|MIKE PARKER||Books: The Greasy Poll|
|HOME | ABOUT | BOOKS | TV & RADIO | EVENTS | CONTACT | BLOG|
Books by Mike Parker
In June 2013, I was selected as the Plaid Cymru candidate for their target seat of Ceredigion at the 2015 general election. Most of my friends thought that I was having a mid-life crisis, though admitted that trying to become a Plaid MP was probably better than buying a Harley Davidson.
Two years of solid canvassing and campaigning ensued, through the furzy lanes and farmyards of west Wales. It was a hell of a ride, even in a Renault Clio. People really do hate politicians, and assume that anyone attempting to break into their ranks must be a self-serving, expense-grabbing vulcan. Though this being Ceredigion, such sentiment was usually couched in strangely polite ways, which made it all the more disarming.
Things got a lot less courteous with a month to go to polling day. The local paper decided to exhume an article I'd written in 2001, and splash it in the most sensationalist way over the front page of all four of the editions that cover Ceredigion. The article was about the British National Party leaders and their "white flight" cohorts moving into mid Wales, in order, in the words of ex-BNP leader Nick Griffin, "to escape multicultural Britain".
In 2001, the article won me an investigative journalism award. In the election campaign of 2015, after the media had spun it into me calling all incomers Nazis, it brought me abuse, threats of violence, police involvement and people spitting at me in the street. It also contributed to me being one of only eight main challengers who failed on that May night last year to dislodge a sitting LibDem MP. I lost by three thousand votes.
The Greasy Poll is my diary of this extraordinary campaign, starting when my good friend and comrade Leanne Wood AM was elected leader of Plaid Cymru in early 2012. That was my call to action, and is why I got stuck in. Even with the hideous interlude of Nazigate, it's a decision that I never regretted, and an experience that I am delighted to have had.
As the brilliant writer Jay Griffiths put it to me in the middle of the meltdown in the campaign, "the worse it is now, the better the book will be." She was right.
Buy the book
The Greasy Poll by Mike Parker, Y Lolfa, £9.99
"Mike Parker's colonoscopy of Welsh politics will make you laugh, and it may make you angry, but above all it will make you want to change things." - Patrick McGuinness
"Searingly honest...This is a very entertaining book, about a very interesting election. But it is not always a very comfortable read." - Professor Roger Scully
"a very enjoyable read which throws a new light on many aspects of Welsh and British politics...It certainly rings true to me." - Dafydd Iwan
"In this portrait of the political badlands of Ceredigion, Mike Parker is at his self-deprecating, witty, outraged and excoriating best." - Dr Jasmine Donahaye
"A crash course in the brutal tribalism of Welsh politics, The Greasy Poll is the sobering story of what happens when a gay Englishman becomes a Plaid Cymru candidate in one of their top target seats. Mike Parker's book should be compulsory reading for anyone from outside of the political bubble who is contemplating standing for election. It will soon cure them of the idea." - Iain Dale