autobiography

Jim Pickard

This morning’s papers, blogs, radio and TV will be full of insights into the Blair biography and what it can tell us about the mind of the prime minister who won three terms for Labour.

Key lines include: 1] He believes that Gordon Brown abandoned the principles of New Labour, which led to this summer’s electoral defeat; 2] if he had sacked GB it would have destabilised the government and made matters worse; 3] he can’t regret the decision to go to war in Iraq, although it leaves him with nightmares.

Unfortunately it also reveals that he is a lousy writer. Reading through the chapter on Northern Ireland, you can’t help but be struck by the clunky way in which he strings sentences together. The impression is of a motivational speaker and part-time preacher trying to sound both philosophical and matey at the same time. And that grates.

The best political autobiographies make you feel that you are in the room with the writer, hearing verbatim conversations and watching history unfold one-to-one. This one doesn’t. It will be astonishing if Random House recoup their £4.6m book advance. Read more