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Don’t follow the people

Politicians of the left once led public opinion. A hagiography of David Blunkett shows how today's "authoritarian populists" now just follow it

By David Marquand   March 2005

David Blunkett by Stephen Pollard (Hodder & Stoughton, £20)

At first sight, Stephen Pollard’s biography of David Blunkett is a workmanlike, though cliché-ridden, example of a genre to which publishers are increasingly addicted—the journalistic instant biography that provokes a brief stir of publicity for a moment or two, and then sinks beneath the waves. But on closer inspection, it has a more enduring significance, both for British politics in general and for British social democracy in particular.

It is significant in an odd, roundabout way. Pollard is a hagiographer rather than a biographer. He is heavily biased in Blunkett’s favour…

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