Monday, July 09, 2007

Book Review

The Blair Years
by Alistair Campbell
£25, Random House

As New Labour's Director of Communications and Strategy, Alistair Campbell was called many things.

Spin-meister, the tabloids whispered, and Doctor Spin. The Real Deputy Prime Minister. The Hammer of Tony, some admiringly called him.

Gilligan-Fucker and Fido the Hatchet-Faced Bullshit-Cannon, muttered others.

Surely, however, he has never before been called underwhelming. A man who could be by turns charming and psychotically aggressive, Campbell's much-anticipated book of extracts from his diaries desperately needs sexing-up.

The inside cover's promise that the author deploys explosive material within only forty-five minutes of reading falls apart upon closer inspection, and the opening chapters feel oddly detached from reality, leaving the reader with the impression that they could have been plagiarised from the ramblings of a post-graduate politics student.

Seeming to lack revealing insights, he resorts early to the use of dubious sources. One hopes that Campbell's research has been thorough, as misrepresenting such information could really fuck him in future.

From start to finish, the diary extracts are full of weak and inconclusive anecdotes. It's surprising that a man known for his ferocious outbursts could not retrospectively strengthen the tone of his entries.

How sad then that this once-formidable political chef is reduced serving up such thin gruel in order to excite the public - it feels for all the world like he knows that the facts are being fixed around his policy of self-aggrandisement and enrichment.

Disappointing, vague and in all likelihood criminally misleading, Mr. Campbell should stick to utilising his talents in public relations rather than publishing.


Update!: Following the result of a public inquiry (previously leaked to the press by persons unknown) Flying Rodent now accepts that Mr. Campbell acted properly in releasing his diaries.

Flying Rodent accepts that his mischaracterisations of Mr. Campbell's work were inaccurate, and regretfully announces his resignation as editor of this inane blog.

Flying Rodent further acknowledges Mr. Campbell's central role in making the world what it is today, and wishes him every success in future.

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