There has been a huge wave of disappointment at the news that the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has failed to deliver the messianic tome which the entire world had been waiting for. "I am gutted" one Blairite was quoted as saying. Expectations were clearly at an extraordinary level when news of the book deal were originally announced. Gradually it leaked out that there would be no political revelations in the book at all. Instead it will be a self-help manual giving tips on how top up your suntan by wangling invitations on to billionaire's yachts moored at the more exclusive marinas in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. The unhappy publishers clearly felt that the original title "The Journey" would breach the Trade Descriptions Act and changed it to "Tanning for Millionaires" to better reflect its content.
Blair, who was recently awarded a Tanning for Peace prize in the United States, is said to be unrepentant. "I have examined my conscience in the matter and found that I have done everything properly and within the terms of the book deal. Nothing prevents me from doing the opposite of what people expect, want or hope for."
Financially it is a disaster for Blair who is said by insiders to be down to his last £50 million or so. Amazon has slashed the pre-order price of the book from a whopping £25 to a mere £14.99 - a 40% discount - so that now even some non-millionaires could afford to buy it. The price crash has been blamed on the unexpected name change announced in July, 2010. The savage discount is all the more surprising as the book doesn't even go on sale until September. A spokesman for the on-line bookseller refused to comment but it is believed they have totally overstocked the book. "Who wants to buy a book about tanning in September?" a disconsolate shelf stacker at Amazon was overheard to say.