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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Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.

 

 

In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.