The Spectator

What’s missing from the Blair years?

What's missing from the Blair years?
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A "gold mine": that is how the Tories would regard Alastair Campbell's unexpurgated diaries, according to Campbell himself. In an interview with Andrew Marr, the great spin doctor admitted that his relationship with the press went "horribly wrong" and that Bill Clinton urged him to look in the mirror and ask if that had something to do with his own methods as well as the feral beasts of the media. Campbell came as close as he ever has to admitting a degree of complicity in the death of Dr David Kelly, describing himself as "a player in a series of events" that led to the scientist's suicide.

When Tony Blair saw the diaries, he apparently said: "God, this is quite an account!" According to Campbell, the former PM's principal worry was that other world leaders would be angry about the disclosure of private conversations - further proof that Blair sees his future (and his future earning potential) in purely global terms. Campbell said that the noble purpose of the book, beyond securing his pension, was to show that the protagonists in the Blair era were "driven by their wanting to make change". But he readily conceded that "relations were pretty tense" between Tony and Gordon at times, and that there were other divisions. He claims that the book is "warts and all", when it is patently no such thing. One wonders what the censored warts really are that Mr Cameron would regard as such a treasure trove.