21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A highly readable, fascinating account,
This review is from: Trio: Inside the Blair, Brown, Mandelson Project (Hardcover)
Giles Radice's "Trio" is a fast paced and highly readable account of the rise and fall of New Labour, and the three men at its heart. The work benefits both from the author's personal acquaintance with the trio, and also his lack of personal commitment to either "Blairite" or "Brownite" camps. Its neutral observations of the latters' competition for power stands in marked, and refreshing, contrast to the inevitably partisan views expressed in Blair's recent autobiography; "A Journey."
The story of New Labour's development from modernization of the party in the later 1980s and 90s, through to decisive electoral success, government, and ultimately infighting and defeat is delivered with political analysis few would challenge. (E.g, the importance of a wide electoral coalition in the 1997 victory, the damage done by Iraq to this broad appeal.)
Criticism of the work as excessively focusing on key individuals to the detriment of broader socio-economic factors has been made in some quarters. Whilst "Trio" undeniably views New Labour as "the Blair, Brown, Mandelson Project", seemingly confirming this critique, it is ultimately a work of biography, and, in this specific endeavour, is highly successful.
Slightly premature perhaps is its confidence in proclaiming the long term legacy of New Labour, arguing it left Britain a "social democratic country", with its influence likely to last into the foreseeable future. Amidst deep current cuts to the social spending initiated by New Labour, this judgment seems slightly premature, and from a progressive perspective, wishful thinking.
Despite these qualifications, "Trio" represents a highly robust, engaging and readable account of the rise and fall of Blair, Brown and Mandelson, and the political movement they spearheaded. As a neutral contribution to the increasingly partisan discussion of their relationships, it can only be recommended.