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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
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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