Media Spotlight: Cameron at 10 – The Inside Story 2010-15, by Anthony Seldon and Peter Snowdon


This week’s review – of Cameron at 10: The Inside Story 2010-2015 – looks at an in-depth analysis of UK prime minister David Cameron’s time in power. Or at least, that is what this book promises. 

Sadly, it fails to deliver on its word – much like its subject matter, some people would say.

Given that authors Anthony Seldon and Peter Snowdon are respected political writers, and given the unfettered access that both were afforded by the prime minister’s closest advisers, readers would be forgiven for expecting a deep insight into the private conversations held in the darkened rooms of Whitehall and at least a glimpse of what goes on behind the closed front door of 10 Downing Street.

Those expectations are left unrealised, however, as the book consistently teases with the hint of revelation before disappointingly moving on, leaving the reader unfulfilled. 

A particular example is the failure to delve deeper into Cameron’s relationship with media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his young protegée, Rebekah Brooks. It is made clear that the prime minister had concerns about the details of these relationships being exposed by the Leveson inquiry, but apparently there has been no investigation as to why. 

There are transcripts of discussions between Cameron and his German counterpart, Angela Merkel, in which he clearly states his “passion for the single [European] market”, but he cannot openly say this for fear of the public response. There is a suggestion of weakness and pandering to polling data but, again, no further investigation. It is just something that happened.

Other examples litter the book, which in itself serves as a reliable retelling of Cameron’s first five years in government but is not marketed as such. 

This was supposedly the “inside story” but it reads as an account of what the people on the inside in fact want the public to know. The dirty laundry remains firmly within the basket. 

A rival biography, co-authored by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft, is due to be published soon and is reportedly more likely to contain the inside information on Cameron’s premiership that readers may be seeking. 

Perhaps the authors of Cameron at 10 should have looked – as Lord Ashcroft apparently has – to those outside their protagonist’s group of trusted ‘Yes men’ and included the insights of those who may have struggled to get their voice heard in the past five years of coalition and then Conservative government.

There is little input from Liberal Democrats who surely felt marginalised during their purported shared tenure. And there is an all-too-brief section on the troubled relationship between London Mayor Boris Johnson and his distant cousin in power. 

In summary, what we have is more of a history book than any political exposé and, while some may enjoy a factual retelling, it is easy to feel short-changed by this account of what has in fact been a fascinating five years in the seat of power.


Jackie Uhi Barclays scroller

Analysis: Times are good but we have more to do

With lending activity continuing to gather momentum, consumer confidence seemingly riding high and mortgage rates still close to historic lows, all appears rosy for UK lenders and borrowers alike. Now, who is expecting a ‘But…’ here? Well, there will always be some kind of ‘But…’. There is concern over China’s economy. Exactly how, and if, […]


FPC: ‘No immediate cause for action in B2L’

The Financial Policy Committee says there is “no immediate cause” to take action in the buy-to-let market. However, the Bank of England committee says it is “alert” to the sector’s rapid growth and “potential developments in underwriting standards”. Minutes from the FPC’s meeting this month say: “The FPC judges that there is, at present, no […]


60 Seconds with… Nigel Payne, managing director, TFC Homeloans

How has the role of packager changed in recent years? Not much in terms of its core offering. The sector has been through a turbulent time and come out the other side leaner and wiser. A true packager’s roots are all about finding solutions for brokers and their clients, and they lost some of that […]


Housing body wants voluntary Right to Buy reform

The National Housing Federation has called on the Government to allow its planned extension to the Right to Buy to be voluntary for housing associations. If the Government agrees, it will represent a step back from one of the Conservatives’ manifesto promises, which would have forced housing associations to sell their properties to tenants at a […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up