"Blair Unbound" - Hatred and Loathing at the heart of Westminster
Anthony Seldon is headmaster of the prestigious Wellington College in his day job, but when he's not admonishing the prosperous scions of Britain's upper classes, he is the assiduous recorder of contemporary British politics, authoring or editing comprehensive volumes on the Major and Blair years. His most recent work, doubtless scribbled between assemblies, is 'Blair Unbound', currently being serialised in the Mail on Sunday. Not, I know, everyone's paper of choice, but well worth getting on Sunday for the next instalment of Seldon's extraordinary revelations.
For the core of his new Blair biography is the narrating of the genuine loathing that existed between the Blair and Brown camps during the former's premiership. In particular, Seldon reveals the extent of the hatred that Brown's upstart young aides - Eds Balls and Miliband - had for the man who made Labour electable again. So obnoxious were they to Blair himself, that the former premier likened himself to an 'abused housewife'. Balls, meanwhile, was not above screaming at Brown himself either, as when the Chancellor failed to stick the knife in to Blair on a 'Today' interview after the 2006 local elections, causing an out of control Balls to yell at him, "You bottled it!" This charming man is now in charge of England's school system, and is referred to as the Secretary of State for Children! Hmmm. That's beginning to have the same level of appropriateness as putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.
The fascinating extract in last week's paper can be read on the MoS pages here, while Bill Jones sets out the key points and adds a brief commentary on his blog here. For those interested in delving further into the mire of Blairism, this blog is a strongly pro-Blair one, commenting at length upon the Seldon extracts.