My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Damian McBride paints himself as a bastard from the out in his book looking at British politics during the Brown years. He’s right – he is.
But then he seems, as he says himself, to be in the right company. His book contained no revelations for me but confirmed what I already knew of politicians and the Press or could guess from reading between the lines. McBride confirms that Westminster is the height of the institutionalised corruption which pervades our society with almost complete impunity. The whole thing is a stock market game of chance using scandals and rumour as stocks and shares; outbidding one scandal with another in order to keep your guy from falling or minimising the damage if he does.
I guess what I come away with after reading this spin doctor’s first-hand account of government is an even greater lack of sympathy or trust in our political system. At the end of his book McBride paints a bleak picture of the future believing the real economic crash hasn’t occurred yet and when it does it will be doomsday. He then, rather like Pink Floyd at the end of their ‘Wall’ story, attempts to give a message of hope somewhat akin to ‘from the smouldering wreck of a ruined society we’ll stand holding hands’. It fails to be believable.
There is no doubt this man loved Gordon Brown and considered him the most honourable and brilliant politician we’ve ever had. There’s some truth in this I think – the Press and general opinion has always been that he was just so and it was merely a pity he never got to be rightfully elected to the post of Prime Minister. But overall, despite this love, McBride paints him almost as a simpering child incapable of looking after himself and needing an army of advisers and people like McBride even to make sure, literally, that his hair was done right and he had dressed himself correctly.
I came away depressed with the leaders of our country, despairing of what will happen after the elections in May and sickened by who McBride was, what he became and who he is now. But greater condemnation lies with the system which embraced him, encouraged him and, ultimately, spat him out when it was done with him.