What lies behind government rhetoric? How much are big corporations actually pulling all the strings? Will it be long before democracy collapses altogether?
In his new novel, Whitehall through the Looking Glass, Henry Tam, a political analyst and former senior civil servant, presents us with a disturbing vision of what’s in store for us.
The story is set in the near future, when the Consortium, working in cahoots with multi-billionaire monarch, George VIII, dictates terms to those in charge of governing both Britain and the US. It tells how the Consortium expands its power until there is no one left who can stand in its way. Or so it appears, until a defiant civil servant and a secret resistance movement threaten to bring its reign to an end.
The novel combines a fast-moving plotline, satire and futuristic invention to bring home the nightmare awaiting any society that allows its government to be taken over by the corporate elite. As one reviewer observed, it is “funny and scary in equal measure.”
Leading figures in politics and government have been forthright with their praise:
“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.” (Baroness Kay Andrews, former Government Minister)
“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 … Tam’s novel also has a serious message about the dire consequences when corporations take over the running of a government.” (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. ... 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)
“Half asleep, the UK is becoming an ever more elitist society, that has left fairness and common-sense behind; ... 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)
"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, ex-MP and Director, Speakers’ Corner Trust)
“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 – the New Local Government Network)
Whitehall through the Looking Glass is the second novel by Henry Tam. His first novel, Kuan’s Wonderland, is a widely acclaimed political fable, which has been recommended by educational institutions such as the Equality Trust, WEA and the Cooperative College. His non-fiction books include the seminal Communitarianism: a new agenda for politics and citizenship, nominated by New York University Press for the 2000 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order; Progressive Politics in the Global Age; and Against Power Inequalities.
He has previously worked as the Head of Civil Renewal in the Home Office, and Deputy Director in the Department for Communities & Local Government. He is currently an academic at the University of Cambridge and blogs on ‘Question the Powerful’.
The E-book version is available from: Amazon UK or Amazon US.
The Paperback version is available from: Barnes & Noble or CreateSpace.
To see in full what have been written about Whitehall through the Looking Glass, see: http://hbtam.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/public-commentators-on-whitehall.html