Sunday, 12 July 2009
The History of Whips
You may know that I am currently undertaking research into Whips (and Whips Organisations) in the four Houses which make up the UK Parliament and US Congress. A very interesting book - which is both an important reference point for me - and was key in fixing my research interest in this area - is Tim Renton's "Chief Whip" (London: Politicos, 2005 ISBN 1-84275-129-8).
Lord Renton of Mount Harry (as he now known, since he was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997), describes his own period as Chief Whip - during the last 16 months of Mrs Thatcher's premiership. These first five chapters are interesting enough in their own right. The second part of the book describes the history of the post of Chief Whip [formally known as the "Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury"] - and some of the holders of that title.
I'm now using the book as a reference work - it has good footnotes linking to the original material. You may enjoy it as I did, as entertaining and informative summer reading.
Today's photograph is of a fictional Chief Whip - Francis Urquhart - a wonderful Machiavellian character created by Michael Dobbs in his book "House of Cards". That too is an excellent book - but may be??? a bit hard on whips.