From Blair to Brown
Diaries: Volume 6, 2005-2007
After helping Tony Blair to secure a historic third term in office, Alastair Campbell might have hoped to make good his long-planned escape from Downing Street. Blair, and Gordon Brown, had other ideas. Having negotiated Brown’s pivotal role in the 2005 election victory, Campbell then became fundamental in the transition from one Prime Minister to another.
As this volume opens, Blair’s joy at his election victory is short-lived and he knows he is running out of road. By the volume’s close, two years later, Brown is Prime Minister – and leaning on Campbell almost as much as Blair had done. Meanwhile, a fresh-faced young PR man named David Cameron becomes the new Leader of the Opposition and struggles to unite his party over Europe.
Beyond Westminster, a psychiatrist enters Campbell’s life; we follow his attempts to rebuild a normal family life, and a plethora of new challenges, from advising the British and Irish Lions to playing a charity match with footballing legend Diego Maradona.
Packed with revelations, this latest instalment in the bestselling and critically acclaimed series of diaries is an intimate account of the last days of the Blair government, and the power struggles along the way.
Outside, Inside is the first of four new volumes of diaries from Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former chief press secretary and director of communications and strategy.
It begins in 2003, where the previous instalment, The Burden of Power, ended, with Campbell’s departure from Downing Street. Despite having left government, Campbell’s level of involvement barely abated: he continued to advise Blair – and later Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband – and played a key role in every election campaign since.
Winners And How They Succeed
How do sportsmen excel, entrepreneurs thrive, or individuals achieve their ambition? Is their ability to win innate? Or is the winning gene something we can all develop? Drawing on the wisdom of an astonishing array of talented people – from elite athletes to top managers, from rulers of countries to rulers of global business empires – Alastair Campbell uses his forensic skills, as well as his own experience of politics and sport, to get to the heart of success.
Alastair Campbell knows all about winning. As Tony Blair’s chief spokesman and strategist he helped guide the Labour Party to victory in three successive general elections. And he’s fascinated by what it takes to win.
The Irish Diaries (1994-2003)
“An immediate and intimate insider account of the conduct of Anglo-Irish relations from 1994 to 2003, a period which achieved the Good Friday Agreement and the beginning of peace and reconciliation in Ireland and the normality of relations between London and Dublin.
It is the best contemporaneous account of the dialogue between the British and the Irish since Tom Jones’s Whitehall Diaries covering the 1918–1923 period. It is a vital source for commentators and historians and deserves a wide audience in Britain and Ireland.”
Sean Donlon, Irish Diplomat
My Name Is …
The gripping story of a teenage girl’s descent into alcoholism and the impact it has on those around her.
“A drink makes me feel better. For a bit. And then I feel worse, and the pain inside comes back. Worse than ever. My name is Hannah. This is their story…”
My name is Kate. I am Hannah’s mum.
‘If nothing matters more to a parent than their children’s health and happiness, how are you supposed to feel, and what are you supposed to do, when they’re sick and unhappy?’
My name is Vicki. I am Hannah’s sister.
‘Why does she drink so much, when it is making her so ill, doing so much damage to her life? I don’t get it.’
My name is Sophie. I am Hannah’s best friend.
‘I loved her to bits those times when she was chatty and fun and making me laugh or think about the world differently.’
My name is Dan. I was Hannah’s mum’s first boyfriend after her divorce.
‘I tried, I really tried. But there’s something wrong with that girl. If I’d have had any idea of what I was letting myself in for, I never would have asked Kate out.’
My name is Amanda. I am Sophie’s mother.
‘She was like the outsider insider of Sophie’s friendship group. I liked her though and being a parent, and a doctor, my instinct was to want to fix whatever it was that reduced her to this mess.’
Powerful and passionate, My Name Is… is the gripping story of a teenage girl’s descent into alcoholism and the impact it has on those around her. Deft and direct, the voices of Hannah’s family, friends and professionals shed a sometimes shocking, sometimes tender light on a life veering terrifyingly off course.
‘This superb book is sad, terrifying and uplifting in equal measure. Every parent, every young man or woman, and anyone who "likes a drink" should read it.’
Burden of Power
Countdown to Iraq
The Burden of Power begins on September 11, 2001, a day which immediately wrote itself into the history books, and it ends on the day Campbell leaves Downing Street. In between there are two wars: first Afghanistan, and then, even more controversially, Iraq. It was the most difficult decision of Tony Blair’s premiership, and almost certainly the most unpopular. Campbell describes in detail the discussions with President Bush and other world leaders as the steps to war are taken, and delivers a unique account of Blair as war leader. He records the enormous political difficulties at home, and the sense of crisis that engulfed the government after the suicide of weapons inspector David Kelly.
And all the while, Blair continues to struggle with two issues that ran throughout his time in government – fighting for peace in Northern Ireland, and trying to make peace with Gordon Brown. And Campbell continues to struggle balancing the needs of his family with one of the most pressurised roles in politics.
Riveting and revelatory, The Burden of Power is as raw and intimate a portrayal of political life as you are ever likely to read.
The Happy Depressive
Are you happy? Does it matter?
Increasingly, governments seem to think so. As the UK government conducts its first happiness survey, in this 15,000 word book Alastair Campbell looks at happiness as a political as well as a personal issue; what it should mean to us, what it means to him. Taking in economic theories and the example of Bhutan – which measures ‘gross national happiness’ ahead of gross domestic product – he questions how happiness can survive in a grossly negative media culture, and how it could inform social policy.
But happiness is also deeply personal. Campbell, who suffers from depression, looks in the mirror and finds a bittersweet reflection, a life divided between the bad and not-so-bad days, where the highest achievements in his professional life could leave him numb, and he can somehow look back on a catastrophic breakdown 25 years ago as the best thing that happened to him; he writes too of what he has learnt from the recent death of his best friend, further informing his view that the pursuit of happiness is a long game.
The Happy Depressive reached Number 3 in the itunes biographies chart when it was published as an ebook. Now it can be bought as what Alastair calls a ‘book book’.
Power and Responsibility
The Alastair Campbell Diaries Volume Three: 1999 to 2001
POWER AND RESPONSIBILITY is the third volume of AC’s unique daily account of life at the centre of the Blair government. Out in July, it begins amid conflict in Kosovo, and ends on September 11, 2001, a day which immediately wrote itself into the history books, changing the course of both the Bush presidency and the Blair premiership. AC was with Blair as the twin towers fell and his account of one of the most remarkable days in recent history provides an extraordinary conclusion to this volume, and paves the way for all that follows in volume 4.
If PRELUDE TO POWER told the story of Labour’s rise to power, and POWER AND THE PEOPLE the story of how the party adapted to government after so long in opposition, in POWER AND RESPONSIBILITY the honeymoon is well and truly over. In addition to detailing the continuing tensions at the top, this volume contains graphic accounts of perhaps the worst domestic crises of the New Labour years: foot-and-mouth disease and protests over fuel prices which almost brought Britain to a halt. It includes Peter Mandelson’s second resignation, the agonies of the Millennium Dome, and the most unexpected slow-handclapping in memory, when the Women’s Institute turned against Tony Blair.
Yet despite all the problems ‚ not least the most accident-prone manifesto launch in history, complete with deputy prime minister John Prescott punching a voter ‚ Labour won a second successive landslide election victory. That triumph is intimately recorded here, alongside the high points of this period, such as devolution to Northern Ireland and the fall of Milosevic.
As ever, Campbell combines an extraordinary eye for detail with the insights that make him one of the foremost political strategists of our time. His diaries provide the most complete and authentic account of a remarkable period in British political history.
Power and the People
The Alastair Campbell Diaries Volume Two: May 1997 to June 1999
Volume 2 of AC’s diaries opens as Tony Blair enters Downing Street, and contains an astonishing array of events and personalities, progress and setback, crises and scandals, as Labour make the transition from opposition to office. It is astonishing to think that only two years are covered by this volume, as Labour set to work implementing the programme on which they had been elected. Bank of England independence, a minimum wage, devolution, the New Deal jobs programme, schools and hospitals… the policy programme rolls forward.
But so often the unexpected comes to dominate. Blair’s first authorisation of military action in Iraq, his government’s first sex scandal as Robin Cook’s private life is exposed, then Blair’s role in supporting Bill Clinton through an altogether bigger and more potent sex scandal, Ron Davies’ ‘moment of madness’ walk on Clapham Common, Peter Mandelson’s first resignation from the Cabinet over an ill-advised loan. All human and political life is here, perhaps nothing more unexpected than the death of Princess Diana and the extraordinary week which followed. Then there is the Northern Ireland peace process, the highs of the Good Friday Agreement to the deadly low of the Omagh bombing.
Blair’s ministers continue to give him and Campbell headaches, but characters well beyond Britain stalk these pages not least when TB takes up the Presidency of the EU and the G8. Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schroeder, Jacques Chirac, Boris Yeltsin, Nelson Mandela and above all Bill Clinton take up more and more of the Prime Minister’s time and energies. We witness from the inside the handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese. We get a ringside seat to brutal EU summits. We see Blair’s early attempts to make a difference in the Middle East. And the volume ends with the NI peace process again in trouble, and Britain at the heart of a difficult and messy war to reverse Slobodan Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing of Kosovo, with Campbell sent by Clinton and Blair to Nato to oversee a revamp in the war communications.
Prelude to Power
The Alastair Campbell Diaries Volume One: 1994-1997
As Alastair Campbell said in the introduction to “The Blair Years”, it was always his intention to publish the full version, covering his time as spokesman and chief strategist to Tony Blair. “Prelude to Power” is the first of four volumes, and covers the early days of New Labour, culminating in their victory at the polls in 1997.
Volume 1 details the extraordinary tensions between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as they resolved the question as to which one should stand to become Labour leader. It shows that right from the start, relations at the top were prone to enormous strain, suspicions and accusations of betrayal. Yet it also shows the political and personal bonds that tied them together, and which made them one of the most feared and respected electoral machines anywhere in the world. A story of politics in the raw, “Prelude to Power” is above all an intimate, detailed portrait of the people who have done so much to shape modern history.