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Sep 2, 2010 5:56 pm

The Death of Politics

Politics should be about the big issues. Instead it has become all about me, whichever politician is speaking - or writing his memoirs. Here Brendan O'Neill explains how Tony Blair's best-selling memoirs exemplify his emotional incontinence, where Blair seems utterly incapable of keeping certain family, career and political facts and foibles to himself.

"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. Yet Blair instinctively recognises that having a personal weakness, in this case a penchant for booze, is a great selling point in our ‘look at my emotional wounds!’ era. I prefer that drunk Winston Churchill’s attitude to booze over Blair’s phoney alcoholism: ‘Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.’"

"Even serious issues like Iraq are now understood entirely through the prism of the personal. In the most ‘emotional chapter’, Blair defends his decision to invade on the basis that it ‘felt’ like the right thing to do. . . . And what is the media’s reaction to this self-pity? To demand that Blair publicly apologise for the war, to help bring about some ‘closure’. In short, far from critiquing his emotional self-exposure, they demand more of it, . . . Like Blair, they’re so vain they think the war in Iraq is about them and their emotional state of mind."

And if you're curious to know what's in Blair's 624-page book but your time is limited, you might wish to read John Crace's digested read.

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