Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tony Blair's Memoirs Describes Brown As Having "Zero Emotional Intelligence"

Hantu Laut

Lee Kuan Yew has it, Bill Clinton has it and Tony Blair has it. We are still waiting for George Bush.

Looks like George is not a writer but he can always employ a ghost or settled for an authorised biography.

Tony Blair book describes Gordon Brown as 'maddening'

Tony Blair has reportedly described Gordon Brown as "difficult, at times maddening" in his memoirs, being published on Wednesday.

He told the BBC Mr Brown could also be an "immense source of strength" but that Labour lost power because it "backed away" from further reforms.

Mr Blair also writes about his "anguish" over the Iraq War, but says he did not regret the 2003 invasion.

He also reportedly writes about his concerns over his own drinking habits.

The Daily Telegraph, which has seen a foreign language copy of the book - which is being published at 0800 BST - says he describes drinking a gin and tonic or whisky before his evening meal, then having several glasses of wine.

The book, which took three years to write, focuses on his time spent in Downing Street.

Brown tensions

In his book, Mr Blair also described Mr Brown as a man who possessed a significant power base within the party and media, a position which would have made it difficult to sack him as chancellor.

Mr Blair said: "Was he difficult, at times maddening? Yes. But he was also strong, capable and brilliant, and those were qualities for which I never lost respect.

"When it's said that I should have sacked him, or demoted him, this takes no account of the fact that had I done so, the party and the government would have been severely and immediately destabilised and his ascent to the office of prime minister would probably have been even faster."

Mr Blair also said he could not prevent his chancellor moving from No 11 to No 10 Downing Street.

During his BBC interview, Mr Blair said his relationship with Mr Brown was "frankly hard, going on impossible" but that "for large parts of the time we were in government, he was an immense source of strength".

He added that, when Mr Brown was chancellor, "people maybe over-estimated his capacity to be prime minister" but then during "the last three years, when he was prime minister, people maybe underestimated his strengths".

In extracts released to the Guardian in advance of publication, Mr Blair said Mr Brown's time as prime minister "was never going to work" partly because the former chancellor had "zero emotional intelligence".

Mr Blair has previously announced he is to donate his book's advance payment - reported to be £4m - plus all royalties to the Royal British Legion.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr he had decided to make the donation to a fund connected to the Armed Forces before he had "written a word".

"I wanted to indicate my sense of respect and the honour in which I hold these people, that I regard as out on the front line of the biggest security threat we face in the world today," he said.

Mr Blair also insisted leaving Saddam Hussein in power would have been a "bigger risk" to security than removing him.

'Sense of sadness'

He acknowledged that "we did not anticipate the role of al-Qaeda or Iran" in planning for the aftermath of the conflict, which saw bloodshed continue long after the defeat of Saddam's regime.

He spoke of "anguish" which "arises from a sense of sadness that goes beyond conventional description or the stab of compassion you feel on hearing tragic news".

"Tears, though there have been many, do not encompass it.

"I feel desperately sorry for them, sorry for the lives cut short, sorry for the families whose bereavement is made worse by the controversy over why their loved ones died, sorry for the utterly unfair selection that the loss should be theirs."

However, he insisted removing Saddam Hussein was the correct decision.

"On the basis of what we do know now, I still believe that leaving Saddam in power was a bigger risk to our security than removing him and that, terrible though the aftermath was, the reality of Saddam and his sons in charge of Iraq would at least arguably be much worse."

He also told Andrew Marr he "can't regret" the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, for which he takes responsibility.

When asked about his feelings on the conflict, he said: "How can you not feel sorry about people who have died? You would be inhuman if you didn't think that."

Drinking habits

Mr Blair went on to say in his BBC interview that it was "wholly unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons capability" and that military force should be used against them if necessary, to prevent their nuclear programme from creating weapons.

The former prime minister will be out of the UK on publication day, attending the opening of Middle East peace talks at the White House in Washington in his role as an envoy for the "Quartet" of the United Nations, Russia, the United States and the European Union.

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said Mr Blair described in his own words "the Gordon curse" after years of rumours and suggestions that the two men had a tempestuous relationship.

Mr Blair's former press chief Alastair Campbell said revelations Mr Blair took to drinking whisky, gin and wine every night "genuinely surprised" him.

He said: "I don't think I've ever seen Tony the worse for wear through drink, ever. I think what he says in the book is that there were times when he felt he was using it as something of a crutch."

You can watch Tony Blair's interview with Andrew Marr on BBC Two on Wednesday 1 September at 1900 BST.