'This Week' Transcript: Tony Blair


AMANPOUR: you talk about Cherie, your wife, giving you support and soothing you. You say: "On that night, the 12th of May, 1994, I needed that love that Cherie gave me selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength. I was an animal following my instinct, knowing that I would need every ounce of emotional power and resilience."

BLAIR: Yes, I'm going to blush now

AMANPOUR: It's a bit racy, that, yes?

BLAIR: Yes, I'm going to blush now so...you write these passages and they stay in. And then when you read them in the cold light of day, you think hmm. Should I really have written that in that way? but anyway.....

AMANPOUR: I'm struck by so much of the tone of the book, you sort of going from kind of gung ho courageous bravado to really gut wrenching fear because you had this amazing passage about prime minister's questions:

"the Prime minister knows I was given no sight of that dossier I wasn't even contacted, so he can retract that for a start. (cheers)

"PMQs was the most nerve-wracking, discombobulating, nail-biting, bowel-moving, terror inspiring, courage-draining experience in my prime ministerial life, without question."

BLAIR: It was terrifying, absolutely terrifying. In fact, one of the funny things is when people in the -- the U.S. often say to me, you know, don't you miss prime minister's questions? And miss prime minister's -- it's like asking a guy, you know, who's been on the rack for 10 years whether he'd like a stretch....

AMANPOUR: How did you get over it?

BLAIR: I ended up understanding it was also a physical exercise this prime ministers questions so I -- I used to eat differently and take a banana to give me energy before going in. And you have to confront what is the fear. And the fear is -- the fear, in the end, is being made to look completely ridiculous, which is a very human fear.

AMANPOUR: Do you still feel it at that time every week?

BLAIR: Absolutely. Every week at three minutes to 12 on a Wednesday, wherever I am in the world, there is a chill that comes upon me. It hasn't left yet.

AMANPOUR: Shortly after you became prime minister, you met Princess Diana. what did you think of her?

BLAIR: She was an extraordinarily, engaging, amazing, beautiful, iconic figure.

AMANPOUR: you said that Buckingham Palace sort of saw her as a threat.

BLAIR: Well, they admired her, but she was such a -- in one sense she was such a different type of person that for a very traditional monarchy, this was a -- you know, as I say, it was a kind of meteor coming into what had been a fairly well disciplined, well ordered ecosystem. And -- and that obviously had a big impact on her with big consequence.

AMANPOUR: And when she died, that created a whole another set of -- of realities. You called her the people's princess and you also had to kind of get the queen and Buckingham palace to understand there was a huge wave sweeping the country

BLAIR: People felt an enormous sense of loss. And so I think what was very important was -- was for the monarchy to be able to, at that sort of supreme point of difficulty, to just pivot somewhat and come to a -- an understanding with the people, where they reached out and accepted that there was that -- that strength of emotion.

(QUEEN) "I for one believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death.."

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