ADDRESSES: Office—Faculty of Human Science, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE, England.
CAREER: Researcher and media consultant. Kingston University, research fellow. Historical consultant for British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television series The Major Years; election commentator for Financial Times and RTE.
(Coauthor with Anthony Seldon) Major: A Political Life, Weidenfeld & Nicholson (London, England), 1997.
(Coauthor with Simon Henig) Politico's Guide to the General Election, Politico's Publishing (London, England), 2000.
Sleaze: The State of Britain, Channel 4 Books (London, England), 2000.
(Coauthor with Simon Henig) The Political Map of Britain, Politico's Publishing (London, England), 2002.
Reggie: The Life of Reginald Maudling, Sutton Publishing (London, England), 2004.
Contributor to books, including The Labour Party: A Centenary History and The Heath Government 1970-74.
SIDELIGHTS: Lewis Baston is an academic historian and political scientist whose work has focused on contemporary party politics in Great Britain. He has also been a critic of British conservatives and a commentator on the revival of the Labour party under Prime Minister Tony Blair. In his 2000 book Sleaze: The State of Britain, Baston describes how liberals and conservatives, members of the Labour and Tory parties, have succumbed to a pattern of corruption. Looking back as far as 1945, Baston details the scandals that ended political careers and the farreaching efforts to cover them up. In particular, Baston condemns the British press, which he implicates in the cover-up of almost all major political scandals that surfaced between 1945 and 1975.
Although Baston discusses corruption on both sides of the parliamentary chamber, some reviewers found that his approach to the topic tends to favor the Labour party. Both Leo Mckinstry, writing for the London Telegraph, and Michael Prescott, writing for the London Times, said Baston tends to gloss over wrongdoings—or the appearance of wrongdoings—on the part of Labour figures including Bernie Eccle-stone, John Stonehouse, Peter Mandelson, and Robert Maxwell. Mckinstry also suggested that the prevalence of more aggressive, even tabloid-style, journalism diminishes the value of Baston's discussion of recent scandals.
Nonetheless, Mckinstry found in Sleaze "some fascinating new insights into the major political scandals of mid-century Britain." Prescott also described the book as engaging, "a gallop though the seamier side of our post-war political history [that] moves one to pity, anger, and incredulity."
Baston's The Political Map of Britain is an analysis of the electoral body in the United Kingdom during the twenty-first century.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
New Statesman, July 4, 1997, Lewis Baston and Anthony Seldon, "After the Deluge," pp. 18-19.
Telegraph (London, England), February 6, 2000, Leo Mckinstry, "Sleaze—A Plague on Both Houses."
Times (London, England), February 20, 2000, Michael Prescott, "Putting on the Writs," p. 45.
BBC News online,http://news.bbc.co.uk/ (December 20, 2001).
Kingston University Faculty of Human Sciences Web site,http://humansciences.king.ac.uk/ (February 6, 2002), "Lewis Baston." Macmillan Publishers Web site,http://www.panmacmillan.com/ (February 6, 2002).
Politico's Publishing Web site,http://www.politicos.co.uk/ (April 25, 2002).*