Blair's memoirs nominated for Bad Sex Award

Blair's "animal instincts" earn him a nomination for the annual Bad Sex Award.

When David Cameron wrote that one of the lessons of Tony Blair's memoirs was that "politicians should keep quiet about their animal instincts", I found myself in rare agreement.

For those of you yet to enjoy (or endure) Blair's prose, here is the offending passage:

[T]hat night she (Cherie Blair) cradled me in her arms and soothed me; told me what I needed to be told; strengthened me; made me feel that I was about to do was right ... On that night of the 12th May, 1994, I needed that love Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength. I was an animal following my instinct, knowing I would need every ounce of emotional power to cope with what lay ahead. I was exhilarated, afraid and determined in roughly equal quantities.

Blair's efforts have earned him a nomination for the Literary Review's annual Bad Sex Award -- the first time a work of non-fiction has made the cut. Other nominees for the prize, which celebrates "poorly written, redundant or crude passages of a sexual nature", include Ian McEwan for Solar, Jonathan Franzen for Freedom and Martin Amis for The Pregnant Widow: "Keith imagined her buttocks as a pair of giant testicles (from L. testiculus, lit. 'a witness' -- a witness to virility), not oval, but perfectly round."

Last year's award went to Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones for such cringe-making lines as: "I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg".

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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What did Jeremy Corbyn really say about Bin Laden?

He's been critiqued for calling Bin Laden's death a "tragedy". But what did Jeremy Corbyn really say?

Jeremy Corbyn is under fire for describing Bin Laden’s death as a “tragedy” in the Sun, but what did the Labour leadership frontrunner really say?

In remarks made to Press TV, the state-backed Iranian broadcaster, the Islington North MP said:

“This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died.”

He also added that it was his preference that Osama Bin Laden be put on trial, a view shared by, among other people, Barack Obama and Boris Johnson.

Although Andy Burnham, one of Corbyn’s rivals for the leadership, will later today claim that “there is everything to play for” in the contest, with “tens of thousands still to vote”, the row is unlikely to harm Corbyn’s chances of becoming Labour leader. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.