Brendan O'Neill on Tony Blair's "bitchy memoirs"


Frequent Reason contributor Brendan O'Neill is not a fan of Tony Blair's new memoir:

Never mind his claim about seeing the queen washing dishes after a barbecue at Balmoral. Forget his description of John Prescott's affair as a 'silly sex scandal'. Put to the back of your mind his 'drink problem'. (Half a bottle of wine a night? Quick, someone call AA!) No, the really shocking thing about Tony Blair's memoirs is that they exist at all, that all this personal crap, all his griping, grimacing and schoolgirl-style hatred of certain Labour colleagues, has been vomited into the public arena at precisely a time when Labour is trying to select a new leader. Such a teenage elevation of the needs of the self above the needs of one's party speaks volumes about the end of politics and its replacement by the tyranny of therapy.

Read the whole thing here.


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  1. …has been vomited into the public arena at precisely a time when Labour is trying to select a new leader.

    Unrelated topic, but aren’t Bush’s memoirs due out sometime before November?

  2. Blair regrets Iraq. But sadly seems to have no regrets taking away most of the UK’s personal freedoms.

    1. Well, he subbed most of that work out to authoritarian (if not totalitarian) Jacqui Smith.

  3. He apparently gushes all over Bill and Hillary. Maybe he wants to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James when Hillary wins in 2012?

      1. I think you mean he wants to be the British Ambassador to the US, don’t you.

        An Ambassador at the Court of St. James is an Ambassador from another country to Great Britain.

        1. I know and I stand by it.

          1. Oh, I get it. 🙂

            Good one.

    1. Hillary has no chance in 2012, dude.

      1. That’s for damned sure. People are so weird about politics.

      2. Does Blair know this?

    2. Hugo Chavez in a pant-suit.

      1. thanks, I needed that.

    3. He apparently gushes all over Bill and Hillary.

      That’s because those were his golden years.

  4. Anything that reveals our “leaders” to be the rather ordinary, less than insightful, and sometimes churlish individuals that they are advances the notion that these are not “great men” and maybe we just shouldn’t lie down and do whatever preposterous notions pop into their heads.

  5. *sigh*

    It’s the British.

    Can we move on now?

  6. OT: Hipster Doofus slide show

    In particular check pics 9 and 10.

    1. With one or two exceptions, they all look like 12 year old boys dressed dressed in their Leninist Pioneer uniforms.

      1. “Jenevieve Fisher is a childrens’ cancer book writer.”


        1. I know, right? She’s cute, but the occupation is a bit of a head-scratcher.

          1. It’s Seattle. It’s full of 20 somethings who have oddball ‘creative’ jobs that allow them to spend hours and even days on end in coffee shops.

            1. The PI puts these out about once a week – I’ll try to remember to post a link. If for no other reason than to feel better about myself.

        2. No it’s cool man. She writes about the actual cancer…from its perspective, check out Tommy the Tumor for a rollicking good read!

    2. Ariana Dawson flashes a smile as she gets off work at the Alzheimer’s Association. She says she loves to shop at Nordstrom.

      Must be good work. Who the fuck can afford Nordstrom?

      1. Adam Nocek is a graduate student working towards his PhD in Comparative Literature.

        Hope I don’t sound stupid, but what is that?

        1. I uhh… I was moving towards a joke, and like Obama’s stimulus, I was just sure it was going to work, but ultimately, I’m left with nothing.

        2. From wiki:

          Comparative literature (sometimes abbreviated “Comp. lit.”) is an academic field dealing with the literature of two or more different linguistic, cultural or national groups. While most frequently practiced with works of different languages, comparative literature may also be performed on works of the same language if the works originate from different nations or cultures among which that language is spoken.

          NPR had a blurb the other day, saying that for the first time in history or some such time period, young single women are making more than young single men.

          If Adam is any indication of the modern, young single man, I think we can pretty clearly divine what may be happening in the money-making department for said single men.

        3. PhDs in Comparative Literature are things that when obtained by the rich are a good lesson in the “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in 3 generations” theory.

          When obtained by the lower and middle classes they are a lesson in a great country’s inevitable decline.

          1. Warren Miller, ski-themed filmmaker extraordinaire once said:

            “If you can afford to go to college, then you don’t need to.”

    3. pic 9:

      Jeffrey Donovan is clad in rocker garb. He says he draws his influence from bands like AFI and the Motley Crue.

      Ok wait. Wait a second. This is proof of my theory. That the fashion of young people is supposed to be the new, shock their parents and all that.

      These kids are wearing the same thing we wore when we were kids. Nothing has changed… either that or the circle is become very, very small.

      It’s very strange when a parent has to say: “You are NOT going out in the… exact same outfit I wore when I met your father, young lady…”

      1. It’s a sad day when the hip, fashionable youth are wearing clothes they pulled from their parents’ closet.

      2. It is very odd. Kind of goes with my point below about the urban hipster uniform never seeming to change. Children of hippies are the only generation in history trying to act and be like their parents.

      3. “the” Motley Crue? WTF? STUPIDITY!!

        Motley Crue is just the Village People minus the Indian.

    4. I have to say, I thought the redhead in picture 2 was pretty cute.

      I need to finish my screenplay and get my steampunk monocle before I go to Seattle, though.

      1. They won’t let you in the gates if you don’t have a record contract.

        1. Ha. I haven’t seen Almost Live in about 15 years.

    5. The guy in picture 6 appears to be undoing a wedgie, despite being dressed in a “comfortable, urban fashion.”

      1. He even has the hipster/Himmler glasses.

        I wonder if he ironically kills jews?

    6. “Elizabeth Tolson poses for a photo after she was just hired for a job.”

      By any chance was that job prostitute?

      1. Or Barista Dyke.

      2. +10. You should really come here more often Astrid. If only you and Dagny T posted more often.

      1. I am now awash in fabulousness from just looking at that guy. Seriously, where do these people come from?

          1. The worst part is I’m pretty sure I own this shirt.

            1. Did he take it from you?

              Seriously, I bet you make it look much better.

              1. You know, I haven’t seen the shirt in a while…

            2. I am thinking you look much better in that shirt.

              1. That’s because I have the attractive fun bags and push-up bra to wear that shirt properly.

                1. yeah, that sounds a lot better than the hairy unbroed man boobs that guy has. But that is just me.

          2. They both like to “shop at thrift stores”, if you know what I mean.

            1. Love the neckbeard on the guy on the left. Sugarfree would be horrified.

          3. No there are not. What is depressing is that it is the same fucking look these type of people had back in the 1990s. How long can Chuck Taylors be considered trend setting? They have been wearing the same look for twenty years now. It is the equivalent of wearing bell bottoms and beads in 1990. Is the urban hipster uniform ever going to be updated?

      2. And this bona fide member of the hipster doofi is smoking within 20′ of an entrance. And I’ll bet you all the way up to 50 cents that she voted for the smoking ban.

        1. Rules are for the little people and the uncool.

    7. Sage, I do need to give you props on the OT link. No disprespect to Mr. Root, but it’s better than the blogpost in which it resides.

      1. Thank the PI, which probably thinks they’re cool for showing this stuff.

        And thank you.

        1. Someone alert Obama, this guy is a shovel-ready project.

          1. “I wear them every day,” said Mike Humes with his Utilikilt outside the famous store. He doesn’t work at the store but he says he comes in to hangout and help out every day.

            What a utilikilt wearing loser.

            1. “He doesn’t work at the store but he says he comes in to hangout and help out every day.”

              Words fail.

              1. Proof the stimulus is working.

                1. …so these people don’t have to, apparently.

            2. Good god. I used to kind of want a utilikilt. After seeing that picture, I want to go back in time and slap my younger self just for wanting one.

              1. Me too. It’s bad enough that I have incredibly comfortable toe shoes. If I wore them with a kilt, I would have to strangle myself.

    8. Shopping at thrift stores, Roger Rudd calls his style “the polyester old guy.”

      He’s not wrong.

      1. Maybe we should get back to talking about Tony Blair?
        Naaaaaaaaaaaah. This is way more fun.

  7. The most shocking part of the book appears to be a rather TMI account of the Blairs’ bedroom:


  8. Put to the back of your mind his ‘drink problem’. (Half a bottle of wine a night? Quick, someone call AA!)

    Holy shit, half-a-bottle of wine is a Problem? I thought this guy was British. Is there some weird British synonym for wine that I don’t know, analogous to “fags” in lieu of “cigarettes?” Like instead of “wine” what an American would say is “half a gallon of Everclear and a can of Krylon” or something?

    1. To his credit, the author of the piece ridicules this attitude.

      It is striking that Blair has desperately tried to invent a quirky addiction. His so-called ‘drinking problem’ was no such thing; a whiskey before dinner and a couple of glasses of wine after is perfectly normal behaviour.

      1. Oh, shit, according to Tony Blair, I have a drinking problem.

  9. http://american.com/archive/20…..d-mobility

    Interesting article on cities and how liberal policies have made them virtually devoid of social mobility.

    1. But…but…Chad said that cities were paradises compared to the horrible suburbs!

  10. It must be hard to have constant attention while in office and then, poof, far fewer sycophants to swim though afterward. One can only imagine what our Dear Leader will do with himself for 40 years after departing the WH.

  11. I thought the British always knighted their ex-PMs, precisely so they wouldn’t do things like this.

    Something psychological happens to the British when you knight them–it makes them both tolerant and more tolerable.

    Unless they’re rock stars, of course. Knight them and they start acting like they think they’re the Prime Minister.

    1. Actually, I believe ex-PMs have traditionally been created as earls. Bertrand Russell, for instance, inherited a title which was created for his grandfather who was a PM. I think the British have been getting away from hereditary peerages for some time now though.

      1. I’m thinking Sir Winston Churchill.

        I’m thinking Dame Margaret Thatcher.

        I’m thinking Sir John Major.

        The British typically knight their ex-PMs and quick.

        Otherwise, they end up doing stuff like this–behavior unbecoming of a Sir or Dame. …and it usually works.

        Instead, we leave our ex-presidents to wander about out in the pasture, making fools of themselves. The British have adapted a method to deal with that–and they should use it, quick!

        1. Churchill was knighted before he even became PM, it used to be almost automatic to get a knighthood when one became PM and even for a few other Cabinet posts. For a number of reasons they’re getting away from that. I think it makes them feel more in touch with the people. Also, Labourites have generally rejected any honors as long as they were politically active. It didn’t sit right with the constituency.

          The common reward nowadays for the retired politician is the life peerage (ie no passing it on) with a seat in the House of Lords, usually as a Baron. Earls are too high up in the aristocracy and there’s a fixed number of them. I think the last one created was the Earl of Snowdon when he married Princess Margaret. The Queen doesn’t hand out earldoms to just anybody. Baronnies on the other hand are plentiful.

          And no new hereditary titles are being created. Roy Thompson got one of the last of those, and he gave up his Canadian citizenship to get it.

        2. Ken, all the people you named were Tories. They love them some honors.

          And Maggie is now Baroness Thatcher. Actually, I had to check if she was even still alive.

        3. Churchill was offered a dukedom and declined. I think Thatcher may have already been a baroness, but like I said they’ve generally been getting away from hereditary peerages.

          1. A little more on the tradition and its decline here. Thatcher was actually created a life peer (as a baroness) after she retired. John Major was offered the same but also refused.

            1. Making Churchill a duke would have been a compliment to dukedom.

              Dukes should covet being called the Churchill of something…

              If only we’d had Churchill and they’d had FDR!

              1. At least he got churchill sized cigars. Giving your formerly high-ranking politicians honors probably is a neat way of keeping their mouths shut, although my personal recommendation would be imprisonment.

  12. To anyone who thinks that Tony Blair has become an attention whore in his retirement, I have only two words: Al Gore.

    1. Wait until BO gets sent to retirement. He is going to make Al Gore seem dignified by comparison. As bad as a President as he is, he will be a worse exPresident. Probably the worst ex President in US history.

    2. It’s a little mysterious as to why Al Gore still seeks out attention, but I’m equally mystified by why anyone would notice.

      Why notice Al Gore? If you for some reason still notice Al Gore, is that really about Al Gore?

      1. Florida 2000. Liberals know they have only themselves to blame for GWB winning the Whitehouse. Had many of them not voted for Nader, Gore would have won. To assauge this guilt, liberals have elevated Gore, a guy who was always a DLC Democrat, to secular sainthood. Gore was just smart enough to latch onto a good liberal cause so that they had an excuse to do so.

      2. Gore could advocate the violent overthrow of the US government and replacing it with a Green dictatorship–and I wouldn’t give a crap.

        I don’t give a crap what Al Gore says or does or thinks–about anything. And that isn’t about Al Gore; it’s about me.

        I knew a lady who was a big supporter of Bill Clinton, and I used to bug her about it–especially when some of the crap he did was completely indefensible. She finally broke down and told me, “You know what it is? I just hate, hate, hate Richard Nixon.”

        Richard Nixon had been dead for quite some time, but she supported Bill Clinton because she hated Richard Nixon! I never want to be one of those people.

        Nobody of any significance on the LEFT pays attention to Al Gore anymore. The only people who pay much attention to him are people on the right–if people on the right would stop paying attention to Al Gore, he really would just go away.

        I’d hate to be someone on the right whose opinions were in any shaped by opposition to some figment of no one’s imagination like Al Gore. That’s like yelling at yourself in the mirror.

        1. It wasn’t the Right who gave him an Oscar and the Nobel Prize.

          1. “It wasn’t the Right who gave him an Oscar and the Nobel Prize.”

            Yes it was.

            They only gave him that stuff because they knew it would stick in your craw.

            They gave it to Obama for what boils down to pretty much the same reason.

            And the first rule of not making yourself an easy target for crap like that?

            Stop making yourself such an easy target.

            1. That is crazy. Who watched the movie other than Leftists? And it wasn’t the right who put Al Gore on the news and had his movie being shown in schools. What was the Right supposed to do, let all the bullshit go unchallenged?

              1. For the most part, yeah, life is about ignoring the bullshit.

                And you know what’s really bullshit? Making Al Gore more than what he is.

                By focusing on Al Gore, you helped the left accomplish a couple of goals.

                1) You made people focus on the messenger rather than the message.

                Al Gore was the issue ten years ago, but since then? He hasn’t been, isn’t and will never be the issue.

                2) You created interest in middle of the road people, who wouldn’t have gone to see that stupid movie minus the righteous indignation from the right.

                The only people I’ve seen who look dumber than people on the left who get all bent out of shape over some stupid incendiary remark by Ann Coulter? Are the people on the right who go all River City over something Al Gore says.

                Controversy sells papers. Al Gore got down on his knees every night and prayed to Jesus that the people on the right would condemn him and his movie…

                Do you really want to be the answer to Al Gore’s prayers, John? Do you really want to be objectively pro-Al Gore?

                1. Ken you are out of your mind. If you really think that Leftists only watched that movie and gave Al Gore all that attention as some kind of plot to annoy the Right, words really fail me. Gore had the right message and they felt guilty about 2000. So they made him a secular saint. If anything all of the attention and ridicule from the other side has helped in that it has made Gore kind of a cartoon figure. Without that, he would be taken seriously still.

                  1. “Ken you are out of your mind. If you really think that Leftists only watched that movie and gave Al Gore all that attention as some kind of plot to annoy the Right, words really fail me.”

                    Gore launched that movie in an attempt to generate controversy and make himself relevant again–in the hopes of reviving his presidential aspirations. He was trying to generate controversy and press–just like Madonna used to do, just like Lady Gaga tries to do.

                    It was a publicity stunt, and if you fell for it? …and unwittingly generated controversy on his behalf?

                    Now that you realize that’s what you were doing.

                    For God’s sake, don’t get fooled again.

                2. Oh, we got trouble!
                  Right here in River City!
                  With a capital “T” and that rhymes with “G” and that stands for Gore!

                  Actually, we have a lot of really big problems in this country–and Al Gore doesn’t have anything to do with any of them. And anybody who tells you otherwise is a victim of advertising.

                  1. Al Gore hasn’t been in a position of authority in ten years. I don’t think our problems are the result of Ezra Klein either. But, I still think it ought to be pointed out that Klein is an idiot. Same with Al Gore. He deserved everything he got.

                    1. I was pretty much under the impression that the Gore’s separation had pretty effectively ended Al’s newsworthiness.

                    2. Hey you grope one massage therapist and you are marked for life.

                    3. Well, at least we’ve heard the last of John Edwards (speaking of scummy adulterers).

  13. …ok…and why shouldn’t we support the self-destruction of the Labour Party, again? It’s always fun to watch when politicians make fools of themselves.

  14. Putting personal interests above duty to party…. how very libertarian.

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