"Tony Blair - A Journey"
As an unrepentant and incurable Labour voter, I only got round to reading my copy of Tony Blair’s “A Journey” in the past couple of weeks. It’s a fascinating account of his life at the head of the Party which he led to three General Election victories, but will probably do nothing to endear him to those who have no desire to be charmed. The style veers wildly between the conversational and the esoteric; several words and phrases recur innumerably (“a good guy”, “smart”, “to be fair”); it’s badly in need of explanatory footnotes; and it’s inevitably self-serving (what autobiography isn’t?), and full of points-scoring against his enemies in the media and politics (although I suspect that those he most disdains simply remain unmentioned). I greatly enjoyed it, however. Those who claim that he never believed in anything will find plentiful (doubtless annoying) evidence to the contrary; anyone seeking a cringing apology for his Iraq policy will find, instead, a meticulous defence; the love-hate relationship with Gordon Brown is covered in great detail and with some poignancy. The book is most valuable, however, as an insight into the business of making life-or-death decisions involving millions of people - one is constantly reminded of J.K. Galbraith’s line about politics being “the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable”. An essential read for those interested in real-world as opposed to gesture politics.