Andy McSmith: The Diary 2014

A year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster

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There are two ways in which The Independent helps its readers to follow politics. The first is through the agenda-setting scoops and insights that make headlines on the pages at the front of the paper. And then, towards the back of the news run, there is Andy McSmith’s Diary.

Many readers would be pushed to say which they find most indispensable. Hence this collection of a year’s worth of the Diary’s observations: on politics, on public affairs, on prominent people – and on anything else that has popped into Andy McSmith’s incredibly well-informed head during 2014 as his daily deadline has approached.

No other diary in British journalism comes close to this one. It is both frivolous and serious, mischievous and profound, shamelessly ephemeral and infused with a deep knowledge of Westminster tradition.

Read it on a daily basis, and you can find yourself so hooked that you sometimes itch for your next fix of it before the next day’s edition has been printed. Read it at your leisure, leafing through entry after entry as this unprecedented volume enables you to do, and you are left with a vivid sense of the texture of the news over the extended period in question – the dramatis personae, the key quotes, the talking-points, the things that shocked us, enraged us or made us laugh. More importantly, you get a sense that your world-view is being illuminated by the consistent brilliance of a wise and highly experienced journalist at the top of his game.

Andy McSmith is a national treasure, and The Independent is proud to offer this anthology of his recent work as a seasonal celebration.