Blair’s charitable donation – shrewd or misconstrued?

Blair pitch project

Another week, another memoir from another master of spin. This week, Tony Blair vowed to hand the £4.6m advance and any profits from his autobiography to the Royal British Legion to open a state-of-the-art sports centre for wounded servicemen.

Many commentators within politics already grumbled that the move is an attempt to rebuild a reputation heavily tarnished since he left office in 2007.

PR and media folk across the land have also been swift to condemn Blair’s move as nothing more than a publicity stunt to either assuage his “guilt” over the war and/or to put one over on his rival spinmeister, Peter Mandelson.

Peter Mandelson
The Third Man

The question is, was Blair in an impossible situation? What if he didn’t donate anything and ended up earning yet another fortune post PM? The media will have roasted him for that too. Basically Blair was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t but politics aside, isn’t that his fault due to his over-reliance on PR throughout his tenure?

Blair’s problem here is that everyone knows he is/was darn handy at the old PR game and now, everything he does is seen as a cynical ploy. Whether his motivation was book sales, a change of his tarnished public perception or a genuine feeling that he should donate to the good cause, Blair will attract attention and suspicion with every move.

The question is, could he have handled this any differently? I’d be interested to know who the driving force behind the announcement was – team Blair or his publishers?

The Press For Attention Prescription

Suspicion and whispers stalk Blair’s moves now and his detractors are in full cry whenever he comes out into the media glare. I think that the best think to do here would have been to have said nothing at all. Perhaps a subtle note within the inside cover could mention the good cause and have encouraged more folk to consider the sacrifices that the armed forces make? Enough people will buy the book anyway, it didn’t need an extra push. What is has got now is notoriety but at what cost?