Spinning a yarn?

ALASTAIR Campbell is confident that there will be a lot of “sound and fury” following the release of his diaries, titled The Blair Years.



The diaries are indeed full of sound and fury, but the effort appears to signify nothing. 'The Blair Years', written by the infamous spin doctor and the former British prime minister's bosom friend, aspires to be a compendium of one of the most significant chapters of England's political history. The book deals with an era which will be remembered by future generations as the one in which the country ran an unpopular war following in the footsteps of the US, led by GWB, as President Bush is referred to in Campbell diaries.

If we go by the extracts, published in newspapers, which give a first-hand account of what went on in the run-up to the Iraq war, there's nothing new that can hold readers' interest. The depiction of the pre-war days is drab. It just records the bickering among Labour MPs over whether the country should go to war or not. It shows TB (or Tony Blair) losing his sleep over getting support for the campaign against Iraq. Above all, the extracts portray Blair as the one whose performance had been “superb” and whose persuasive powers won the day for him.

Campbell, who now devotes most of his time to doing charity work, calls his book a good one for politics. He also maintains that it will be good for Tony because it dwells on the achievements of the Blair government. But critics say it's anything but an authentic account of politics of our times. He also leaves out crucial topics like the Blair-Brown rivalry for obvious reasons. As for trying to resurrect Blair as a great hero in the eyes of his countrymen, he should know that it's just an exercise in futility.

Diaries are often meant to be confessional. So it remains to be seen how Campbell has tried to redeem himself in that sphere. When he says that he came up with the book now because he's still fresh in people's memory, he must have borne in mind that he will mostly be remembered for the David Kelly affair.

In the final analysis, Campbell is no Samuel Pepys whose diaries gave a true insight into Restoration England. After all, Pepys was no spin doctor!


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