Monday, May 5, 2014

Public Commentators on: 'Whitehall through the Looking Glass'

Since its publication, Whitehall through the Looking Glass has attracted the interest of many public figures, and drawn positive reviews and comments from them. Here is a selection of what they have written about Henry Tam's second novel:

“Henry Tam knows how government works, and how fragile democracy is. With his insider knowledge and surreal imagination, he has given us an extraordinary dystopian tale about corporate greed and political collusion. It kept me hooked to the very end.”
- Baroness Kay Andrews, former Government Minister

“Half asleep, the UK is becoming an ever more elitist society, that has left fairness and common-sense behind; and this is all beginning to feel entirely normal. What we need is Henry Tam's absurdist vision of Whitehall to help wake us all up.”
- Dr. Simon Duffy, Director, Centre for Welfare Reform

“Forget ‘Yes, Minister’ and ‘The Thick of It’; if you want a sharp satirical look at life inside the corridors of power, read Whitehall through the Looking Glass, written by a true insider. Apart from the humour and a storyline full of remarkable twists, Tam’s novel also has a serious message about the dire consequences when corporations take over the running of a government. It should be read by anyone interested in the state of our democracy.”
- Sonny Leong, Chief Executive, Civil Service College

“This is a timely reminder of the dangers of the rapidly-accelerating corporatisation of our political and economic life. With private firms increasingly running our NHS and administering welfare, so many of the services we cherish are at risk from the profit motive. From utilities to railways, we’ve already seen how the interests of shareholders and bosses trump those of workers, service users and taxpayers. As the general election approaches, Tam’s book is an important reminder of the risks of crude neoliberal ideology”.
- Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, TUC (Trades Union Congress)

“Beautifully, deftly written, Whitehall through the Looking Glass is dark and compelling reading. A deeply sobering wake up call to us all against the political complacency of our times.”
- Dame Jane Roberts, Chair, NLGN (New Local Government Network)

"Tam strips back the veil on a world dominated and decimated by a ruthless consortium. But, chillingly, its relentless pursuit of profit and power is legitimised by a hollowed-out democracy in which citizens, manipulated by the technologies of surveillance and suggestion, submit meekly to their thralldom. The narrative is all the more compelling because Tam's world is often as familiar as it is fantastical. This is not so much a lesson from history as a warning from the here and now. It's a cautionary tale and a call to action, but also a gripping read."
- Peter Bradley, Director, Speakers’ Corner Trust

“Although set in the future, the civil service lampooned in Whitehall through the Looking Glass is instantly recognisable to anyone who's been part of it. Tam’s novel paints a superb picture of how people can be governed, or rather manipulated, by unscrupulous politicians. Funny, alarming, and poignant, it’s quite an achievement.”
- Ellie Roy, former Crime Reduction Director, Home Office (Chief Executive, Youth Justice Board, 2004-2008)

“The bleak, but believable, picture of corporatism gone crazy combines with a witty and insightful portrayal of the civil service to make for a novel that is both funny and scary in equal measure.”
- Toby Blume, Founder, the Archer Academy

Details for how to purchase the e-book or paperback version of Whitehall through the Looking Glass can be found at: