Politics, Poverty and Belief
A Political Memoir
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In this touching but also profound memoir, Field explains two key factors in his upbringing - the poverty of his own childhood and the deep and lasting effect of his Christian socialism, as exemplified in the writings of F. D. Maurice and William Temple. Field has spent his adult life fighting against poverty in Britain, through parliament and through his strong personal influence. Poverty for him has injustice at its root and as he explains in this book, he has found allies on all sides of the political spectrum. He was appointed by Tony Blair to be the Secretary of State for Pensions, but the reforms he advocated were so radical and essentially just, that Tony Blair could not contemplate them and Field stood down. Previously he had been Chairman of the Work and Pensions Select Committee under John Major. As we read in this profound book, he has been involved in the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and worked with George Osborne to pass the legislation for the Minimum Living Wage. The range of his campaigns is astonishing. With the Rowntree Trust, he set up the Low Pay Unit (LPU), he battled with Chiswick Council to combat the corruption and injustice behind local housing lists. In politics, he spoke out in the House against the corruption of greed and power and for this he became greatly admired by Margaret Thatcher. In the end, Field's zeal for reform was too much for too many people. In 2015, Momentum (Trotskyite socialist political movement within the Labour Party) moved into his own local Labour party and managed to get him deselected. This is a political and personal memoir of quite exceptional importance and will be widely read, not least because it is an implicit indictment of modern British politics - the world of cash for questions, Partygate and all the rest - in which the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.
Frank Field is one of the most important, iconoclastic and remarkable politicians of his generation. This book is told with his Christian belief, regrets and all, and his trademark searing honesty. -- Nick Timmins For the past half-century Frank Field has been an outstanding parliamentarian, social reformer and champion of the disadvantaged. He joined the Labour Party at the age of 16 and was expelled from it at the age of 78. -- Brian & Rachel Griffiths