As New Labour prepares the ground for a second term in government, Liz Davies provides a compelling insider's account of the annihilation of the party's internal democracy. For two years prior to the party conference of September 2000, Davies sat on Labour's highest body, its National Executive Committee. From this unique viewpoint, and with the aid of verbatim notes kept at the meetings, she exposes the cynical doublethink that has come to permeate the party's leadership. Focusing particularly on the frenzied attempts to prevent Ken Livingstone from becoming London's mayor, Davies details how Blair and his acolytes sought to manipulate every detail of the NEC's proceedings, repeatedly blocking open discussion. On more than one occasion, full-time officials briefed selected journalists on what was being decided hours before the meetings took place. Davies chronicles Blair's evident discomfort in the face of close questioning at the meetings, and his impatience with even the mildest dissent. She exposes the hollowness of John Prescott's old Labour credentials and the relentless manipulation of Margaret McDonagh, the party's General Secretary.
She watches aghast as trade union representatives repeatedly defy positions adopted by their members, and as special-interest groups, notably those representing business, twist policies to suit their ends. Employing a redoubtable independence of mind, as well as verbatim notes kept in each of the meetings, Davies provides an electrifying picture of the systematic corruption of a major political institution.