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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recent history told first hand
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...
Published on 9 Aug. 2006 by Chancellor Valorum

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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
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...
Published on 14 May 2007 by G. L. Haggett


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recent history told first hand, 9 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (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 "glynlhaggett" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and imformative but lacks salacious edge, 4 Feb. 2006
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (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.
The fact that many in higher Government cannot bear to breathe the same air is hardly revelatory either but its still quite shocking to know Alistair Campbell thought Mo Mowlam was “Out of her depth” as Secretary for Northern Ireland. Campbell and Mandleson come across as skulking Machiavellian characters which are probably entirely accurate though I liked the fact that Campbell became shorter tempered at the end of the week when he was tired. Prescott is viewed as being politically astute which is a bit of a jolt and quite co-operative and helpful. Blimey! Blair doesn’t receive the kicking I rather hoped he would but his reliance on advisors is disquieting and occasionally Price lets it slip that Tone wasn’t quite as in control of his emotions as he would like us to believe. Price likes Cherie but then no one’s perfect.
It’s an informative and highly fascinating read but it does become bogged down with the finer points of politics and policy too often which I know was Prices job but it makes some sections quite hard work. The book also lacks wit and is disappointingly devoid of the sort of scurrilous gossip that can really turn a book of this nature into a fizzling entertaining read. (Guiltily I think Piers Morgans “The Insider” is the most pleasurable and riveting book in diary form)
Still I suppose given Prices former profession his devotion to his former employers still lingers and he still can’t resist throwing distracting gauze over the finer racier details and slightly obfuscating the real story. A spin doctor no longer then, but he still I feel can’t quite stop himself from give the narrative a bit of a tweak from time to time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A more honest appraisal than Campbell's "The Blair Years", 19 Aug. 2007
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This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (Hardcover)
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Flatters to deceive, 27 Dec. 2007
By 
distantecho (Indianapolis, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (Hardcover)
I came to these diaries eagerly having just re-read all three superb volumes of the Alan Clark diaries and in the mood for more political insight. Clark was always going to be a hard act to follow and Price failed miserably. Diarists by their very nature are self obsessed, which in Clarks case was a positive as he was a naturally fascinating character. In Prices case it is a major drawback as he is on the evidence of this offering dull and one dimensional.

These diaries are dominated by the diarists homosexuality, a fact we are made aware of immediately and reminded of on nearly every page and which rather quickly begins to grate. We are treated to reams on the outing of Peter Mandelson and section 28, a regular listing of the Twigs and Bradshaws and other gay New Labourites and very little of any political substance. We are told of "wet kisses" from Chris Smith and the endless holidays that Price shares with his partner but of the Ecclestone affair or the Hinduja scandal barely a murmer.

Another aspect that seriously compromises the "readability" of the diairies is the necessity to explain to us who everyone is after each mention. Most people reading these diaries will be in some way "political" and probably won't need to be told who Andrew Marr is or that Byers first name is Stephen or that Al Gore was Vice President of the United States!

All in all a huge disappointment.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Best read when it was first written..., 5 Dec. 2009
By 
lifeclearout (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (Paperback)
Lance Price comes across as a pleasant enough individual, but there's something terribly dreary about this book. Morning meetings, trying to impress the boss and a whole load of policies that nobody can remember. You do get a sense of how hard everybody works at this level, but reading this book even only a few years after the event, you can't help feeling that the events described are of very limited interest now and it's all a bit ordinary. I don't think this is Lance Price's fault, but rather an aspect of modern life. Everything is so fast. The candid revelations of a Number 10 press officer have a one or two year shelf life and then...?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth reading, 21 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (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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2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the bother., 25 Jan. 2008
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This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (Hardcover)
Very disappointed with this book, I realise the writing was taken from his diaries, but was it really necessary to let us know every time he was praised for doing his job? Simply comes across as smug.
For a much more engaging read, get the AC diaries, at least he deals with more interesting subjects, less of the day to day minutie.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recent Political History Explained, 2 Dec. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (Hardcover)
It's great to have a political diary that covers events that I actually remember for a change. A great insight into the machinations of New Labour by one who worked the machine.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 18 Mar. 2009
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Mr. Daniel Delamare-lyon "Dd" (Suffolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (Hardcover)
Was expecting it to be interesting, but you learn a lot about the behind the scenes stuff that went on in this book. Very enjoyable.
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