Haven’t You Heard…? looks at the role gossip plays in all areas of politics – for the people in positions of power, the press who have most of the control (or do they?), and how the internet has changed everything.
From policy rows which aren’t about policy at all and boozy nights with dramatic consequences, to people spinning their way to the top and media quid pro quos veering into blackmail, Le Conte will set out in great and entertaining detail how politics really works.
Through interviews with over 80 MPs, peers, former ministers, senior civil servants, newspaper editors, lobby correspondents, No.10 political advisers, lobbyists, academics, and everyone in between, Haven’t You Heard…? will explore why Westminster can seem so dysfunctional, why it often is, and why it shouldn’t be any other way.
The goal of Haven’t You Heard…? is not only to explain why what happens in Westminster is often (worryingly) entertaining, but also why informal conversations and interpersonal relationships are what real power is based on.
-Marie Le Conte
Using a mix of structural analysis, political history and revealing anecdotes, Le Conte will explain why gossip is a vital piece of the puzzle when trying to understand politics as it permeates every layer of SW1, in expected and unexpected ways.
If you’ve ever wondered why “rising star” MPs seemingly rise out of nowhere, how journalists decide who to tip for parties’ leadership, why the indiscretions of some politicians make the front pages while others’ don’t, whether the civil service is as dull as it seems, and how the whips get to know everything, your questions will soon be answered.
Feminists in the 1960s stated that the personal is political: what this book intends to show is that the political is personal.
-Marie Le Conte
Marie Le Conte is a French-Moroccan political journalist based in London. She grew up in Nantes then moved to the UK to study journalism at the University of Westminster. After graduating, Marie worked at a range of publications, including the Evening Standard as a political diarist and BuzzFeed News as media and politics correspondent, where she broke stories including Nigel Farage’s meeting with Julian Assange, and Vote Leave’s donations to Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes.
Since leaving BuzzFeed in 2017, she has written for the New Statesman, Prospect, the Sunday Times, The Guardian and others, and has appeared on the Today programme, Newsnight, BBC News, Daily Politics, and many others. Her reporting has been cited in the House of Lords, and she was named one of Forbes Europe’s 30 Under 30 in 2018.
Marie Le Conte said, “Gossip is often dismissed as a frivolous and feminine pursuit, but anyone ignoring the impact it has on Westminster would be making a terrible mistake. Politics is, as everything else, about people, and people rarely – if ever – make truly rational decisions, based on facts and nothing else. If you want to truly understand politics in this country, it is vital to factor in the friendships, the feuds, the feelings, and all the tittle-tattle that happens behind the scenes.
I’m absolutely delighted to be publishing this timely and revealing book by Marie, one of the most talented and well-connected political journalists working in Westminster.
-Joel Simons, Senior Editor – Adult Non-Fiction, Bonnier Books UK
The other thing is, of course, that gossip is brilliant fun: working around Westminster means being privy to all sorts of drama, failed plots and mischief, and anyone who complains that politics is too dry certainly hasn’t been really paying attention. The goal of Haven’t You Heard…? is to not only to explain why what happens in Westminster is often (worryingly) entertaining, but also why informal conversations and interpersonal relationships are what real power is based on.
Feminists in the 1960s stated that the personal is political: what this book intends to show is that the political is personal.”
Joel Simons said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be publishing this timely and revealing book by Marie, one of the most talented and well-connected political journalists working in Westminster. With the UK now entering choppy post-Brexit waters, it feels like the perfect time to lift the lid on political hearsay, and find out how some of the country’s biggest decisions are really made.”
Haven’t You Heard…? A Guide To Westminster Gossip And Why Mischief Gets Things Done publishes on the 5th of September 2019.