In other places, though, the skippy and analytical approach is clear, feisty and opinionated. The entry for Day 36, for instance, Friday 6 June, anatomises the run-in between Heritage Secretary Chris Smith and the Camelot "fat cats", giving both a crisp outline of events and an unabashed (although not very surprising) summing-up: "The truth is that the episode is the first serious mismanagement of the government". With each daily section labelled - "Committee King" (about Peter Mandelson, of course); "Slime and Punishment" (sleaze scandals) or "Husbandry" (on the carefully contrived "surprise" pictures of Gordon Brown with his girlfriend in a restaurant) - there is fun to be had throughout.
First serialised in the press at the end of the hundred days, but now appearing in book form, this reportage-diary is, of course, in danger of going further and further out of date even as you read it: hindsight is an endlessly powerful force in politics, as elsewhere. But as a swift- response, insider's-eye view it has an enjoyable freshness. Since it describes Blair's as "the most media-managed government in history" it is probably appropriate that the text is journalistic and immediate, but it's a shame when it degenerates into trash-rag cliches. From the first we find passages like this: "parties across the capital are in full flow. Helena Kennedy, the top barrister destined for the House of Lords, plays hostess to the luvvie and literati brigade, entertaining the likes of Salman Rushdie, who watch the results on a huge ITN jumbo screen, provided courtesy of Jon Snow, the cerebral and left-of-centre presenter of Channel 4 News..."