Sir Howard Davies has probably the best calibrated political antennae of anyone I’ve ever met. His political judgements are invariably shrewd and he fully understands the interplay of politics and administration, having worked in the Foreign Office, Treasury, McKinsey, CBI, the Bank of England and the City.
He is, then, ideally placed to write about some of the key economic controversies of the past quarter-century in his new book, The Chancellors. And he has the connections to have interviewed all the key players, both politicians and officials.
In some ways, this makes the book a successor volume to the late Sir Samuel Brittan’s classic The Treasury under the Tories (and its own updated volume Steering the Economy), which was a key textbook for those of us (including Davies himself) who studied economics in the early 1970s. His new book partly fills the same role, being extremely readable and covering much of the same ground as Brittan’s.