In 1997, Tony Blair won the biggest Labour victory in history to sweep the party to power and end 18 years of Conservative government. He has been one of the most dynamic leaders of modern times; few British prime ministers have shaped the nation's course as profoundly as Blair during his ten... read more
This is a personal account; a description of a certain period of history in which Tony Blair's political, and to a certain degree his personal character evolves and changes. The book describes the major events of his time as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, through the eyes of the person... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
This is a personal account; a description of a certain period of history in which Tony Blair's political, and to a certain degree his personal character evolves and changes. The book describes the major events of his time as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, through the eyes of the person taking the decisions in relation to them.
The book was written thematically, rather than following a precise chronology. Its themes essentially start in 1997 and end in 2007; but within that framework he deals with individual subjects: for example, the coming to power; or Northern Ireland; or Princess Diana; or 9/11; or Iraq; or reform in public services; or the Olympics; or July 2005. You can, as a reader, take a subject and pretty much view it in isolation if you wish to, though of course there are a multitude of cross-references.
“On Gordon Brown: ''Analytical intelligence, absolutely. Emotional intelligence, zero.'”Tony Blair
“It is true that my head can sometimes think conservatively especially on economics and security; but my heart always beats progressive, and my soul is and always will be that of a rebel.”Tony Blair
You have to speak the language in order to change the terms of the debate conducted in that language, otherwise you may be a fine example of a person who is right, but irrelevant.Highlighted by 112 Kindle customers
I have a few rules about people I work with really closely. Work comes first. No blame culture. Fun, in its proper place, is good. Disloyalty has no place. Look out for each other. Stick together. Respect each other. It helps if you also like each other.Highlighted by 96 Kindle customers
“Don’t forget: communication is fifty per cent of the battle in the information age. Say it once, say it twice and keep on saying it, and when you’ve finished, you’ll know you’ve still not said it enough.”Highlighted by 85 Kindle customers
But all progressive movements have to beware their own success. The progress they make reinvents the society they work in, and they must in turn reinvent themselves to keep up, otherwise they become hollow echoes from a once loud, strong voice, reverberating still, but to little effect.Highlighted by 78 Kindle customers
change brings opposition, and opposition is much easier to advocate than change.Highlighted by 76 Kindle customers
Religion starts with values that are born of a view of humankind. Politics starts with an examination of society and the means of changing it. Of course politics is about values; and religion is often about changing society. But you start from a different place.Highlighted by 66 Kindle customers
Fear makes you calculate and calculation can sometimes save you (though over-calculation finishes you off); for those who don’t calculate at all but go headlong, the risk can be foolhardy and lead to downfall.Highlighted by 56 Kindle customers
The moment you decide, you divide. However, I would calculate the upset, calibrate it, understand its dimensions, assess its magnitude, ameliorate its consequences. And so I got over the surprise of the onslaught and became used to the derision, began to develop the carapace of near indifference to dispute that is so dangerous in a leader yet so necessary for survival.Highlighted by 56 Kindle customers
I learned how to disarm an opponent as well as blast them. They get angry; you get mild. They go over the top; you become a soothing voice of reason. They insult you; you look at them not with resentment, but pity. Under attack, you have to look directly at them, study their faces, your eyes fixed on theirs rather than rolling with anxiety.Highlighted by 43 Kindle customers
But the real test of leadership—amongst all the tests of policy, judgement, politics and ability—is whether, in the final analysis, you put the country first. I don’t mean that you do something people agree with or even what is objectively right, if there is such a thing in politics. I mean that you are, ultimately, prepared to put what you perceive to be the common good of the nation before your own political self. It is the supreme test. Very few leaders pass it. Each of these presidents does and for a reason not connected simply to them.Highlighted by 43 Kindle customers
1. High Expectations
2. The Apprentice Leader
3. New Labour
5. Princess Diana
6. Peace in Northern Ireland
7. "We Govern in Prose"
9. Forces of Conservatism
10. Managing Crises
11. A Mandate for New Labour
12. 9/11: "Shoulder to Shoulder"
13. Iraq: Countdown to War
15. Iraq: The Aftermath
16. Domestic Reform
17. 2005: TB/GB
18 Triumph and Tragedy
19. Toughing It Out
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