For almost two decades John Smith has been a solid, reassuring presence on the Labour Party front bench: an intelligent, shrewd Scottish advocate who makes very few mistakes, has committed none of the personal follies which ruin political careers and, unusually for a top-level politician, is almost without personal enemies. His easy victory in the leadership contest which followed Labour's defeat in the 1992 election was a tribute to the diligent care he had taken in building his political career.
But does John Smith have the political vision and willpower required to bring the Labour Party's long term in opposition to an end? He will be given only one chance. After the next general election he will either be Prime Minister or out of front-line politics. In this first ever full-length biography of the Labour leader, Andy McSmith gives an insider's assessment of whether Smith is equal to the task of modernizing the Labour Party and pulling of the victory which has eluded it for over a decade. The book provides a wealth of detail, based on original sources and numerous personal interviews, about the past life of a man who is still an unknown quantity despite many years in the public eye. It portrays someone who has stuck with remarkable consistency to a core of beliefs which formed his youth, and provides an acute evaluation of his ability to put those beliefs into practice.