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Word Count: 691
Choice for the fewThe Blair Revolution Revisited by Peter Mandelson 330pp PoliticosEileen and Tracy have risen from the grave Indeed the whole cast of comic characters created by Peter Mandelson and Roger Liddle in 1996 have been reincarnated in The Blair Revolution Revisited Most of the book is a word-for-word reprint of what the preface calls the unofficial manifesto of the New Labour project So according to the text Tracy is still waiting for the heartless Social Fund to pay for a few humble items of furniture and Eileen remains frantically worried about the behaviour of her son a regular truant from school In one sense the repetition of the six-year-old complaint is entirely appropriate The Social Fund still denies help to families in desperate need and truancy has become such a serious problem that the government is considering withholding child benefit from miscreants mothers When the book was written Tracy and Eileen illustrated the callous incompetence of the Tories Exhuming their grievances in exactly their original form demonstrates that some of the promised improvements have not come about Presumably Mandelson has republished The Blair Revolution as a vehicle to carry the ideas of his new introduction into the bookshops Despite all the silliness of the Eileen and Tracy dialogue that objective almost justifies the return of Ben and Laura the couple who after much agonising decided that state schools were not good enough for their children The introduction is a brief but serious reassessment of the project Much of Mandelsons good advice to the party leadership is blunted by a determination to avoid the slightest suggestion that he is critical of the prime minister When he tells ministers to devote more time to parliament and less to managing the media he thinks it necessary to add that by doing so they would be following Tony Blairs example His complaint that New Labours belief in equality has not been sufficiently trumpeted might in a less
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