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Left Out

The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn
Narrated by: Matthew Spencer
Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Left Out is the first full account of Labour's recent transformation and historic defeat.

The 2017 parliament began with Labour on the precipice of power and its left-most fringe - for so long alienated within its own party - closer to government than it had ever been. It ended with them even farther away than they started.

From the peak of Jeremy Corbyn's popularity and the shock hung parliament of 2017 to Labour's humbling in 2019 and the election of Keir Starmer, Left Out draws on unrivalled access throughout the party and to both leaders' inner circles to provide a blistering narrative exposé of the Labour Party during one of the most tumultuous and significant episodes in its history.

It reveals a party riven by factionalism and at war over ideology, then incapacitated by crisis and indecision. From the plotting of the break-away Independent Group to the inaction and despair over accusations of anti-Semitism, from complaints of sexual harassment and bullying to foiled coups and furious disagreements over Brexit, the listener is in the room as tempers fray and tensions boil over, as sworn enemies forge unlikely alliances and lifelong friendships are tested to breaking-point.

At the heart of the book is Corbyn himself, a man whose like had never been seen at the top of British politics - and is unlikely to ever be seen again. Heroised for his principles by some, derided as an idealist by others, the loyalty and hatred he inspired changed not only the party but the nation.

Intimately drawn and brilliantly told, Left Out is the revelatory inside account of how Labour became the party it is today and of the greatest experiment seen in British politics for a generation.

©2020 Gabriel Pogrund, Patrick Maguire (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A stunningly good book with jaw-dropping revelations on every page, Left Out is the ultimate inside story of how Jeremy Corbyn went from the brink of victory to one of the worst defeats in British political history. It is both a breath-taking work of political journalism and a gripping first draft of history that is unlikely ever to be bettered. Unquestionably the political book of the year." (Tim Shipman, author of All Out War)

What listeners say about Left Out

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Very good although too charitable to Corbyn.

I really enjoyed every word of this account. It seemed balanced and well-researched. Quite shocking in parts even though I had followed the Corbyn era closely and knew both his failings and the ways in which the project would inevitably fail.
Only criticism: much too kind to Corbyn. The writers assume his goodness and kindness. Yet their own story inevitably leaves us with the conclusion: a kinder, gentler man would not have insisted on leading us into the present calamitous era.
Their account, in my view, makes the wrong deductions about the failure of the project. Its demise was inevitable from the start.

3 people found this helpful

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An excellent exposé of Corbyn incompetence

Loved it. Highlighted exactly why Labour's wasted 4 years under Corbyn led to a landslide tory victory in 2019.

3 people found this helpful

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An insightful, fair account of the latter Corbyn Years

The story told by Pogrund and Maguire has elucidated a fascinating look at the behind the scenes of Corbyn’s time as Leader of the Opposition.

Though you might expect it to be heavily critical of the project, it was a reasonably fair look at the successes and failures of Corbyn’s leadership.

The actual performance itself was clear, had very few stumbles, and was delivered at a solid pace.

2 people found this helpful

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Not the hatchet job many were expecting

Not sensational in any way, has been assembled from interviews with over 100 top Labour figures, and presents a history of the Corbyn years. It is not very judgemental. Corbyn comes out as a principled person but somebody so averse to conflict that it made him a weak leader. Watson comes out no better, an opportunist and rather unpleasant shapeshifter, and neither do Austin, Umunna or Leslie. If there is a central villain of the piece it is Karie Murphy, as Corbyn’s chief of staff, who is at the heart of everything that happens. Something that particularly interested me was that I had not realised just how early the split between Corbyn and McDonnell took place, and how deep it became. I was also unaware of Long-Bailey’s reticence towards standing for the leadership. I’d recommend reading it, it is not a simple hatchet job on Corbyn or ‘the project’.

2 people found this helpful

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Yesterday's Men

No earth shattering revelations in this account of Corbyn's downfall but a jaunty narrative that keeps the interest. Already it feels like ancient history as so much has moved on since Covid-19, Brexit excluded obviously!
The only leading player who comes out of it with credit is McDonnell, the rest are shown to be mainly inexperienced, incompetent, nonentities, footnotes to footnotes and we're all paying the price for that.

1 person found this helpful

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A thorough, detailed account of 2017-19

As a die hard Labour member, I listened intently to this book,to learn what really went on at Labour HQ,between 2017 and 2019. There is lots of detail on all the events and characters, in these years. Hopefully lessons will be learned, for the future benefit of the party.

1 person found this helpful

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Exposes the emptiness at the heart of Labour

Using first-hand accounts from Labour Party insiders, the book offers a largely uncritical view of the Corbyn leadership, allowing the players to tell the story.

While clearly striving for balance, the authors' own left-wing political positions do tend to bleed through the narrative, replaying disproven remarks and assertions as if factual.

The picture that emerges is of a party still struggling to connect with the electorate; polling meaningless slogans without real substance to see if something might finally stick. The hidden antagonism of Blair, Brown and Mandelson, the machiavellian scheming of McDonnell to sideline his old comrade and Corbyn's personal disengagement leave the overwhelming impression that the UK narrowly missed having inflicted upon it a party entirely unsuited to govern and that Starmer offers more of the same, beneath a more polished veneer.

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A well written insider's account.

A true eye-opening, compelling and balanced account of the ins&outs of the bizarre and often embarrassing leadership of Corbyn. A must-read for anyone interested in Labour and UK politics.

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Disappointing narration

This was a gripping account of the Corbyn years, with plenty of insider information. Unfortunately the narrator made so many errors of pronunciation - editors where were you? By the end I was looking out for these errors, and it detracted from the main thrust of the book.

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Edit the audio!

Matthew Spencer is an excellent narrator but Penguin hasn't bothered to pick up on and correct slips and mispronunciations. Annoying.