Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

The Blair Years

The Blair Years: Alastair Campbell, July 11—14, 2016

My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

TheBlairYearsWith the publication of Chilcot’s Iraq Inquiry, it seems a good time to revisit the comments of a man who was right there when it happened: Alastair Campbell. Tony Blair’s former spin doctor published his memoirs to 2003 in 2007, when Blair left office. (Blair’s own memoirs followed in 2010.)

Unlike Blair’s thematically-grouped autobiography, Campbell takes a chronological approach, beginning with Blair’s ascent to power in 1994 until Campbell’s resignation in 2003. It’s frank, detailed and extremely interesting.

Those hoping for jaw-drapping scandal or the revelation of big secrets will be disappointed. What we get is a much more intimate view of life in and around Number Ten. There’s humour and pathos, whether John Prescott shouting his phonetically transcribed curses, or Mr Blair himself in his underpants.

Through the lens of one of the most recent Labour Government’s most divisive figures, we see the humanity at the core of the New Labour movement, from welfare reform to – of course – the war in Iraq. He described the anguish, uncertainty and brilliance of a man it’s clear Campbell deeply admired. Campbell is honest about everyone’s shortcomings – his included – and it’s fascinating to read a first-hand account of all the major checkpoints, from Diana to Gordon Brown.

As Press Secretary/Director of Communications and Strategy, Campbell lays bare the impact a media-savvy culture has on politics. He explains the impact a single sentence can have, the timing of announcement, the backlash anything will cause. It’s as much a game as it is serious and it’s riveting to the last.

Fair warning – he keeps calling everyone by their initials, and that gets annoying.

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This entry was posted on July 14, 2016 by in 4 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare