Well I for one haven't bought Tony Blair's autobiography "A Journey" so this won't be a critique of the book. However a lot of it is out there on the internet and one can get a flavour of what it is about even though it would be dangerous to comment on certain specifics without seeing the context that they are in. Unsurprisingly reviewers have been taking a lot of interest in Blair's thoughts about Gordon Brown. And of course they are curious to see what Blair says (or alternatively doesn't say) regarding Iraq.
I'm not going to get into those things right now, I'm more interested in Blair's disclosures about his private conversations with the Queen. Although I wouldn't describe myself as a fanatical monarchist I do think that the present system in this country is basically a good one with the monarch having no real power but nevertheless serving a unifying purpose. Now I may well be wrong in detail here but believe that when Parliament is sitting the Prime Minister has a weekly audience with the Queen. Furthermore I think that HM invites the PM and spouse to spend some time with the Royal Family at Balmoral.
Even if it's not spelt out wouldn't you think that conversations with the Queen would be 100% confidential. It seems not though with blabbermouth Blair. One newspaper I hear reckoned that the Queen was furious with what Blair disclosed in his book. Whether that is true I don't know but she would have every reason to be. All I can say is "how very Blair" - I'm not surprised about him. He is one of the new rich and powerful who doesn't get it when it comes to the right sort of behaviour to adopt. Harsh words perhaps but true. He and Cherie seem to be made for each other, I remember writing before - on the 12 May 2008 to be exact - about Cherie explaining that their youngest child Leo only came into this world because she didn't have any contraceptives with her when she and Tony were staying at Balmoral. Back then I stated that I was appalled that she put this information about Leo's conception into the public domain - to my mind it was grossly unfair to Leo to make this stuff known.
Cherie is at it again, once more demonstrating that she's not the "sharpest tool in the box". This is about Lord Mandelson's memoirs "The Third Man" which I think came out last July. In it one can read a note that Cherie had once written to him in support when Mandy was in trouble over the home mortgage scandal and had to resign. Included in the note was a vitriolic attack against one Gordon Brown. It may be that Mandelson didn't quote Cherie's note word for word, it could have been that he relayed just the gist of it. Anyway Cherie has now thrown a wobbly about it, stating through her lawyers that being a private note there was no way it should have been included in a book. I don't know the legal rights and wrongs here but I would have thought she was incorrect. The letter to Mandelson's publishers is demanding that the offending bit of prose be removed.
Let's step back a bit, take a deep breath and look at things logically. The book is out there in the market place, it isn't in draft form, are those books already printed supposed to be returned to Harper Collins for the offending page to be replaced? Up until now only a relatively small part of the population (those who have purchased the book) will know about the note and even then not every reader will remember that detail. But by making a fuss Cherie has ensured a much much bigger audience will have heard about it, rather silly if she doesn't want the whole world to know the contents of this note.
Of course it's just conceivable that Cherie really wanted a much bigger audience to know what she thought of Gordon Brown and this was a way to do just that. A bit like a double bluff in a sense. But is Cherie bright enough to have thought of such a thing?