I couldn’t resist picking up this (signed! Thank you again, Meg!) Christmas acquisition to read as I merrily push my way through the TBR from both ends. Quite a slight but important book: if you want more biographical stuff, I suggest reading “Everywoman” but if you want bolstering up and reminding that you CAN make a different, then this is the one to go for.

Jess Phillips – “Truth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on B.S.”

(25 December 2019)

This is a guide to community and social action, a call to arms and a reassurance that anyone and everyone can make a difference and a reminder that we have a social and civic duty to speak out in whatever way we can when we witness or experience injustice.

Told in her inimitable voice, and very down to earth and plain-speaking, as you’d imagine, Phillips uses examples of women who have stood up to power and done their best, but also gives smaller examples of how we can all make a difference. She makes the point that when she speaks out in Parliament, as well as talking to those in power, she’s talking to regular people, letting them know she’s giving them a voice and representing them, and she’s very big on the power of banding together with people; she also notes that it’s often easier to speak up for others than for ourselves.

The book is full of sensible and practical advice, for example on how social media can get out of hand, and how sometimes it’s better to make your point more quietly and privately at first rather than unleashing the full power of online community (I consider myself quite good at speaking truth to power myself, but I wish I’d thought of that when I made a mistake in making a complaint visible publicly and having it work against instead of for the person I was trying to protect!) and also on making sure to minimise personal risk.

Her closing statement is a powerful one:

You have more power than you think; don’t give it away to people who don’t deserve it. LET’S USE IT! (p. 221)