Our Patch Autumn 2017 Chiswick - Page 17

Our Patch AUTUMN 2017 while I’m more into researching and explaining political concepts. He has a journalist’s ability to analyse.” Jason is similarly complimentary of Paul’s strengths. “I used to read Paul’s blogs and thought he had a perspective that no one else had; I really enjoy debating things with him,” he said. “We combined our expertise. I was able to get hold of people to interview, but he was ahead of me in the writing process.” Key to the recipe was editor Olivia Beattie at publishing firm Biteback, who not only verified every fact and cross-checked each reference but also seamlessly blended the 18 chapters (nine for Paul, nine for Jason) into a coherent entity. No aspect of the referendum, or of 50 years of Britain’s at-times strained relationship with Europe, is off-limits The moment Paul in this engrossing and Goldsmith (left) thought-provoking and Jason Farrell agreed book. to collaborate Its conclusion is that a combination of historical events, Britain’s island mentality, forceful personalities such as Nigel Farage, a feeling of alienation among sections of the population, a high turnout… and scores of other small but significant factors conspired to produce a result that left the opinion pollsters with egg on their face, and the UK without a prime minister. The result is an even-handed, balanced book which manages to convey the tension of the vote without the hysteria Other books have focused on the referendum campaign itself, but How To Lose A Referendum takes the reader on a journey through time from the Second World War to demonstrate where the Leave lobby’s seeds of doubt were sown two generations ago. Neither Paul nor Jason makes any public declaration of how either voted individually (Jason because he needs to maintain a journalistic neutrality), but the result is an even-handed, balanced book which manages to convey the tension of the vote without the hysteria. The pair worked to a February 28 deadline, and delivered on time, after regularly swapping half-written passages to be ‘red-and-greened’ by the other. “Red meant delete, green meant something needed adding,” said Paul. Latymer Upper School head David Goodhew was supportive of his politics teacher’s project, which has also meant the Hammersmith school’s students are among the best-informed in the land about the background to Britain’s relationship with continental Europe. Central figures in the referendum debate such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and Daniel Hannan have visited the school to talk to students, while the youngsters also staged their own mock referendum to actively discuss the issues. “I don’t think I realised what an achievement this book was until people started telling us after it was published,” Paul admitted. “What was really special for me was being able to do it with someone else. I have to admit I shed a tear when I got the first copy through.” Paul is conscious – and concerned – about the effect the referendum has had on the country. “I've found that the effect on families has been really horrible; parents not talking to their children and so on,” he said. “People have been ostracised from friendship groups, and some people will no longer admit how they voted; it’s very sad.” One of his hopes is that the book will contribute to a greater understanding of, and sympathy for, opposing standpoints. For Jason, who lives at the Gunnersbury end of Chiswick, the conduct of the referendum campaign still holds the key to the outcome. “The Remain camp placed too much faith in ‘project fear’, while not doing enough to sell the benefits of EU membership,” he said, adding that Barack Obama’s comments about Britain ending up at the back of the queue if it opted for Leave had squandered a potentially valuable asset for the Remain cause. How To Lose A Referendum, by Jason Farrell and Paul Goldsmith, is published by Biteback at £20 Clare Balding Chiswick Book Festival W riter and broadcaster Clare Balding has been unveiled as one of the headline speakers at the Chiswick Book Festival. Clare, who lives in Chiswick with her broadcaster spouse Alice Arnold, will take to the podium at St Michael & All Angels on Friday 15 September, to talk about her horse- themed children’s books. Her latest volume, The Racehorse Who Disappeared, is to be published by P uffin Books in October – a follow- up to her bestselling debut novel, The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop. I have been so surprised and touched by the response Inspired by the true story of the kidnap and disappearance of Derby-winning horse Shergar, the new book continues the equine adventures of Charlie Bass. “I have been so surprised and touched by the response of those who have read The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop,” admitted Clare, 46. “Having met thousands of them in schools and literary festivals, I can now fully appreciate that young readers engage thoroughly and passionately with the books they read. “They suggest plot lines, recount their favourite bits, feel really attached to the characters and, I hope, feel inspired to write their own stories.” She will have a chance to meet and chat to more fans at the book festival, which runs from 14-18 September, and is the ninth in the popular book festival series in Chiswick. Clare, a sports broadcaster of the year, was recently revealed to be a relatively underpaid BBC talent, despite being one of the hardest-working stars, presenting horse racing, the Olympics, Wimbledon, Sport Relief, the Boat Race and a shoal of other programmes including her own chat show.