Most helpful critical review
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2012
The title of Alistair Campbell's latest volume of diaries is Power and Responsibility and covers the workings inside Downing Street of Tony Blair's government and in particular the machinations employed to make sure all Labour MPs were singing from the same hymn sheet. Irag was becoming a very hot topic and Campbell gives us a fascinating and with former Mirror man Bill Hagerty's helping hand, a fair show of editing these diaries. Political ghosts flit through the pages, ghosts who have now moved on in the world, John Prescott, Peter Mandelson, George Brown and possibly the atmosphere in Downing Street is today not quite so electric with tension and counter charge as it was under Blair, for the Coalition does not have the fierce antagonism that pervaded under Labour. Still, Campbell gives a frank and revealing description of life under the microscope and we read of how the truth of was cleverly rewritten so that the party point was always to the forefront.We read of phone calls from Washington, Camp David and Texas from Tony's good friend, George and his White House aides, although it seems Rumsey and his tribe of fellow neoconservatives, were not regular callers as they were too busy making their case against Hassan,to ensure there were really weapons of mass destruction. This third volume of Campbell's diaries reveal lots of warts and all type of recordings plus the minutiae of his domestic life with Fiona Millar. This is perhaps not the time to rake over old coals for one can safely say that these Diaries will later have a historic value and prove interesting to students of British politics. It is a bit difficult for me, writing as a former Fleet Street journalist to approve his decision to ostracize newspapers that did not toe his line. His near vendetta against the BBC for the Gillagan broadcast left a dreadful scar on the Corporation and on the reporter's creditability. We read how Tony Blair orchestrated events with his so called "kitchen cabinet" his most trusted people, sitting of a sofa and chairs, a sort of informal in house Cabinet meeting without all the Ministers or Civil Service. Still, Campbell has given the world a good look behind the political scenes, the half lies and truths, and that is a saving grace.