Let’s put the unnecessarily gargantuan and catastrophic loss of life in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan to one side for a moment. I’d like to quickly rush to the defence of Tony Blair.
Blair’s crime (literary, not war) is that his memoirs are just a bit too informal for your average political tome. A largely complimentary piece dissects his writing style here, but you get the sense the praise is all through gritted teeth. “It is all about being colloquial…Blair likes to write as if he had the reader with him...it's 'anti-literary.'" Etc.
Writing is only great if people want to read it. Memoirs are the personal recollections of the man or woman himself. You want to hear the voice. That’s what makes Alan Clark’s Diaries a masterpiece. That’s what makes the job of Wayne Rooney’s ghostwriter the ultimate hospital pass.
As our brains change shape to cope with the welter of information we’re having to deal with (read old post here), we’re finding it harder to read. Which means writing skills need to get better. They seem to be getting worse, and there seems to be a lot less love for the actual craft which bodes badly for the future.
At the end of the day, the job of writing is communication. Blair reads like he sounds, and people listened to him. It’s a good skill to have if you want to get things done, especially if you need votes to do it. 3 election victories are good KPIs.