1 Sep 2010

Blair bares all in memoirs

From the Office of Tony Blair, a rare and privileged communication received yesterday afternoon.

It promised that if I went to this website I would be treated to advance extracts from his book. Further, they would be published at 11.30pm last night. For me – perhaps for no one else – a broken promise.

When I went to bed at 11.46pm, no extracts. At 6.00am this morning, no extracts. All I could find were some rather eerie photographs of the former premier. I’m indebted to others for supplying me a few quotes from inside the tome.

“Maddening” Gordon made him drink more than he should have. So if there are no extracts on his website (for me at least), at least there are his somewhat gaunt features to prove that this at least may have been true. He was “right” to go to war. No apology for Iraq, but he writes that he will try to remedy the “consequences” until the end of his days. Buy the book and you too can contribute to his efforts.

All “maddening” Gordon seems to have done, in Blair’s book, is to have lost Labour a British general election. Even A Journey doesn’t blame him for Iraq. Although if Gordon had been a bit more “maddening” he might have done many tens of thousands who died, and millions who fled (and have still not returned), a great service.

For some reason, our former dear leader has not seen fit to grant Channel 4 News an interview. This is a loss. I always found him a rewarding interview. He was good at it. I never found the small talk easy – publicly relaxed and personable, he was privately awkward, almost, and unexpectedly gauche. But definitely seemed a nice man.

So how will history judge him? One of his confessions is that he regrets the fox hunting ban – it is close to an apology, not to the fox, but to the country.

“I didn’t understand the issue”, he is reported to have said. So that’s OK, he understood the war on Iraq – it was “right” – but not the attempt to prevent acts of cruelty against our four-footed foes.

Doubtless, A Journey (THE Journey was reportedly pulped as too much) will infect our debate tonight live on Channel 4 News with all five Labour leadership candidates.

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