Tony Blair’s new biography took London by storm. I was in central London and watched the public response to his BOOK SIGNING SCHEDULES. I was somewhat amused because those who were involved in the protests were actually promoting the publication far beyond anything BLAIR could have hoped for. HIS BOOK HAS BEEN A HUGE SUCCESS, and everyone is reading it. I bought my copy at Heathrow Airport where the sales lady said they sold two tables full in one morning and Blair had earned over 12 million pounds already. Well, I was ready for my flight back to New York/ Salt Lake City with my reading material in my hands. I was looking forward to it, and I have not been disappointed.
I didn’t have time to read large volumes while I was in London, but I knew I was going to buy a copy and start my READ very soon. My London friends who are all very politically active were talking about it, and in general felt that it was TONY BLAIR through and through. I listened to the news media who highlighted Blair’s involvement with the arrangements for the Princess of Wales’s funeral and all that disaster as well as Blair’s total disgust with GORDON BROWN. I have spent large chunks of time in the UK all my adult life, so all these events were very familiar to me. In fact, I enjoy British politics more than I enjoy US politics with CNN, FOX NEWS, and all the rest which have become celestial rants in a very divided nation. That VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE in British politics always keeps things very interesting. In Britain there is a HEAD OF STATE–the Queen, and HEAD OF GOVERNMENT-the Prime Minister so there is always a lick of “elegance” to the scrapping which I really enjoy watching. With the Queen being wise and experienced in “old age,” you know that behind the scenes her meetings with her Prime Minister are productive. It is like having a chat with Mom, and you know there is someone who is pretty smart watching every move you make. Tony Blair grew to admire this savvy monarch. He realized that she had been HEAD OF STATE for over 50 years and had known every foreign government and how it worked and had been through great global problems. He realized that she was a fountain of knowledge, and he soon understood that she would make a significant contribution to his time in Downing Street. They seemed to come together as a team during the turmoil involving the Royal Family and the Princess of Wales at the time of the Princess’ death. For me, that kind of relationship is lacking in American politics.
The book is an easy read. I was constantly wanting to correct his grammar, but I liked the spontaneity of his writing, His informal presentation is so much his style, and it came through well. I have never liked Cherie Blair nor her attitude toward long-established traditional views, but Blair comes off as being his own person who made up his own mind. I was amused by Blair’s sub-title to one of his pictures: CHERIE AND ME. We can talk about that later–”certain things” do matter, Tony! I smiled all the way through the discussions about Blair’s evaluations of Chirac and French politics and the Elysee Palace’s attitudes: always arriving thinking they own the place. Really funny, for sure. (Did you watch Sarkozy’s State Visit to Britain a year or so ago? For sure, the same approach. Amusing. Vive de Gaulle! eh?)
Blair’s involvement with Africa, China, and even Mexico was amazing. He saw the “new world” coming, and he wanted to be involved in this changing world. Blair had a sense of global politics, and enjoyed every minute of it. Still does!
I will not discuss Tony Blair’s INVOLVEMENT IN THE ENTIRE IRAQ WAR MATTER; such a discussion would derail my purpose here. I will leave it to the NEW YORKER with its expected “ALWAYS POSITIVE VIEWS OF ABOUT EVERYTHING” to rip Blair and his views apart. (Funny, the minute I pick up the NEW YORKER, I know what they are going to say in their erudite way– pontificating about everything in the same tone! Often, I wish they would open up the window and get a breath of fresh air! I will be anxious to read!). I will say, however, that the IRAQ WAR was a turning point for Tony Blair! You read the book and make up your own minds. I will leave it at that. Ouch!
I am a conservative, but I really smiled when Blair wrote that the one thing about CONSERVATIVES is they REALIZE, but they REALIZE too slowly, and often too late. But he cautioned LIBERALS who think too quickly, move too swiftly, and often have to go back and re-do. Experience had taught him a thing or two.
It is now 5:30 am, and I have been reading all night. I often read through the night, but tonight brought a new realization for me. I have always admired the STATESMEN of the past like Macmillan, Sir Anthony Eden, Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson–yes, Truman!– and their abilities to accomplish by negotiation and compromise. As I read Blair’s book, page after page, really interested in almost every paragraph, I began thinking to myself that now we are governed by the likes of Gordon Brown, Silvio Berlusconi, George W. Bush, Sarkozy, Putin, Bill Clinton, and Jacques Chirac. I make no judgment here, but it is clear in BLAIR’S PUBLICATION that the world of politics has changed. World War I was a family squabble, and it appears that contemporary issues are highly affected by the personal relationships of the political players of our era. TONY BLAIR THRIVED ON PERSONAL POLITICAL RELATIONSHIPS BOTH AT HOME AND ON THE WORLD STAGE, and these relationships are the substance of this autobiography. AT TIMES, I FELT LIKE I WAS READING BILL CLINTON’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
I WOULD HAVE GIVEN ALMOST ANYTHING TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL DURING BLAIR’S PRIME MINISTER’S MEETINGS WITH THE QUEEN. In the end, they were a great team–each benefiting the other.
THIS IS DEFINITELY THE POLITICAL BOOK OF THE MOMENT, and I have enjoyed it very much.
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918