Biteback buys collected columns of Times sketchwriter

Rights - NonFiction Thursday, 16 May 2019

Patrick Kidd's The Weak Are a Long Time in Politics uses columns from his stint as the paper's political sketchwriter: politics is 'show business for ugly people'


James Stephens, publisher at Biteback, has acquired world rights to The Weak Are a Long Time in Politics: Sketches from the Brexit Neverendum by Patrick Kidd, former political sketchwriter at The Times.

According to the acquisition statement: 'Politics looked straightforward when Kidd took the reins of the daily political sketch in The Times in 2015. David Cameron had just won a general election and would clearly be Prime Minister for as long as he wanted; George Osborne was his obvious successor (rather than the editor of a free London evening newspaper); Theresa May was a slightly underwhelming Home Secretary; and Jeremy Corbyn an anonymous Labour backbencher best known as a serial rebel against his own party.

'Then suddenly everything went a bit strange. In this anthology of his best columns from the past four years, Kidd plays the role of parliamentary theatre critic, chronicling the collapse of Cameron, the nebulous clarity of May, the rise and refusal to fall of Corbyn and Boris Johnson’s repeated failure to keep his foot out of his mouth. Featuring a menagerie of supporting oddballs, such as Jacob and the Mogglodytes, Failing Grayling, Gavin ‘Private Pike’ Williamson and the simpering lobby fodder that are Toady, Lickspittle and Creep, this is a much-needed antidote to the gloom of the Brexit years.'

Kidd, who is now The Times’ senior writer and diarist, said: "It was my privilege – some might say punishment – to spend three years as a sort of theatre critic for the Westminster Palace of Varieties. The lead actors may not have been up to much and the plot could often be implausible, but there is something captivating about watching politics close up. It is, as they say, show business for ugly people."

Stephens said: "Brexit has been an interminable process and has changed politics in this country for ever. It is salutary to look back through Patrick’s glorious sketches and chart its terrible course, count the bodies of those whose careers it has killed and marvel at just how far we haven’t come. Patrick is one of the finest, and funniest, writers around, and we are very excited to be publishing him."

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