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A Journey Book
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Editor16 November 2010
I was in two minds about purchasing this book having been utterly disappointed with the events following Blair's very persuasive stance to justify taking Britain into the Iraq war without a UN mandate and the subsequent unfolding of events. However, the fact that the proceeds are going to the Royal British Legion convinced me that my money was benefitting a good cause and that a complete rationale for this decision may help restore my waned faith in politics.
This is a fascinating book from someone at the heart of the history at the end of the last millennium. Unlike many political memoirs it does not follow a diary form, which can be rather dry and uninsightful. Rather it is a narrative of important Labour party events and decision making; national and international affairs; and the rationale behind the responses to the most important decisions made at the heart of government, including the power struggles that take place in order to do business.
What is brilliant about the style of this book is Tony Blair's ability to be objective about himself. He recognised at many points along his priministerial office that progressive politics involves much uncertainty and that if a difference is going to be made, it means that mistakes are inevitable. He is also undeniably honest about the naivety of being a new government compared with opposition, and how he didn't really want to leave the office of prime minister when he thought he was at the top of his game having followed a steep learning curve. He leaves you under no illusions about the relationship between himself and Gordon Brown which, not unlike many Company Board of Directors, was incredibly dysfunctional. He gives a very plausible explanation for not sacking him. However, I he fails to explicitly state that one of the main reasons he didn't was that Gordon Brown held the economic skills that he was aware that he lacked. This connection is only possible by interpreting Blair's admission that he was a dismal failure at Maths and Science at School.
There are many detailed accounts of very important events, including the abolition of Clause IV; the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement; the Iraq War; 9/11; Kosovo; Afghanistan; and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. What is striking is the extraordinary sense of responsibility that Blair felt towards global politics. This seems to me to come from a philosophical position of culpability for omissions as well as actions. Tony Blair makes a striking (though not absolute) case for the consequences of failing to take action in circumstances deemed too difficult. It is this particular quality of leadership that explains why he stands out on the world stage, and why he seems so at odds with many of his adversaries within the Labour Party.
This is a remarkable and enjoyable book that yes; it does contain a lot of self justification. However Tony Blair does not ask you to agree with all of his decisions, recognising those that were wrong, poorly executed or compromised. There are some very exciting, comical and tragic moments, such as the Olympic Bid followed by the G8 summit at Gleneagles interrupted by the 7/7 bombings in London. I think the sex scene is truly cheesy and was the biggest failure of judgement in the entire book. I would have liked an explanation for the National Programme for IT but hey, some explanations are better omitted if one wants to portray a particular image.
It is definitely a good easy read and one I recommend highly.
In 1997, Tony Blair won the biggest Labour victory in history to sweep the party to power and end eighteen years of Conservative government. In this title, he reveals in detail his political and personal journey, providing an insight into the man, the politician and the statesman. It also charts his successes, controversies and disappointments.
In 1997 Tony Blair won the biggest Labour victory in history to sweep the party to power and end 18 years of Conservative government. He has been one of the most dynamic leaders of modern times; few British prime ministers have shaped the nation's course as profoundly as Blair during his ten years in power and his achievements and his legacy will be debated for years to come. Now his memoirs reveal in intimate detail this unique political and personal journey providing an insight into the man the politician and the statesman and charting successes controversies and disappointments with an extraordinary candour. The Journey will prove essential and compulsive reading for anyone who wants to understand the complexities of our global world. As an account of the nature and uses of power it will also have a readership that extends well beyond politics to all those who want to understand the challenges of leadership today.
- Tony Blair
- 2 September 2010
- Hardcover (Book)
- Third Impression
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