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16 septembre 2011 5 16 /09 /septembre /2011 04:39

Blair in fiction and satire

When Blair resigned as Prime Minister, Robert Harris, a former Fleet Street political editor, dropped his other work to write The Ghost.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ70B Battery

The CIA-influenced British Prime Minister in the book is said to be a thinly disguised version of Blair. In November 2007 it was announced that Roman Polanski was to direct the film version of the novel, and would be writing the script with Harris. The film was released in February 2010 in the US.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ71B Battery

Polanski's film saw Pierce Brosnan portray former-Prime Minister Adam Lang, and dramatises Blair's relationship with the United States, as well as the possibility of war crime charges.

In May 2007, before his resignation, it was reported that Blair would be offered a knighthood in the Order of the Thistle, owing to his Scottish connections (rather than the Order of the Garter, which is usually offered to former Prime Ministers). Sony VAIO VGN-FZ72B Battery

No such move has been made since, and Blair has reportedly indicated that he does not want the traditional knighthood or peerage bestowed on former prime ministers.

On 22 May 2008, Blair received an honorary law doctorate from Queen's University Belfast, alongside former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, for distinction in public service and roles in the Northern Ireland peace process.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ90HS Battery

On 13 January 2009, Blair was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. Bush stated that Blair was given the award "in recognition of exemplary achievement and to convey the utmost esteem of the American people" and cited Blair's support for the War on Terror and his role in achieving peace in Northern Ireland as two reasons for justifying his being presented with the award.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ90NS Battery

On 16 February 2009, Blair was awarded the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University for "exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict". He was awarded the prize in May 2009.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ90S Battery

On 13 September 2010, Blair was awarded the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was presented by former President Bill Clinton, and is awarded annually to men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ91HS Battery

A Journey is a memoir written by Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1997 and 2007. Published on 1 September 2010, it is an account of how he became leader of the Labour Party in 1994 and transformed the party into "New Labour"; the party held power for a record three successive terms.Sony VAIO VGN-FZ91NS Battery

The book also details events after his resignation and replacement as Prime Minister by his Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. The memoir was initially titled The Journey, and plans to publish it were announced in March 2010; it was renamed A Journey prior to publishing. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ91S Battery

Blair donated his £4.6madvance, and all subsequent royalties, to the British Armed Forces charity the Royal British Legion; this decision received a mixed reception. Within hours of being launched, it became the fastest-selling autobiography of all time in one chain of book stores. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ92HS Battery

Protesters disapproving of the Iraq War disrupted a book signing in Dublin on the weekend after the launch. This led to the cancellation of a book signing and launch party in London, amid fears of further hostility.

The book covers much-debated issues such as Blair's latterly strained relationship with Brown after allegedly making a pact with him in 1994 to step down much earlier,Sony VAIO VGN-FZ92NS Battery

as well as his controversial decision to take Britain into war with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the aftermath of which, Blair says in the book, was a "nightmare". The publication discusses Labour's future following Brown's defeat in the May 2010 general election; his relations with the Royal Family; and how he came to "like and admire" President George W. Bush. Sony VAIO VGN-FZ92S Battery

In the final chapter, Blair warns that Labour must not return to the left-wing policies of the 1980s. Mixed reviews of the memoir appeared in the media; some journalists criticised Blair's writing style, but others praised the publication, saying the book was "candid."Sony VAIO VGN-G118CN Battery

British novelist John Lanchester described the book as "a detailed account of scrambling, scraping, horse-trading, bluffing, and fudging the way to a deal—a remarkable combination of the ramshackle and the historic."

Along with media reaction, several prominent figures expressed their views about the book. Sony VAIO VGN-G118GN/B Battery

Gordon Brown was reportedly "seething" over the criticism he received from Blair in the book, but he told aides not to criticise the publication. Labour politician Alistair Darling said the book "shows us what can be done when we have confidence, clarity and a clear sense of purpose: we can win and change the country for the better."Sony VAIO VGN-G118GN/T Battery

Families of servicemen and servicewomen who were killed in Iraq reacted angrily to the book, in which Blair does not apologise for the invasion; a spokesperson for an organisation against the Iraq War described Blair's comments about regretting the loss of life as "completely meaningless." Sony VAIO VGN-G118TN/B Battery

Shortly after the release of the book, the screenwriter of the 2006 filmThe Queen, which depicts Blair's first months in office, accused Blair of plagiarising dialogue from the film in his description of a conversation with Elizabeth II.


In March 2010, it was reported that Blair's memoirs, titled The Journey, would be published in September of that year.Sony VAIO VGN-G118TN/S Battery

On 4 March, Gail Rebuck, chairman and chief executive of Random House, announced that the memoirs would be published by Hutchinson in the United Kingdom.Rebuck predicted that the book would "break new ground in prime ministerial memoirs just as Blair himself broke the mould of British politics."Sony VAIO VGN-G11VN/T Battery

Preliminary images of the book's cover, showing Blair in an open-neck shirt, were released. In July, the memoir was retitled as A Journey; one publishing expert said the decision was likely made to make Blair appear "less messianic". Random House did not give a specific reason for the decision, describing it as a "minor editorial decision".Sony VAIO VGN-G11VN/TC Battery

It was announced the book would by published by Knopf in the United States and Canada  under the title A Journey: My Political Life;  and in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India, by Random House. The book was also released as an audiobook, read by Blair.Sony VAIO VGN-G11XN/B Battery

On 16 August 2010, Blair announced that he would give the £4.6m advance and all royalties from his memoirs to a sports centre for injured soldiers. BBC political correspondent Norman Smith said Blair's severest critics would see the donation as "guilt money" for taking the UK to war against Iraq in 2003.Sony VAIO VGN-G1AAPS Battery

The father of a soldier killed in Iraq said the donation was "blood money".  The father of a soldier killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq said he did not think Blair made the donation "with a good heart," but because he had a "guilty conscience." Sony VAIO VGN-G1AAPSA Battery

A spokesperson for theStop the War Coalition welcomed the donation, but added, "[N]o proportion of Tony Blair's massive and ill-gotten fortune can buy him innocence or forgiveness. He took this country to war on a series of lies against the best legal advice and in defiance of majority opinion."Sony VAIO VGN-G1AAPSB Battery

A spokesman for Blair said that it had long been his intention to give the money to a charity; he added aiding soldiers undergoing rehabilitation at the Battle Back Challenge Centre was "his way of honouring their courage and sacrifice." The announcement was welcomed by Chris Simpkins, Sony VAIO VGN-G1AAPSC Battery

director general of the Royal British Legion, who said, "Mr Blair's generosity is much appreciated and will help us to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of hundreds of injured personnel."


A Journey was published on 1 September, and within hours of its launch it became the fastest-selling autobiography of all time at bookseller Waterstone's,Sony VAIO VGN-G1ABNS Battery

where it sold more copies in one day thanPeter Mandelson's The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour had done in its first three weeks after publication in July; the book went straight to No. 1 on Amazon.co.uk's British bestseller list.Sony VAIO VGN-G1KAP Battery

On 8 September, Nielsen BookScan, which provides data for the book publishing industry, said that 92,000 copies of A Journey had been sold in the United Kingdom in less than a week, the best opening week for an autobiography since the company began keeping figures in 1998.Sony VAIO VGN-G1KBN Battery

The New York Times reported that in the United States, an initial print run of 50,000 copies had been extended by another 25,000, with the book set to debut at No. 3 on The New York Times hardcover best-seller list on 19 September. Commenting on its success, Andrew Lake, the political book-buyer at Waterstone's, said,Sony VAIO VGN-G1KBNA Battery

Nothing can compare to the level of interest shown in this book. You have to look at hugely successful fiction authors such as Dan Brown or JK Rowling to find books that have sold more quickly on their first day. Mandelson may remain the prince but Blair has reclaimed his title as king, certainly in terms of book sales.Sony VAIO VGN-G1LAP Battery

To coincide with the book's release, Blair recorded a series of promotional interviews for radio and television, which were broadcast on 1 September. Among the media to screen these interviews were the Arabic television network Al Jazeera, the ITV1 daytime magazine programme This Morning,Sony VAIO VGN-G1LBN Battery

and BBC Two, which aired an hour-long interview with Andrew Marr. Blair was in Washington, D. C. on the day of the book's launch to participate in peace talks with Middle East leaders, and to attend a White House dinner with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Israeli and Palestinian leaders.Sony VAIO VGN-G218LN/T Battery

British newspaper The Independentreported that Blair's visit to the United States was a coincidence, and not an attempt to be out of the United Kingdom when the book was published. On 4 September, when Blair arrived for his first book signing at a leading bookshop on O'Connell Street, Sony VAIO VGN-G218N/B Battery

Dublin, demonstrators opposed to the Iraq War heckled, jeered and threw eggs and shoes at him; none of the objects hit him. One activist pretended to be a purchaser of the book in order to attempt a citizen's arrest of Blair for war crimes. Protestors clashed with Irish police and tried to push over a security barrier outside the shop. Sony VAIO VGN-G21XP/B Battery

The demonstrators—anti-war protestors and Irish republicans opposed to the peace process—shouted abuse at those queueing to meet Tony Blair, calling them "traitors" and "West Brits". Four people were arrested during the incident.

On 6 September, several days after the launch of the book, Blair appeared on the inaugural edition of British television programme Daybreak, Sony VAIO VGN-G2AANS Battery

where he criticised the Dublin protestors as a small minority given undue media attention. Citing the already good sales figures, he expressed doubts over whether a forthcoming book signing in London on 8 September was justifiable and worth the inevitable disruption, given fears that the British National Party and other hostile groups were planning to get involved in the protests.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPS Battery

Later in the day it was confirmed the signing at Waterstone's in Piccadilly would not go ahead. On 7 September, a spokesman for Blair announced that a planned launch party for the book scheduled for the next evening at the Tate Modern would take place despite plans by the Stop the War Coalition to hold a demonstration against the event.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPSA Battery

However, the following day this event was also cancelled as a result of threats of disruption by campaigners. In the weeks following the publication, a number of media organisations reported that copies of A Journey were being moved from autobiographical sections in bookshops to sections on crime and horror.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPSB Battery

More than 10,000 people.I don't condone the violent acts of protest, but I completely understand the public's anger. I feel it too, I just decided to lead by example on a funny idea that was knocked around the net. And funny it is—but there is a serious message. Tony Blair is a liar, a cheat and a coward.Sony VAIO VGN-G2AAPSC Battery


A Journey is Tony Blair's account of his time as leader of the Labour Party and his subsequent years as British Prime Minister following his party's victory at the 1997 general election. In the book, Blair describes his often difficult relationship with Chancellor Gordon Brown as being "like a couple who loved each other, Sony VAIO VGN-G2KAN Battery

arguing over whose career should come first", and he calls Brown a "strange guy". who had "zero" emotional intelligence, He says he promised Brown in 2003 that he would resign before the next general election, but later changed his mind. He accuses him of blackmail,Sony VAIO VGN-G2KANA Battery

claiming that his former Chancellor threatened to call for a Labour Party inquiry into the cash for honours affair during an argument over pension policy. Blair admits that he was behind the decision to hand control of interest rates to the Bank of England rather than Brown.Sony VAIO VGN-G2KBNA Battery

Labour's 2010 election defeat is blamed on Brown, who Blair accuses of abandoning New Labour's policies. He does have some praise for him, however, crediting him with being a good Chancellor and a committed public servant.  "So was he difficult, at times maddening? Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/S Battery

Yes. But he was also strong, capable and brilliant, and those were qualities for which I never lost respect," he says of Brown. "When it's said that I should have sacked him, or demoted him, this takes no account of the fact that had I done so, the party and the Government would have been severely and immediately destabilised ... Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/T Battery

It is easy to say now, in the light of his tenure as prime minister, that I should have stopped it; at the time that would have been well nigh impossible."

Blair discusses at length his thoughts on military intervention in Iraq, saying, "Friends opposed to the war think I'm being obstinate;Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E/W Battery

others, less friendly, think I'm being delusional," but he concedes that the aftermath of the invasion was a "nightmare".[37] Blair defends his decision to go to war, saying Saddam Hussein "[h]ad not abandoned the strategy of WMD [weapons of mass destruction], merely made a tactical decision to put it into abeyance".Sony VAIO VGN-NR180E/S Battery

He says that he would make the same decision again with regard to Iran, warning that if that country develops nuclear weapons it will change the balance of power of the Middle East to the region's detriment. Of the situation in Iraq, he writes that some problems require a "resolution" and fester if left unattended. Sony VAIO VGN-NR180E/T Battery

On the loss of life in Iraq, he says,Tears, though there have been many, do not encompass it. I feel desperately sorry for them, sorry for the lives cut short, sorry for the families whose bereavement is made worse by the controversy over why their loved ones died, sorry for the utterly unfair selection that the loss should be theirs.Sony VAIO VGN-NR290E/S Battery

He also writes of wanting George W. Bush, who spearheaded the Iraq invasion, to win a second term as President of the United States in 2004. "George had immense simplicity in how he saw the world," he says of Bush in the book. "Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership. Sony VAIO VGN-NR290E/T Battery

I had come to like and admire George. I was asked recently which of the political leaders I had met had most integrity. I listed George near the top." On his role in the Northern Ireland peace process, Blair refers to having used "a certain amount of creative ambiguity" during negotiations, Sony VAIO VGN-NR298E/S Battery

saying that the process would not have succeeded without it. He claims to have stretched the truth "on occasions past breaking point" in the run-up to the 2007 power-sharing deal which enabled the return of devolved legislative powers from Westminster to theNorthern Ireland Executive.Sony VAIO VGN-NR460E/L Battery

He praises both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin for the part they played in the peace process. On the subject of the British Royal Family, Blair writes of conversations he had with Elizabeth II. At their first meeting following his election he claims Elizabeth II told him, "You are my tenth prime minister. The first was Winston. Sony VAIO VGN-NR460E/P Battery

That was before you were born." He tells of another occasion following the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in which he says Elizabeth II told him that lessons had to be learned from the way things had been handled after the Princess's death.Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/L Battery

He also recounts a gathering at Balmoral Castle during which Prince Philip operated the barbecue and Elizabeth II donned a pair of rubber gloves to wash up afterwards.

While he denies a dependence on alcohol, Blair says that he started drinking while in office to cope with his relationship with Brown.Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/S Battery

"By the standards of days gone by I was not even remotely a toper, and I couldn't do lunchtime drinking except on Christmas Day, but if you took the thing everyone always lies about—units per week—I was definitely at the outer limit," he says. "Stiff whisky or G&T before dinner, couple of glasses of wine or even half a bottle with it. Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/T Battery

So not excessively excessive. I had a limit. But I was aware that it had become a prop."  Blair describes alcohol as "a relief to pressure. It is a stimulant. It can make a boring evening tolerable. But it plays a part in your life." Blair says that Brown was right to restructure British banks and introduce an economic stimulus after the financial crisis, Sony VAIO VGN-NR498E/W Battery

but says that he would have slowly increased VAT and other taxes—a process known as "stealth tax"—which his government was regularly criticised for doing. "The role of government is to stabilise and then get out of the way as quickly as economically sensible," Blair writes.Sony VAIO VGN-NR50 Battery

Blair claims in the publication that he had a premonition that his predecessor, John Smith, would die less than a month before he did so in 1994. Blair goes on to say that he knew that he would be the one to succeed Smith as Labour leader rather than Gordon Brown, who had been a strong contender for the job.Sony VAIO VGN-NR50B Battery

He talks of "devouring" his wife Cherie in a passionate lovemaking session on the night he decided to run for the leadership. The final chapter of the book is a critique of Labour Party policy and discusses the party's future, with Blair warning Gordon Brown's successor that if Labour is to remain electable they should continue with the policies of New Labour and not return to the left-wing policies of the 1980s.Sony VAIO VGN-NR51 Battery

He says,I won three elections. Up to then, Labour had never even won two successive full terms. The longest Labour government had lasted six years. This lasted 13. It could have gone on longer, had it not abandoned New Labour.


The book received a mixed reception from critics. Sony VAIO VGN-NR51B Battery

Lionel Barber, editor of The Financial Times wrote that Blair's autobiography was "part psychodrama, part treatise on the frustrations of leadership in a modern democracy," saying it is "written in a chummy style with touches of Mills & Boon". Barber further writes, "Blair comes across as likable, if manipulative; Sony VAIO VGN-NR52 Battery

capable of dissembling while wonderfully fluent; in short, a brilliant modern politician (whatever his moans about the media)." Writing in The Independent on Sunday, Geoffrey Beattie called the book "revelatory". He added the book offered an understanding of Blair's "underlying psychology."Sony VAIO VGN-NR52B Battery

He said,Tony Blair's A Journey is a revelatory book in many ways, offering a glimpse into the mind of a political leader during tumultuous times ... it is sufficiently candid and detailed to give us some insight into the man's underlying psychology, and sometimes it is the smallest detail that can be the most interesting.Sony VAIO VGN-NR71B Battery

John Rentoul, author of the Blair biography Tony Blair Prime Minister, was equally positive, giving particular praise to the chapter on the Iraq War. "The chapter on Iraq is tightly argued in some detail, which may persuade those with open minds to recognise that the decision to join the US invasion was a reasonable, Sony VAIO VGN-NR71B2 Battery

if not very successful, one, rather than a conspiracy against life, the universe and everything decent," he said. The New York Timespraised Blair for his openness in the publication, saying. "When speaking about the challenges of his first term in office, Blair writes honestly and openly," the newspaper said. "Sony VAIO VGN-NR72B Battery

The style is not the elegant Oxbridge prose that might have been expected of a former prime minister but one filled with Americanisms. It is breezy, informal and candid enough to keep the reader thoroughly engaged." However, the newspaper attacked Blair's "sweeping generalizations" about terrorism,Sony VAIO VGN-NS10E/S Battery

saying, "Regarding the war on terror, the book assumes a very different character. It is marked by grand statements, sweeping generalizations, constant evocations of destiny and national character, and long quotations from government reports and Blair’s speeches. All that was gray becomes black and white."Sony VAIO VGN-NS10J/S Battery

Other reviewers gave the book a less positive reception. Writing in The Observer, political journalist and author Andrew Rawnsley was critical of Blair's writing style. "It is Tony Blair's boast that he wrote every word in longhand 'on hundreds of notepads'. That I believe," he wrote. "Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S Battery

He was the most brilliant communicator of his era as a platform speaker or television interviewee, but he can be a ghastly writer. Anyone thinking about taking this journey needs to be given a travel advisory: much of the prose is execrable ... I could say that it is a pity that Tony Blair did not employ a ghostwriter to prettify the prose and organise his recollections more elegantly."Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/L Battery

Rawnsley does, though, praise the book as being "a more honest political memoir than most and more open in many respects than I had anticipated." Mary Ann Sieghart, writing for The Independent said, "whatever its faults, and toe-curling passages, [A Journey] has many good lessons on how to succeed in both opposition and government.Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/S Battery

The Daily Mail, on the other hand, dismissed the book as "more Bridget Jones than Henry Kissinger." Julian Glover, a columnist in The Guardian, said that "no political memoir has ever been like this: a book written as if in a dream—or a nightmare; a literary out-of-body experience. Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/W Battery

By turns honest, confused, memorable, boastful, fitfully endearing, important, lazy, shallow, rambling and intellectually correct, it scampers through the last two decades like a trashy airport read." Glover also criticises Blair's prose, but says that "you can't put it down." Sony VAIO VGN-NS115N/S Battery

He adds, "At times its great flaws are magicked away by his brilliance as a politician, the man who can make you believe. Then, pages later, you feel almost sick. There are at least three gushing sexual passages, more Mills and Boon than prime ministerial memoir."Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ER/S Battery

British journalist Toby Young, author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, a memoir charting his failed five-year effort to become a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine, said that A Journey read like the "latest salvo from Katie Price in her ongoing battle with Peter André."Sony VAIO VGN-NS11E/S Battery

Young said, "I was expecting some high-minded lessons in the art of statesmanship, not a series of jaw-dropping revelations about Gordon Brown. Reading these memoirs, you get the impression that Tony Blair’s visceral hatred of his chief rival has clouded his political judgment. Sony VAIO VGN-NS11J/S Battery

Champagne corks will be popping in Downing Street tonight because A Journey does very little to enhance the reputation of either Blair or Brown." Anthony Seldon, author of a biography of Blair entitled Blair Unbound, said that the book "tells a lot." He told Sky News, Sony VAIO VGN-NS11L/S Battery

"It could have been a much better book if he had reflected more and he needed to be more candid about the most controversial war that Britain has fought in decades, about why he didn't do more to prepare for the aftermath in Iraq." Political blog politics.co.ukdescribed the book as "a rather clever bit of defensive rhetoric" which Blair uses to defend his decisions while in power.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11MR/S Battery

The article continued, however, to say the article is written in a different style to other political memoirs. "Reports that it was not ghost written must surely be true. You can almost hear him talking. Certain moments see his undoubted political genius translate into exquisite writing."Sony VAIO VGN-NS11M/S Battery

The Oxonian Review regards the "folksy, well-paced, and at times cinematic" memoir as reflecting Blair's attempt to grasp for "an understanding of his political life, its evolution from fearful popularity to courageous ignominy." Writing in American magazine The New Yorker,Sony VAIO VGN-NS11SR/S Battery

British novelist John Lanchester said that the book was "a detailed account of scrambling, scraping, horse-trading, bluffing, and fudging the way to a deal—a remarkable combination of the ramshackle and the historic." The Sunday Telegraph was extremely critical of Blair's writing style.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11S/S Battery

"If Blair wants to tell you a funny story, he makes the mistake of signalling in advance that you should be laughing—what happened was 'hilarious', his first weekend at Balmoral was 'utterly freaky'—thereby strangling the anecdote at birth. The book, like its author, is slightly embarrassing."Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ZR/S Battery

However, the newspaper said that the book was "all a little sad," saying,The author feels unappreciated. He says the book is 'a letter to the country I love', but at present it does not seem to love him back. This is perhaps because Tony Blair, at the height of his power, persuaded people that he really did understand them.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11Z/S Battery

Other reaction

On 3 September 2010 The Daily Telegraph reported that Elizabeth II felt a "profound sense of disappointment" in Blair for breaking with protocol by revealing in his memoirs sensitive details of private conversations he had with her during his time as Prime Minister. Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/S Battery

It is generally accepted that a Prime Minister does not discuss details of conversations he has with the Queen. A spokesman forBuckingham Palace told the newspaper, "No prime minister before has ever done this and we can only hope that it will never happen again."Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/W Battery

On 5 September, The Sunday Express claimed, quoting "renowned Royal biographer Hugo Vickers" and other "Royal insiders", that due to the book's contents, Elizabeth II would withhold granting him the Order of the Thistle, an honour which is bestowed on the sovereign's personal prerogative, which is given almost automatically to leaders of Scottish descent after leaving office.Sony VAIO VGN-NS12S/S Battery

On 3 September The Independent reported that Gordon Brown was said to be "seething" and "dismayed" over the criticism he received from Blair in the book, but had told aides not to criticise it. Ed Balls, a Brown ally who served in his government as Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families said,Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/P Battery

"It would have been much better if the memoirs had been a celebration of success rather than recriminations. In that sense I thought it was all a bit sad. It was so one-sided. I didn't think it was comradely."

Several more of Blair's former colleagues and political opponents also commented on the book. Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/W Battery

Former Conservative minister Norman Tebbit wrote in The Daily Telegraph, "A Journey seems to be dominated by Blair's anxiety to be seen as a great political leader who changed his country for the better. In fact it is, as I suppose all such books are to some extent, entirely about justifying himself and blaming others." Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/S Battery

However, Tebbit admitted he had not read the book at the time of writing about it and bases his opinion on media coverage of its content. Writing in The Guardian, Alistair Darling, who was Chancellor under Gordon Brown's government, said that he "read with wry amusement how Tony Blair felt after much agonising that he couldn't sack his Chancellor. Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/W Battery

History has a habit of repeating itself." He concluded that the book was "a good read and shows us what can be done when we have confidence, clarity and a clear sense of purpose: we can win and change the country for the better." Labour MP Tom Harris said that the book "will be a reminder that opposition doesn't have to be permanent, Sony VAIO VGN-NS21Z/S Battery

and that great things can be accomplished by a Labour government, but only if we have a leader capable of appealing to voters beyond our own party's core." Of Blair, he said, "There are still many, many Labour Party members who remember Blair as an election-winning genius who, in office, was popular for an awful lot longer than he was unpopular."Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/P Battery

Ed Miliband, who was electedas Leader of the Labour Party several weeks after the release of the book, said on the day of its publication,I think it is time to move on from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson and to move on from the New Labour establishment and that is the candidate that I am at this election who can best turn the page. Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/W Battery

I think frankly most members of the public will want us to turn the page.

Families of servicemen and servicewomen who were killed in Iraq reacted angrily to the book, in which Blair does not apologise for the invasion.  "I can't regret the decision to go to war. I can say never did I guess the bloody, destructive and chaotic nightmare that unfolded—and that too is part of the responsibility," he says in the book.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31S/S Battery

Reg Keys, whose son Tom Keys was killed in the country in 2005, said that the book was "just crocodile tears from Blair." Keys said, "The tears he claims to have shed are nothing like the tears I and my wife have shed for our son. They are nothing like the tears that tens of thousands of Iraqis have shed for their loved ones. Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/P Battery

They don't even come close to it. They seem to me like crocodile tears. It is a cynical attempt to sanitise his legacy."A spokesperson for Military Families Against the War said that Blair's expression of regret over the loss of life was "completely meaningless." The spokesperson added, "He has to prove his regret and giving money to charity doesn't come close.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/S Battery

He is giving a miniscule amount compared to the cost of war and rehabilitation of injured soldiers. It is laughable."

Some of the dialogue Blair uses to describe his first meeting with Elizabeth II led to accusations of possible plagiarism from Peter Morgan, the screenwriter of the 2006 biopic The Queen, which recounts events during the first few months of Blair's premiership.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/W Battery

Blair recalls his first meeting with Elizabeth II in which she tells him, "You are my 10th prime minister. The first was Winston. That was before you were born." In the film, Helen Mirren's fictionalised Elizabeth II tells him, "You are my 10th prime minister, Mr. Blair. My first was Winston Churchill."Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/P Battery

Morgan told The Daily Telegraphon 8 September that he had imagined the dialogue for this conversation, as no record of conversations between a Monarch and a Prime Minister are kept. He said,There are three possibilities.Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/W Battery

The first is I guessed absolutely perfectly, which is highly unlikely; the second is Blair decided to endorse what I imagined as the official line; and the third is that he had one gin and tonic too many and confused the scene in the film with what had actually happened, and this I find amusing b

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