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Spin Doctor's Diary [Paperback]

Lance Price
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jun 2006
While Lance Price was Alasdair Campbell's deputy in the Downing Street Press Office at the end of the 1990s and then Director of Communications at the Labour Party, he kept an informal journal of his experiences.

Published in full for the first time, these controversial diaries offer a rare and unfiltered perspective of Tony Blair as Prime Minister and the kind of government he runs. We see ministers, from Blair down, behaving as human beings - ambitious, vain, obsessed with image and petty rivalries - but also industrious, determined to succeed and all too aware of the price of failure.

This is New Labour at the height of its power, with a huge majority and a feeble opposition, a government elected with high expectations and yet beset by self-inflicted wounds. THE SPIN DOCTOR'S DIARY reveals in detail for the first time the overwhelming obsession with spin; the scandals and resignations; the bitter rows - not just between Blair and Gordon Brown, but also over who should be Mayor of London, the Euro, devolution, public spending and much mroe besides.

Lance Price describes what he did and what he saw with refreshing wit and candour. This is politics stripped bare - not always a pretty sight, but an unforgettable one.


Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New edition edition (5 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340898232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340898239
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 12.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'These are gripping diaries, acutely well-observed and written in fine prose. They provide the first insider diary account of Blair's Number 10. They will be as fascinating to readers today as they will to future historians.' (Anthony Seldon)

'An enjoyable romp through the ministries of delicate egos and dangerous arrogance.'

(The Sunday Times)

'This book will be a useful tool for future biographers and analysts to pinpoint the chronology of key decisions.'

(Observer)

'Quite brilliant . . . These diaries have performed a public service of great importance.'

(Peter Oborne, Evening Standard)

'Surprisingly amusing for a chap who worked in a government not known for its sense of humour.' (Marina Hyde, Guardian)

'The most explosive political diaries since Alan Clarke.'

(Mail on Sunday)

'It's a wonderfully guileless book and irrestible if you enjoy the New Labour sitcom.'

(Catherine Bennet, Guardian)

'Price's diary should be compulsory reading for anyone who wants to understand the chaotic arrogance of the New Labour years . . . this is an extraordinarily revealing document.'

(Simon Edge, Daily Express)

From the Inside Flap

While Lance Price was Alastair Campbell’s deputy in the Downing Street Press Office at the end of the 1990s and then Director of Communications at the Labour Party, he kept an informal journal of his experiences.

Published in full for the first time, these controversial diaries offer a rare and unfiltered perspective of Tony Blair as Prime Minister and the kind of government he runs. We see ministers, from Blair down, behaving as human beings – ambitious, vain, obsessed with image and petty rivalries – but also industrious, determined to succeed and all too aware of the price of failure.

This is New Labour at the height of its power, with a huge majority and a feeble opposition, a government elected with high expectations yet beset by self-inflicted wounds. The Spin Doctor’s Diary reveals in detail for the first time the overwhelming obsession with spin; the scandals and resignations; the bitter rows – not just between Blair and Gordon Brown, but also over who should be Mayor of London, the Euro, devolution, public spending and much more besides.

Lance Price describes what he did and what he saw with refreshing wit and candour. This is politics stripped bare – not always a pretty sight, but an unforgettable one. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recent history told first hand 9 Aug 2006
Format:Paperback
Lance Price's account of Tony Blair's first term is a fascinating insight into how government - and more specifically a New Labour government - operates. Price was a spin doctor from 1998 until the landslide re-election of Blair's government in 2001. His diaries give an intimate account of how those in power seek to manipulate the media. He is often attempting to "manage" a crisis by putting the best possible spin on a situation - John Prescott punching a member of the public is a notable example. Events are concisely and compellingly told and don't suffer from the lack of narrative some published diaries are afflicted with. The relationship between Gordon Brown and Blair (and their opposing supporters) is also illustrated vividly. A must for anyone interested in British politics, Price's book is both an important account of history and a gripping read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inner workings of the Labour government 14 May 2007
By G. L. Haggett VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Detailed insight into the inner workings of the Labour government between 1998 and 2001. This is an important book for what it tells us about the gestation and presentation of those policies which affect our day-to-day lives and it clearly benefits from being written by someone whose life is all about communication. The detail of what actually goes on in the offices where the policies and initiatives are devised and their presentation is decided upon brings the political process much closer to the layman reader.

There are occasional snipes and bitchy comments where Price seems to be determined to live down to the stereotype of the [...] man, but all in all the approach is very measured, lending both authority and credibility to what is being said.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By russell clarke TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Lance Price was Alistair Campbell’s assistant between the years of 1998 and 2000 right up to the time New Labour were re-elected for the first time. Quite a lot of the time he was effectively running the country. Whether this is worrying depends firstly on how you judge Price a former employee of the B.B.C. and Labour sympathiser , but probably more importantly on how you judge the New Labour hierarchy as a whole. Personally I rather wish he was still there as I think they are a bunch of deceitful s***s who have betrayed the Labour Party’s legacy , even if he was an integral cog in the Governments spin machine at a time when they were spinning faster than a Shane Warne googly.
It Is written in diary form and is a revealing glimpse into the machinations and thought processes behind the Government at the time. It does not make for a very edifying read if you want to believe in the integrity and candour of the people at the top. That’s hardly a surprise though is it? Quite how duplicitous and downright mendacious some of these people are/were may surprise any reader. The sheer amount of time and synapse bending put into manipulating the media and achieving the story they want is quite extraordinary and raises the rather simplistic conundrum that if they spent less time arsing about with the minutiae of presentation and strategy then they might have actually achieved some real political progress. For instance Campbell spent a lot of the time trying to come up with “Names” for the various Honours lists. Kate Moss was one of his suggestions would you believe? …..For services to the pharmaceutical industry I presume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Kynance
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As far as one can tell (and that's a big if), this seems to be a far more forthright, honest and unexpurgated account of the latter half of Blair's first term than is given in Alastair Campbell's opus. As other reviewers have commented, Price's book gives an unedifying insight in to the extraordinary obsession that No 10 had with form over substance - with media headlines rather than underlying policy - during this period.
Although pro-Mandelson, Price gives riveting accounts of the man's vanity, arrogance and petulance and, as noted elsewhere, interesting insights in to John Prescott's role in maintaining some semblance of unity as between Old and New Labour during this turbulent period.
It's an easy, human and enjoyable read that doesn't suffer the major weakness of the Campbell book, namely the latter's clear concern to show himself in as good a light as possible. Here is one spin doctor who seems to have given up spinning while putting pen to paper, and the book is much the better for it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth reading 21 Nov 2006
Format:Paperback
This is another one of those books that I think you have to read if you want to understand more about the inner working of New Labour. It's not very flattering to some ministers but other are shown in a better light than they typically are by the media. Got to say though that the more I read about this Labour government, the less I respect them.
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