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Spin Doctor's Diary

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While Lance Price was Alastair Campbell’s deputy in the Downing Street Press Office at the end of the 1990s, and then Director of Communications at the Labour Party, he kept an informal journal of his experiences. Published in full for the first time, these controversial diaries offer a rare and unfiltered perspective of Tony Blair as Prime Minister and the kind of While Lance Price was Alastair Campbell’s deputy in the Downing Street Press Office at the end of the 1990s, and then Director of Communications at the Labour Party, he kept an informal journal of his experiences. Published in full for the first time, these controversial diaries offer a rare and unfiltered perspective of Tony Blair as Prime Minister and the kind of government he runs. We see ministers, from Blair down, behaving as human beings—ambitious, vain, obsessed with image and petty rivalries—but also industrious, determined to succeed and all too aware of the price of failure.


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While Lance Price was Alastair Campbell’s deputy in the Downing Street Press Office at the end of the 1990s, and then Director of Communications at the Labour Party, he kept an informal journal of his experiences. Published in full for the first time, these controversial diaries offer a rare and unfiltered perspective of Tony Blair as Prime Minister and the kind of While Lance Price was Alastair Campbell’s deputy in the Downing Street Press Office at the end of the 1990s, and then Director of Communications at the Labour Party, he kept an informal journal of his experiences. Published in full for the first time, these controversial diaries offer a rare and unfiltered perspective of Tony Blair as Prime Minister and the kind of government he runs. We see ministers, from Blair down, behaving as human beings—ambitious, vain, obsessed with image and petty rivalries—but also industrious, determined to succeed and all too aware of the price of failure.

30 review for Spin Doctor's Diary

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jason Lawless

    I received this book as a gift, though it's not the sort of book I would normally read. I did enjoy it. It was well written, although I don't like the use of exclamation marks. A good writer, and this author is a good writer, doesn't need them to tell the reader when to be excited. The author comes across as very likeable, but I didn't find the book to have any exciting political insights. I'll say again, I enjoyed the read. I received this book as a gift, though it's not the sort of book I would normally read. I did enjoy it. It was well written, although I don't like the use of exclamation marks. A good writer, and this author is a good writer, doesn't need them to tell the reader when to be excited. The author comes across as very likeable, but I didn't find the book to have any exciting political insights. I'll say again, I enjoyed the read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    F.R.

    Have you ever read a book which offers interesting insights, has some revelatory information and is about an important subject – and yet you take against said book very quickly because you end up despising most of the central characters? That was my unusual experience with The Spin Doctor’s Diaries. Lance Price was the deputy in the Downing Street press office at the end of the nineties, before moving to Director of Communications for the Labour Party prior to the 2001 election. This is his take o Have you ever read a book which offers interesting insights, has some revelatory information and is about an important subject – and yet you take against said book very quickly because you end up despising most of the central characters? That was my unusual experience with The Spin Doctor’s Diaries. Lance Price was the deputy in the Downing Street press office at the end of the nineties, before moving to Director of Communications for the Labour Party prior to the 2001 election. This is his take on Tony Blair’s first term, so before 9/11 or the whole Iraq farrago. What comes across more than anything else (and this is something which has actually become clearer with each passing year) is how superficial and intellectually bankrupt the whole ‘New’ Labour project was. For example, on the 19th of October 1999 it’s noted that various high-ups in the party (Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson and so on) are having debates as to what kind of party they actually are. Whether they’re a “radically progressive government” or “quasi-Conservative”, or perhaps both. This then is the government in charge, which had been in charge for over two years with a thumping great majority, still trying to work out what kind of party they are or should be. These men were not pushing core beliefs, they didn’t have any core beliefs. I know that a book written by a spin doctor is going to be very focused on headlines, but it’s a trait which seems to run through the party from top to bottom. Everything is geared to smashing the Conservatives and making sure they can’t climb up the polls. But this was William Hague’s Tories, one of the most inept and useless oppositions to appear in my lifetime. Surely it was possible to keep them on the back foot, whilst still concentrating on policies – instead they just concentrated on keeping them on the back foot. To be fair - and it pains me to admit this - Tony Blair comes out of the book fairly well, the author is obviously a fan. He is portrayed as diligent and sharp, if not as clever as he thinks he is. Although Price does reckon, as opposed to his reputation, that he didn’t have the common touch when dealing with ordinary people. The man who really suffers is our current Prime Minister. At one point Price writes that the cry of “Where’s Gordon?” goes up with increasing frequency as he never wants to defend the government’s overall position, just highlight his own generosity; while during the fuel crisis of September 2000 – which Brown refused to engage with on any level – Price lets out an exasperated “Where would we have been if Gordon had been in charge of the crisis?” Despite what the polls say I’m not sure what will happen at the next election, but if ‘New’ Labour are voted out then there will be a flood of books about the whole project and where it went wrong. This tome will therefore be useful to future commentators. For now, if anyone wants to be amazed and appalled once again how the promise of that Spring day in 1997 went so sour so quickly, then this is a book I’d recommend. Despite me at various points wanting to hurl it as hard as I could against a wall.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Arnold

    The one they said could and should not be written or forbid the thought published. The "gay" spin doctor and speech writer from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, hanging out all the dirtyy linen imaginable.Outing half of Blair's inner circle and heavily three time Minister and now European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandleson. Hilarious but has some serious lessons for wanabee Presidents or Prime Ministers The one they said could and should not be written or forbid the thought published. The "gay" spin doctor and speech writer from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, hanging out all the dirtyy linen imaginable.Outing half of Blair's inner circle and heavily three time Minister and now European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandleson. Hilarious but has some serious lessons for wanabee Presidents or Prime Ministers

  4. 4 out of 5

    Russell Turner

    Wouldn't call it gripping but it was fairly interesting most of the time. I'm still unsure why the author felt the need to refer to his sexuality what felt like every ten pages or so, whether he related it to the narrative or not. John Prescott... how is it possible for someone to be a legend and a complete tool at the same time I'll never know. Thought TB (to use his acronym) came across in it very well. Wouldn't call it gripping but it was fairly interesting most of the time. I'm still unsure why the author felt the need to refer to his sexuality what felt like every ten pages or so, whether he related it to the narrative or not. John Prescott... how is it possible for someone to be a legend and a complete tool at the same time I'll never know. Thought TB (to use his acronym) came across in it very well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Russell Jones

    One of the shorter accounts of the Blair Government's first term in office, stops just as things were getting interesting... One of the shorter accounts of the Blair Government's first term in office, stops just as things were getting interesting...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tom Savage

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elvan

  8. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Butler

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daniella Scott

  10. 4 out of 5

    Poppycocteau

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam Lewis

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mayomikun

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Lynch

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vaishakh

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hasan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kiern Moran

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adam Hope

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  20. 5 out of 5

    Imwinkelried

  21. 5 out of 5

    Falaise

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jules Glaves-Smith

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mark Pilkington

  26. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

  27. 4 out of 5

    JR Harrison

  28. 4 out of 5

    Suzi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matthew McGuinness

  30. 4 out of 5

    Martin Mostek

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