The Alastair Campbell Diaries - Buy Vols 5, 6, 7 & 8 Together: WERE £100, NOW £35
Four volumes of the best selling diaries
Covering the years 2003-2015
Launched to a blaze of critical acclaim, Alastair Campbell’s explosive diaries became an instant classic. Now, this eagerly anticipated new volume picks up where its predecessor left off, with Campbell standing down as Tony Blair’s director of communications in 2003. Leaving Downing Street, however, isn’t as easy as it seems, with Campbell persistently drawn back to the epicentre of power – often to the frustration of his partner, Fiona.
As Lord Hutton prepares to publish his report, thus sparking a huge crisis for the BBC, any joy in No. 10 is dwarfed by continuing difficulties in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Blair/Brown relationship is fracturing almost beyond repair, and Campbell is tasked with devising a plan that will enable the two men to fight a united election campaign. At home, Campbell writes frankly of his continuing battles with mental health issues as he attempts to adapt to a new life beyond the confines of Westminster.
Lifting the lid on the power battles at the heart of the Labour Party that sowed the seeds of today’s turmoil, Outside, Inside is a vivid and compelling insight into modern political history, and a candid reflection on the personal impact of life in the corridors of power.
One might have thought Alastair Campbell would disappear from view as Gordon Brown moved from No. 11 to No. 10. Far from it. Having negotiated the rapprochement which led to Brown taking a central role in the 2005 election win, Campbell then became central to the transition from one Prime Minister to another.
Many books have already been written about Brown and Blair, but none with the intimacy and the unique perspective of Alastair Campbell. As this volume opens, Blair has just won a historic third term. But any joy is short-lived and he knows he is running out of road. By the time it ends two years later, Brown is Prime Minister. Campbell was virtually alone in seeing that process from both sides, as Brown began to lean on him almost as much as Blair had done.
Meanwhile we continue to get an insight into Campbell’s mental health struggles, his attempts to rebuild a normal family life, and the plethora of new challenges he takes on which introduce dozens of new characters, not least the rugby stars he worked with for the British and Irish Lions, and the football legend he has vowed to mention to someone every day for the rest of his life, charity match teammate, Diego Maradona.
Caught in the no man’s land between being a key figure in Downing Street and the relative anonymity of the world outside politics, Alastair Campbell finds himself being torn in several directions. Having succeeded Tony Blair as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown wants Campbell at his side. Campbell resists, flooding his reservoir of guilt as a general election looms and Brown’s indecision and fluctuating moods suggest the Labour administration is seriously threatened by the Tory ‘posh boy’, David Cameron.
Soon Campbell is earning not only praise but big money from motivational speaking and writing novels which darkly reflect the personal mood swings that continue to concern to both him and his family. Serious journalism across platforms old and new puts him back in the public eye and together with live appearances and a love of sport – his enduring love affair with Burnley Football Club still smoulders – sees him board a celebrity merry-go-round that often leaves him far from his comfort zone.
With politics constantly tugging his sleeve, he eventually returns to the front line to marshal a party in disarray. The intensity of the months leading up to 6 May 2010 is as dramatic as any screenplay, with Campbell chronicling Brown’s struggle to win over a disillusioned nation and then his dignified departure from the main stage. For Campbell, another chapter closes. So what next?
"I hadn’t seen much of the Cameron stuff last night so caught up with it this morning. I felt he did OK, but no better. Paddy Ashdown called, said that he was really sad we had not been able to pull off a Lib–Lab deal, but Clegg had decided early on. The Adam Boulton row had cut through big time, people asking me about it everywhere I went. I watched a bit of the Cameron–Clegg press conference in the No. 10 garden, but once the Beeb started saying there was birdsong in the garden I had had enough. I was worrying depression was going to set in pretty soon. It almost certainly would."
This latest volume of Campbell’s acclaimed diaries sees the author, and the country, at a profound crossroads. Brown is finally gone, and Cameron is in the ascendancy – with a little help from the Liberal Democrats. Somehow Campbell must emerge from the ruins and grapple with his own future; just as Britain begins its own journey into austerity and, eventually, to Brexit. Volume 8 contains some of Campbell’s most poignant and thought-provoking writing so far and is a must-read for fans of this most accomplished of political diarists."