Who is the real Cherie Blair? Did anyone really know at the end of Wednesday night's BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary? Here was a woman who professes to loathe the media but appeared perfectly happy to invade her own privacy by inviting them into her kitchen while she reheats soup and chats to her son...
In the six years I worked for her husband - a small technical fact that came in handy on the day she phoned up and tried to sack me at the end of the turbulent Peter Foster/Carole Caplin affair - I still like to think we had a happy and productive friendship in which I and others tried our best to help her maintain her career, her public duties as prime minister's wife and other sometimes controversial forays into the world of criminal justice, women's rights and foreign affairs. In spite of the hurt the end of our friendship caused at the time, I can understand why she may have felt her life might be simpler without me. However, her famed intelligence clearly deserts her if
she still can't see that the primary job of anyone employed at No 10 is to protect the interests of the prime minister and his office. If his spouse wants to do things that might bring that office into disrepute, the job of those who work for him is to intervene. Sometimes that means giving uncomfortable advice...
Sadly, Cherie Blair, as she now prefers to be known in spite of the months we spent persuading Downing Street officials that she should be allowed to put "Cherie Booth QC" on her headed notepaper - in order that she retain her separate identity - is leaving No 10 with a mixed reputation. She clearly feels the need to set the record straight. Why else would she have taken
part in this programme? (Although, was I alone in wondering if the BBC was paying her? Why else would she do it?) But the fact that she needs to do that is partly because she chose to ignore the advice of people like me, and others, who, in spite of what she now claims, had her best interests at heart. Over time, she may come to see that. In the meantime, her successors can be very
grateful to her for giving them the support she did not initially have. If they spend a few minutes reading the mountains of correspondence they receive from the British public, they will note that the voters have high expectations of them, are tolerant and affectionate, but fall out of love very quickly if their privileged role is abused.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Discovering the Real Cherie
I haven't seen the REAL CHERIE BLAIR yet. That pleasure will come over the weekend. However, Fiona Millar (aka Mrs alastair Campbell), Cherie's one time personal assistant, has had her say in today's Guardian HERE. Hilarious stuff, as it confirms everything most of had ever thought about Cherie. How on earth did Fiona Millar put up with her for so long?