Harper NonFiction has acquired UK & Commonwealth (ex Canada) rights to the first book from producer and former BBC political programming editor Rob Burley, Why Is This Lying Bastard Lying To Me?: 25 Years of Searching for the Truth On Political TV. Publishing Director Joel Simons struck the deal with Northbank non-fiction agent Martin Redfern. It will publish in February 2023.
The book is an irreverent and humorous insider account of Rob Burley’s 25-year career working at the very top of British political television, and the unique insight he has gained on the country’s politicians along the way. Taking us inside the negotiations, preparations and intense encounters between heavyweight interviewers and politicians, Rob reveals why those who lead us are so reluctant to speak the truth, and how they succeed in getting away with it.
Framed across 12 key political interviews of the past quarter of a century, Rob explores the state of democracy and accountability in an era when voters have come to expect untruthfulness from their leaders. From Thatcher to Johnson via Corbyn and Cameron, he asks why this is the case and what we can do about it. The book will include interviews with politicians, their advisers and leading presenters he has worked with.
Rob Burley says: ‘After 25 years making political television, working with star presenters on interviews with prime ministers, chancellors and world leaders, I want to tell the inside story. It’s no exaggeration to say that these encounters between interviewers and the politicians who rule us are a battle over truth. Now, at a time in our political culture when truth matters more than ever but is in such short supply, I’m excited to be working with Joel at Harper NonFiction to take readers behind the scenes to reveal why those who lead us are so often ready to lie and how they get away with it.’
Joel Simons says: ‘Rob Burley was the fly-on-the-wall during some of the most influential and dramatic television interviews of the past 30 years, and I’m delighted to be working on bringing his unique insight to life in this brilliantly entertaining book. From a forthright Thatcher to a shameless Boris Johnson, it’s a fascinating portrait of the modern politician and their shaky relationship with TV, the media and the truth. And with the Owen Paterson saga and the recent Downing Street Christmas party mess ringing in our ears, it feels like the perfect time to ask a question famously posed by Jeremy Paxman: ‘why is this lying bastard lying to me?”