'Animal' Blair opens up on sex and politics

1st September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Tony Blair's memoirs out Wednesday concern more than just affairs of state -- Britain's ex-premier also gives intimate details about his wife and describes the sexual shenanigans of other politicians.

In "A Journey", Blair writes candidly of his "animal" feelings for his wife Cherie one night when he was on the brink of going for the leadership of the Labour party after the death of incumbent John Brown in 1994.

"That night she cradled me in her arms and soothed me; told me what I needed to be told; strengthened me; made me feel that what I was about to do was right," Blair writes of Cherie, with whom he now has four children.

"On that night of 12 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 and resilience to cope with what lay ahead."

He also pays tribute to his wife for her composure when she gave birth to their fourth child in 2001 -- the first to be born to a sitting British prime minister in 150 years -- adding: "There are times when I am in awe of that woman."

Later in the book Blair waxes lyrical on his thoughts about the relationship between politics and sex, saying that, while wrong, affairs seem to represent a "desert island of pleasure" for stressed-out lawmakers.

"It's a strange thing, politics and sex," Blair writes in a section dealing with an affair that then-deputy prime minister John Prescott had with his diary secretary, a relationship which emerged in 2006.

"Politicians live with pressure. They have to be immensely controlled to get anywhere, watch what they say and do, and behave. And your free-bird instincts want to spring you from that prison of self-control," he writes.

"Then there is the moment of encounter, so exciting, so naughty, so lacking in self-control. Suddenly you are transported out of your world of intrigue and issues and endless machinations and the serious piled on the serious, and just put on a remote desert island of pleasure, out of it all, released, carefree."

But he insisted that such behaviour was still "stupid... and irresponsible."

For the most part, Blair's memoirs, published worldwide from Wednesday, deal with more weighty political matters during his decade in Downing Street from 1997 to 2007.

He says he does not regret the 2003 invasion of Iraq war despite feeling "desperately sorry" for those who died, and also attacks the premiership of his "strange" successor Gordon Brown.

© 2010 AFP

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