So you may be interested to see the below, his Christmas reading list for Conservative MPs.
He emphasises that it is merely a "list of suggestions and there is no three line whip of compulsory reading with a Q and A exam when we return in January".
- Angus Hawkins – The Forgotten Prime Minister: The 14th Earl of Derby, Achievement, 1851-1869 (Oxford University Press, £30.00)
- David Torrance – George Younger: A Life Well Lived (Berlin £30.00)
- Sir David Mitchell – From House to House: The Endless Adventure of Politics and Wine (The Memoir Club £18.00)
- Bernard Donoughue – Downing Street Diary, Vol II (Jonathan Cape £30.00)
- David Marquand – Britain Since 1918: The Strange Career of British Democracy (Weidenfield and Nicholson £25.00)
- Giles Radice – The Tortoise and the Hares: Attlee, Bevin, Cripps, Dalton, Morrison (Politico’s Publishing Ltd £25.00)
- Chris Moncrieff – Wine, Women and Westminster: Behind the Scenes – Stories of MPs at Play over 50 years (J R Books £14.99)
- Matthew Parris and Prue Mason – Mission Accomplished!: Things Politicians Wish They Hadn’t Said (J R Books £8.99)
- Chris Patten – What Next? Surviving the Twenty-First Century (Allen Lane £25.00)
- Hugo Young – The Hugo Young Papers: Thirty Years of British Politics – Off the Record (Allen Lane £30.00)
- Niall Ferguson – The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (Allen Lane £25.00)
- David Loyn – Butcher and Bolt: Two Hundred years of Foreign Engagement in Afghanistan (Hutchinson £18.99)
- Hew Pike – From the Front Line: Family Letters and Diaries 1900 to the Falklands and Afghanistan (Pen and Sword £19.99)
- Conor Foley – The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War (Verso books £14.99)
- Richard Dowden – Africa Altered: States, Ordinary Miracles (Portobello Books, £25.00)
- Doris Kearns Goodwin – Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Simon and Schuster £11.00)
- Simon Schama – The American Future: A History (The Bodley Head £20.00)
- Robert Reich – Supercapitalism: The Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books £12.99)
- Alice Schroeder – The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (Bloomsbury £25.00)
- Bob Woodward – The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006 – 2008 (Simon Schuster £18.99) (This book complements his three previous works, Bush at War (2002), Plan of Attack (2004) and State of Denial (2006)).
- Bartin Gellman – Angler: The Shadow President of Dick Cheney (Allen Lane £25.00)
- James Harding – Alpha Dogs: How Spin Became a Global Business (Atlantic Books £22.00)
- Anthony J Badger – FDR: The First Hundred Days (Hill and Wang £16.99)
- Milton Friedman and Anne Jacobson Schwartz – The Great Contraction 1929 – 1933 (Princeton University Press, £11.00)
- Anthony Trollope – The Way We Live Now (Oxford Paperbacks, £7.99)
- Celia Haddon – The Joy of Cats (Hodder and Stoughton £9.99)
Simpson, a military historian, adds the following note at the end of the list in order that readers can decide over Christmas whether they are positionalists or manoeuvrists…
"Positional and Manoeuvre Warfare
Generally speaking positional warfare is one dimensional and about occupying ground and is mainly attritional. Manoeuvre warfare is about operating in three dimensional space and mystifying and misleading your opponent. Naturally, in warfare there will be times when you need to be a positionalist, not least to draw in your enemy and wear him down. But the manoeuvrist approach is much thought of by today’s military who appreciate that our terrorist opponents certainly favour it as a method of waging war.
Naturally, you can’t draw exact parallels between military operations and politics but there are some interesting similarities, not least in balancing means and ends."