在政治家当中，英国前首相布莱尔属于能塑造时代的那一类型。他毕业于牛津大学，1994年成为英国工党领袖，1997年带领工党结束了保守党此前18年的执政期，也成为英国自1812年以来最年轻的首相。2007年，布莱尔黯然卸任，并于2010年推出了回忆录《A Journey: My Political Life》，记述了英国自黛安娜王妃去世到发起反恐战争这数年间的历史。书中充满了坦率无畏并且不乏嘲讽的细节，记录了布莱尔执政生涯的起起落落，让读者不仅窥见一位政治家，也走近一个普通人。
At about 2 a.m., something most peculiar happened. 1)Cherie is difficult to wake once asleep, but I woke to find a policeman standing by the bed, which as you can imagine was quite a surprise. As I struggled into consciousness he told me that he had tried the bell but I hadn’t heard it; that Princess Diana had been seriously injured in a car crash; and that I should immediately telephone Sir Michael Jay, the British ambassador in Paris.
I know that sounds 2)callous. I was genuinely in grief. I liked her and I felt desperately sorry for her two boys, but I also knew that this was going to be a major national, in fact global event like no other. How Britain emerged was important for the country internally and externally.
As I 3)contemplated her death and what I would say, I felt a sense of obligation as well as sadness. I felt I owed it to her to try to capture something of what she was. I sat in my study in Trimdon as the dawn light streamed through the windows, and thought about how she would have liked me to talk about her.
The Palace had, of course, put out a statement, but there was no intention for the Queen to speak.
By then I had worked out what I wanted to say. I 4)scribbled it on the back of an envelope, and discussed it with 5)Alastair. The last thing you need at a time like that is a back-coverer, 6)vacillator or 7)sycophant.
The phrase “people’s princess” now seems like something from another age. And corny. And over the top. And all the rest of it. But at the time it felt natural and I thought, particularly, that she would have approved. It was how she saw herself, and it was how she should be remembered. What they loved was precisely that she was a princess but still vulnerable, still 8)buffeted by life’s ups and downs, capable of healing their wounds because she herself knew what it was like to be wounded.
We drove the couple of miles to the green in the centre of Trimdon where the old church stands. Alastair had arranged for a pooled press group to be present. I got out of the car and just walked up and spoke. It was odd, standing there in this little village in County Durham, on the grass in front of an ancient small church, speaking words that I knew would be carried around the country and the world. They would be a major part of how people thought of me. Even today people talk to me about it. You think of the great speeches, prepared over days and weeks, the 9)momentous events that shape modern history and in which I played a part, the political battles, the crises, the times of 10)elation, and despair; yet those few words scribbled on the back of an envelope probably had as much coverage as anything I ever did.
The national mood was exactly what we thought: an outpouring of sadness. But already it was tinged with anger that she had been taken away. At first, the rage was turned on the paparazzi who had been following her. It is perhaps hard to convey what it is like to be a public figure and feel hounded. And for perfectly understandable reasons, many people don’t feel sorry for the famous, most of whom have willingly taken that path. They take the upside, so the argument goes, and should jolly well put up with the downside. Anyway, small price to pay, isn’t it?
Except in Diana’s case it had gone way beyond a small price. She was literally hunted down. She was a gold mine that was constantly 11)plundered. The digging was deep and unusually desperate because the gains were so immense. Of course, media people say she was happy to pursue the media when it suited her, but this is a far less 12)compelling argument than it seems. The truth is, in the full glare of media attention, you have no option but to engage with them, to try to mould their view of you, to try to prevent a different and often unflattering and unfair view from taking hold. In other words, sometimes there is no choice: either you attempt to feed the beast or the beast eats you. Now, at points she fed them more than was necessary, but that doesn’t alter the basic fact: she was subject to a degree of persistent, intrusive and 13)dehumanising harassment that on occasions was frightening, excessive and wrong.
1) Cherie 即Cherie Booth，布莱尔的妻子
2) callous [5kAlEs] a. 无情的，冷淡的
3) contemplate [5kɒntempleIt] v. 凝思，沉思
4) scribble [5skrIbl] v. 潦草地写，乱写
5) Alastair 即Alastair Campbell，布莱尔的新闻顾问
6) vacillator [5vAsIleItE] n. 犹豫不定的人
7) sycophant [5sIkEfEnt] n. 拍马屁的人，谄媚者，奉承者
8) buffet [5bQfIt] v. 打击，搏斗
9) momentous [mEJ5mentEs] a. 重大的，重要的
10) elation [I5leIF(E)n] n. 得意洋洋，兴高采烈
11) plunder [5plQndE] v. 抢劫
12) compelling [kEm5pelIN] a. 强制的，强迫的，引人注目的
13) dehumanising [di:5hju:mEnaIzIN] a. 失掉人性的，成兽性的