|(Source: Daily Mail)|
1972: Tony Blair and his friend pose (and preen, as good-looking English guys could in those days) outside the Vineyard Congregationalist Church in Richmond, west London. They played rock music in the crypt, and even then he went 100% at whatever he took on:
‘Guys, guys.’ Tony called us together after one show. ‘We’re OK and everything but we could be so much better if we rehearsed!’
No '70s laid-back amateurishness for him, then.
John Rentoul's sympathetic biography of Tony Blair "whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning" (Independent newspaper) notes the future PM's avoidance of drugs, ability to persuade people to help, scrupulous honesty (leaving a note when the band's van scraped the paint off a Jaguar) and sincere, but unhokey, developing interest in religion.
From "Tony Blair: Prime Minister" by John Rentoul
He didn't let lack of experience stop him. Here he is in his pre-Oxford gap year:
And here is the natural marketer, albeit with an amusingly obvious inducement:
- a forerunner of his penchant for "eye-catching initiatives" that aren't so great on closer analysis.
But the photograph haunts me. Two posers, but the one on the left is the one you look at. And the quality of that grin - not amusement, but somehow thrown at the spectator. What are that hand and hip doing? Is it the will to power, perhaps, combined with the desire for celebrity and adulation - Narcissus in early bloom?
Classical tragedy is based on a great man a with fatal flaw. Could we have foreseen where his egotism misled him into unjust (and it's said, illegal) war?
I have ordered Leo Abse's psychologising book on Blair - the original 1996 edition, to see whether Abse does more than simply vent his detestation of the new Labour leader and can predict the future problems, as well as his decade in the limelight of British politics.
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