Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Brilliant Biographer Analyses Blair's Career

Not content with writing a brilliant, 800 page biography of Blair, my old colleague and co-author, Anthony Seldon(pictured) is close to producing another: Blair Unbound. These books are truly monumental, based on hundreds of key interviews; he gives all the royalties of these huge sales, incidentally, to charity. In addition to these Stakhanovite efforts, he has written a fascinating article in The Guardiantoday. Seldon reckons, surprisingly, that Blair's legacy is stronger now than in 2004 when his first book was published and that his 'search for a legacy is showing some signs of progress'.

Blair's 'choice and diversity' agenda would have been more advanced if he had not taken so long in alighting upon it says Seldon, with the Academies shaping up to qualify 'among his greatest achievements' along with Northen Ireland. He was consequently incensed by the time taken from him by the autumn's attempted 'Brown coup'. Seldon has to admit that on foreign policy since 2003 the cupboard is virtually bare. His relationship with Bush is much ridiculed, but Seldon tells us:

'insiders insist that only with the release of documents, particularly the extraordinary videotaped conferences that take place weekly will the true nature of the relationship be understood. These documents...will reveal an intimate relationship with Bush relying heavily on Blair's evaluation of European and indeed world leaders and Blair emerging as a core player in the internal politics of the administration.

That would be a surprise I have to admit. Seldon may have been fed a line here by Blair's people from whom he must have gleaned all this material, but he is no naive postgraduate student so we must take this seriously. As for the rest we learn Brown-Blair relations are calm at present and that Blair 'is more religious' and 'philosophical...that much of what he sought to achieve will remain unfulfilled by the time he leaves office. Seldon suggests departure date will come 'soon after March 7 next year when he hopes fresh elections for the Northern Ireland assembly could lead to a breakthrough in the province'. He concludes that 'Blair may yet leave on a high point and (almost) at the moment of his own choosing'. So he didn't want to stay on longer than 2007? Now come on Anthony...

Not all post graduate students are naive thank you very much. Some are cynical political hacks mentioning no names.
No, I was thinking of myself when I was interviewing for my thesis all those years ago. Do you have yourself in mind as a 'cynical political hack'? And is this a term of approbation?
If Seldon REALLY thinks that the Academies are a 'great achievement' then he's as far removed from reality as his subject. Academies provide no improvement in the quality of 11-18 education and simply create inner city sinks that do nothing other than push the middle classes out to the suburbs and the private sector. They will prove to be the biggest disaster in British education and will blight the future of a generation.
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