The Darlings of Downing Street by Garry O’Connor

Garry O’Connor, better known for his probing researches into the lives, loves and professional craft of figures large on stage and screen – figures as diverse as Peggy Ashcroft and Alec Guinness – is eminently well placed to deconstruct theatrical trends in modern political life. His insights into the duality and mimetic display of Tony and Cherie Blair encapsulate at a stroke the tasteless descent of public debate, with politics a discipline now more or less one with media showmanship. It’s the image, underpinned by short, nominal, non-verbal slogans, that infects almost every aspect of modern culture. We cannot blame the Blairs personally, who after all are only products themselves of the media schedule, but O’Connor’s searching biography of that pair – a symbiotic pair – not entirely unique in contemporary politics, is as good a litmus as any of leadership as more public display than public accountability.

A highly charged assessment of a pair of ham actors who saw ‘politics as a performance art’. Highly recommended. Sunday Express

A portrait of a couple totally involved and supportive of each other, a couple who loved the limelight and who fought to retain the power which kept them in the spotlight…. Interesting background material for both Tony and Cherie…. The various scandals are well-documented. Irish Emigrant

Eloquent, a climactic tirade…a credible mountain of condemnation…. His central theme is presented with coruscating force. The Herald (Glasgow)

Readable, fluent, assertive…rather disreputable. Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Serialised (twice) in Mail on Sunday (10 and 24 June 2007) and in Catholic Herald (22 July 2007). Mail on Sunday and Catholic Herald

The Darlings of Downing Street is published as an ebook and is available at online retailers, including the following:

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