Friday, October 26, 2007

"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.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to my blog. Plenty of history there for your students, so I'm pleased to have them visit. I could add more - might add more - but since Mr Blair is now getting on with his own life, perhaps it's time I took mine back!

But isn't this blogging stuff addictive?

And as for Mr Balls - in the absence of any evidence of great political nous from his quarter, all I can say is this:

He looks such a pleasant, affable chap, does he not?

GM said...

Just so pleased he's in charge of something harmless like schools!!

But there is, indeed, plenty of material on your site - many thanks! Perhaps you should be offering your assistance with Mr. Blair's newly signed off biography?!

consultant said...

Perhaps I’m unduly influenced by my own secondary education, but I was always under the impression that the ability to lose control, screaming and shouting at whoever happened to be nearby, is a vital asset in running a school.

A vital asset in running one school, so surely it can only be even more beneficial when you’re running all schools?

Anonymous said...

To gm - reference the Blair biography. Yes, perhaps I should suggest he uses the blog as a resource.

Most of the Blair-haters have now stopped accusing me of being Alastair Campbell or Peter Mandelson or some such. In all modesty, you can't really buy my type of belief or have ulterior (personal or political) motivation for it), and be credible, as someone once said of the blog. As strongly as the naysayers hold the opposing view I DO believe Blair is a good man; I may be proved wrong in time and he may turn out to be the World's Number One Criminal Mastermind! But until then, I'm not persuaded as easily as many seem to have been.

Btw, I love your description: "teacher, allegedly"! I recognise that feeling.

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