Books: End of the Affair; THE BOOK THAT DEALT A FINAL BLOW TO BLUNKETT STEPHEN POLLARD David Blunkett (Hodder & Stoughton, Pounds 20)

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), December 19, 2004 | Go to article overview

Books: End of the Affair; THE BOOK THAT DEALT A FINAL BLOW TO BLUNKETT STEPHEN POLLARD David Blunkett (Hodder & Stoughton, Pounds 20)


Byline: LORNE JACKSON

IT'S not often I'm given a book to review that doubles as a weapon of mass destruction.

But what else would you call David Blunkett by Stephen Pollard?

Perhaps the publication isn't capable of devastating cities, towns or villages.

But last week its contents proved exceedingly effective in contributing to the destruction of a mass of contradictions. David Blunkett himself.

Brandishing a copy of the book, Michael Howard used its contents to stomp on Mr Blunkett's reputation during Prime Minister's Questions.

Cruising a crescendo of catcalls and jeers, the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition quoted the publication's dust jacket blurb, then tossed the book in the direction of Tony Blair.

Later Hilary Armstrong, the Government's Chief Whip, bowled it back to the Tory benches.

Clearly this is a toxic product indeed. Unfortunately, NASA were unable to provide me with a Radiation Protection Suit.

Instead, I've been forced to peruse the publication wearing Aunt Myrtle's floral-patterned oven gloves and a rusty sieve strapped across my face for a visor.

The first shock on reading the book is to discover that it isn't an attack on Blunkett. In fact, it's closer to hagiography.

Of course, it contains those much-quoted waspish comments Blunkett made about political colleagues.

But leaving them aside, we're left with a glowing account of a once-glittering career.

And to be fair to Mr Blunkett, he is indeed a remarkable man.

Born blind on June 6, 1947, he has surmounted many difficulties. His early life was almost unbearable.

Aged four, his parents were informed by the local council that, with the absence of an appropriate school catering for his needs, he'd have to board at a school for the blind on the other side of Sheffield.

Blunkett later recalled his parents taking him there.

'I shivered as we entered the coolness of what then seemed to meanenormous building. A peck on the cheek. …

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