Blair Years

Sun loungers across the world were groaning beneath the combined weight of Brits and ‘that book’ this summer (all 700 pages of it). The Blair Years, Excerpts from the Alastair Campbell diaries (Tony Blair’s’ communications advisor) has been Harry Potter’s only real rival this year and I waded through it with a mixture of horror and fascination.

The horror bits include:

Alastair really, really does hate the media… really he does.
Blair’s blindness/bloody-mindedness on the views of the media and the country to things like his holidaying in the mansions of his rich and powerful friends and the weird obsession he and Cherie had with Carole Caplin
George W Bush would appear to be a funny and humorous man!
When he discovers that he quite likes running, Campbell immediately has to enter the London marathon . . what’s wrong with the occasional jog?

The fascinating bits include:

The apparent real importance of John Prescott in keeping the New Labour project connected to the Old Labour membership and the Unions and his buffer role between Blair and Brown
The events around Peter Mandelson’s second resignation (or defenestration as Mandelson later labelled it). . . . a total and apparently avoidable cock-up between Blair, Campbell and Mandelson
The impression was always that No10 was a well run machine (in fact the accusation was that it was too well run and too controlling) but the book gives the impression thatit lurches from event to event with little long-term planning . . . maybe that’s what it’s like running a country rather than a firm?
The relationship between the US and the UK leadership teams (US basically in charge but the UK having to explain that the world is not like the US). . . . eerily similar to a few PR firms I have worked in!

Required reading though for anyone with any real interest in politics, media or PR

[tags] Alastair Campbell, Blair Years [/tags]

Categories Technology

2 thoughts on “Blair Years

  1. Went through Lance Price’s previous account of those years in the infamously-named “The Spin Doctor’s Diary” when it was published a while ago. Although Campbell was the alpha dog of the PR team in N°10 I wonder if Campbell REALLY brings more than glitz to the story we know quite well already…


  2. He certainly brings a lot of detail . . and he obviously did not have much time for Lance Price!


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