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Not Quite the Diplomat describes what has been happening in Britain, Europe and the world since 1997 from the perspective of one at the heart of international events. In examining how we got to where we are, he writes candidly about many of the major players and what happened behind closed doors. In arguing about where we should be, he writes with the directness of a man freed at last from the bonds of diplomatic restraint. Will the British still be trying to work out who we are and what we want to be as the world moves on? How far can Europe expand - and is Europe all a terrible mistake or where our destiny lies? Does the old, fractured Western alliance still have the time and the will to shape the world before the rise of India and China? Chris Patten's answers to these questions are pungent and devastatingly well informed. No recent book by a politician of any political persuasion has been so engaging, so outspoken - and often so funny. If Chris Patten is no longer the diplomat, it is the readers of this book who are the beneficiaries.
Chris Patten is currently Co-Chair of the International Crisis Group and of the Anglo-Indian Round Table, and is Chancellor of Oxford and Newcastle universities. As a British MP from 1979 to 1992 he served as Minister for Overseas Development, Secretary of State for the Environment and Chairman of the Conservative Party, being described afterwards as 'the best Tory Prime Minister we never had' (Observer). In 1998-9 he chaired the Independent Commission for Policing in Northern Ireland, and from 1999 to 2004 he was European Commissioner for External Relations. He is probably best known for being the last Governor of Hong Kong (1992-7), about which he wrote in East and West (1998). Both that and his most recent book, Not Quite the Diplomat- Home Truths about World Affairs (2005), were No. 1 international bestsellers. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1998 and a life peer in 2005.