First cab off the rank in the Blair camp memoir race, Flunkit, has transferred the content of eighty-five self-healing tapes he made during his turbulent Cabinet years into a life affirming biography. It is already tipped to be bigger than James Frey’s bestselling fictional true life (honest) yarn, A Million Little Pieces.
Flunkit is a devotee of life guru Louise L Hay. Apparently the idea for the tapes grew out of the affirmation exercises he began after reading her inspirational book, You Can Heal Your Life. Flunkit was encouraged to put all of his thoughts, no matter how delusional, down on these tapes. And so the healing process began. Flunkit is known to place a lot of store in the mantras of Ms Hay and can often be heard reciting this one before a big evening out at Annabel’s,
‘In my life there is an infinite supply of love. It is inexhaustible. I can never use it all in this lifetime so I don't have to be sparing with it!’
But not even a ‘bluff and robust’ politician such as he can withstand the pressure of the entire world turning against him. He says, with an intensity that echoes Churchill in his darkest black dog days, ‘I am in the black hole again.’ Household staff have ventured that he may have been spending rather a lot of time in the cellar at this point which he jovially nicknamed ‘the black hole of Barbera’, self-medicating.
‘That weekend my world, and the world of others, imploded’, he confesses of his resignation as Home Secretary. He’d been rumbled innocently fast-tracking a visa application for his married lover’s nanny. Flunkit chivalrously declines to name his paramour. If there is anyone on the planet, or indeed Flunkit’s own home planet that has not yet heard, she is Spectator publisher Kimberly Quinn. Good manners did not stand in the way of him seeking to prove paternity of one of her children and battling her in the courts for access rights.
Not knowing what planet he is on seems a recurring feature of Flunkit’s state of mind during these crisis years,
‘I am just not functioning properly. I am bumping into things. I've hit my forehead and banged my eye. I am clumsy. I am clearly not thinking straight. But I am not going to take medication. I can see that I am depressed. I can feel that I am and I know it rationally, but I am not going to take some artificial medication.’
At his lowest ebb, he lashes out like a wounded beast at the bullies in tutus and tiaras who dominate public discussion in this country,
‘The "liberati" - a combination of libertarian liberals and the world of the arts - are getting their own back on me. For some of them, I was public enemy No 1, for speaking out for the people whom I represent and whom they hold in contempt.’
Gay activists and the British Candelabra Society were initially up in arms when they thought Flunkit had accused Liberace of conspiring against him. The misunderstanding arose as the musings were recorded on recycled audio tapes in the small hours of Saturday morning. Flunkit is known to be less than lucid after a night on the Barbera at Annabel’s. It was a bad time with a probing one-man musical review and a documentary about him on a channel for which seven people have subscriptions about to explode into the public arena. Flunkit had every reason to fear that the ‘world of the arts’ was ganging up on him.
Happily Louise L Hay is always there with a helpful affirmation. ‘Every thought we think is creating our future’, she counsels. Ambitious to make the long haul back up the greasy pole, the plucky politician declared himself fit, in the absence of any medical practitioner prepared to do so, and threw his flat cap back onto the Cabinet hat stand. It’s a cautionary tale. Politicians should note that it is probably not advisable to re-enter public life if you intend to make exactly the same mistakes in the very same way all over again. You are simply making it too easy for the ‘liberati’ who hate crusaders like you who represent the people.
Take Two. Flunkit is made Minister for Work and Pensions and immediately sets about opening himself to entrapment by ambitious Daily Mail reporter Sally Anderson and making sure his directorships in organisations that are bidding for government contracts are up-to-date. Compounding his career nosedive, he is badly let down by his mentors. Louise L Hay’s advice, ‘You DO know what to do’, seems misguided at best. No one can say he didn’t try, ‘I was much less bumptious, much less directive, than I had been in my previous two posts’, he recalls. In retrospect it is sad that the world at large could not appreciate the Herculean nature of the effort asserted.
The real blow comes when his unflinching champion Tony Blair finally gives up the ghost, ‘Tony's advice when I met him on Wednesday [September 28] at conference was very sound. He told me to avoid avoidable publicity.’ Aspiring politicians should note that if your Prime Minister gives you advice like this you should probably change the password on your BlackBerry and get yourself down to the Job Centre post-haste. Please also note that when you stop telling us how to live, we’ll let you alone. Cheers.