Events of recent days have reminded me of a couple of crime novels (‘entertainments’, he dubbed them) written by Julian Critchley and featuring a lawyer and M.P. called Joshua Morris. The first was called Hung Parliament – a very topical title! I haven’t read it, but Marcel Berlins, no less, gave it a good review. The second was Floating Voter, and I have a copy dating from 1992. It’s set at the Conservative Party conference at Brighton, and features the kidnapping of Jeffrey Archer…
Critchley was a backbench Conservative M.P. and a witty commentator on the political scene who wrote a number of books, but no other detective novels. He had no time for Margaret Thatcher, and the feeling was apparently mutual. He suffered from a great deal of ill-health in his later years and died in 2000. By that time, he had been knighted and then expelled from his party because of his strongly pro-European views.
As for the events which have resulted in a Conservative- Liberal coalition, to run the country for the next five years (although it would be a very brave person of any political persuasion to bet on it actually lasting anything like as long), I felt they could easily have been scripted by a thriller writer.
We have had everything, really – mysterious negotiations, audacious plots, alleged treachery, a Prime Minister who resigned twice in successive days, careers made and destroyed, and countless twists and turns. I’ve found it exhausting just watching from afar – those involved must be utterly shattered. What will happen in the future? None of us know, given the new government’s dire inheritance, and the fact that its members seem unlikely bedfellows. One has to conclude that truth really is stranger than fiction.