Clever, Enjoyable, Debut Novel by a Grandfather

I was so intrigued by the recently published novel, ‘My Resignation’ written in a rather ‘tongue in cheek’ style by James Hall, who prefers to be called Jim, I made an appointment to go and meet him at his modern, stylish home in Edinburgh’s Colinton.

Jim had originally intended the book to be published under his middle name, Rutherford, but this became lost in the excitement and so it appeared without the pseudonym. His wife, Christine made us a most welcome coffee and the three of us sat down to discuss the book, the motivation and how a series of ideas became a book.

Jim is now 88 and had a distinguished career as Head of the Post Office both in the UK and in Northern Ireland. By coincidence, one of his four sons, Mike, used to be my family vet! Jim went on to be heavily involved in Bield Housing in Edinburgh and undertook a good deal of charity work as well as being a Church Elder in Dirleton, the Halls’ former home.

Now to the book itself. The essence is that Jim became increasingly frustrated with the manner in which national government, the Scottish Government and local government were being operated, apparently without, in his view, the checks and balances on projects and expenditure which he had introduced in his earlier career.

‘It was the Edinburgh trams that finally got me started on putting the book together. Such a fiasco should never have happened!’

Very cleverly the James Hall of the book, written in the first person, describes with dry wit how, after failing to get into Holyrood, with the help of a wealthy benefactor he managed to become elected as an MP in Westminster. He had thoroughly disapproved both of the design of the Scottish Parliament building and the way costs had spiralled, in Jim’s view without proper checks and balances. He doesn’t actually say what he thinks of the design of Westminster, though the cover of the book depicts the front door of No 10.

In his imagined rapid rise to power and authority in London, helped and supported by Christine, he began to gather around him like-minded individuals until there were enough to form a new political party. He describes the new Prime Minister’s first Opening of Parliament with, again, humour, telling the reader the main topic of legislation for the new session would be Devolution.

Jim observes of the speech, ‘ Her Majesty read it well, as she always does. Then, like all good things this had to come to an end and suddenly it was tomorrow and the first day of the new Parliament. The very thought gave me goose pimples.’

The book covers a very wide range of areas of public administration, including Scottish Devolution and meeting the Queen for his first audience. He then goes on to suggest the solutions he and his colleagues found for energy, education, the health service, council taxes, transport, poverty and religion. I found it quite delightful how he manages in a self-deprecating manner to deal with these serious subjects. I can thoroughly recommend this as a good read.

My Resignation is available from Amazon in kindle edition and in paperback


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Christine Richard OBE FRSA Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.

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