Posts Tagged ‘A Journey’

We lost the 2010 election during Blair’s watch, as well as Brown’s, says Michael Dugher

06/09/2010, 11:57:20 AM

ALL THE LABOUR leadership candidates have dared to disagree with Tony Blair that we lost the last election because we weren’t sufficiently New Labour. In yesterday’s Observer, Andrew Rawnsley lamented this lèse majesté.

Memoirs and diaries, especially from former prime ministers, are important.  After ten years in office, with three general election victories under his belt, Tony Blair’s deserve to be read.  But what is disappointing is that Blair is so palpably out of touch when it comes to understanding why we lost in 2010 and how Labour can win again in the future.

Much of what Rawnsley writes I agree with.  He is quite right that Tony Blair “understood how to communicate with the public; he grasped that parties must constantly renew themselves to keep up with events, the world and the voters”.  He is equally right that it is “foolish to fashion the party’s future policies or presentation as if the dateline were still 1994 rather than 2010”.  And that Blair understood that “the centre-left wins and holds power only by creating a broad appeal which embraces not just their natural and traditional supporters, but voters without tribal allegiances to Labour”. (more…)

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Blair’s book gesture is testament to the quality of its author, says Paul Richards

17/08/2010, 08:00:56 AM

Tony Blair’s autobiography A Journey would have made its author a very rich man. Or should that be an even richer man. The advance was £4.6 million. There’ll be a lucrative serialisation in a Sunday newspaper. It will be translated into many languages, and sell around the world. Already 14 territories have secured translation rights. There is little doubt that with an early release as a paperback Blair’s book will hit the non-fiction best-seller lists and stay there for many weeks. It will probably rival Barack Obama’s Dreams of My Father as a best-seller by a politician which cuts through to the mass market.

All of which makes his decision to donate every penny to the Royal British Legion both remarkable and laudable. For most leading politicians – Prescott, Mandelson, Thatcher, Clinton, Wilson, etc – a memoir is partly the chance to set the record straight, but mostly the chance to make a wad of cash for the retirement fund. Blair has shown that he is a cut above your average politician. He wants his book to tell a story, not make a mint.

There are plenty of people who will say it’s just ‘blood money’, motivated by guilt for sending British troops to war in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. The professional, irreconcilable Blair-haters are always swift to ascribe motives to Blair’s every move. It must be quite a responsibility to possess the ability to read Blair’s mind so accurately all the time. They will never accept, unlike the British Legion, that this is simply a fantastically generous  donation to a good cause. The grubby motives they will ascribe, and ill-grace with which they will react to the donation, say more about them than Blair.


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