to know about. A succinct outline of the Iraq war, the war on terror, global warming, education, racism, asylum and immigration are provided within this portion of the book.

Written in the demotic, it is hard not to feel at points that the profane use of language will not detract from some of the lucid points being raised here for some readers. Whereas in Rai�s novels this lends credibility to his characters and the situations they are implicated within, here it may serve to marginalise his work from key sectors of the market, most particularly perhaps in more staunchly traditional education settings.

As well as the clear elucidations that he presents, one of the most enviable elements of the book is the way Rai stimulates and challenges further thinking on the part of readers. This is aided through provision of a list of web-sites and books. Rarely have politics been presented so palatably and with less jingoism and jargon.

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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on November 20, 2006 8:23 PM.

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