Press questions ‘control freakery’ at Blair signing
12.08.10 | Graeme Neill

Tony Blair’s forthcoming signing at Waterstone’s has been branded a “farce” by the Daily Mail after it was revealed photographs have been banned and the former PM will not personally dedicate each book. The Mail estimates in a separate story that the taxpayer could face a six figure bill to pay for security at the event.

The Bookseller revealed yesterday the details of Blair’s signing, at the Waterstone’s Piccadilly branch on 8th September. The story prompted the Stop the War coalition to call for a protest at the Piccadilly signing, a boycott of Waterstone’s as well as peaceful protests at every branch of the bookseller.

Among the security measures in place are a ban on cameras and mobile phones and a limit of two books signed per customer. Random House has said the arrangements are “common practice for an event of this size”.

The Guardian’s Diary column says: “Who says the age of control freakery is dead? Other signings have apparently yet to be arranged. Wouldn’t it serve him right if no one turned up?”

The Independent draws attention to the Stop the War Coalition and its spokesperson Andrew Burgin. Its Diary column dryly notes: “Mr Burgin also works as a second-hand bookseller, but far be it from me to suggest he might have an ulterior motive.”

The Daily Telegraph claims Blair will be taking “absolutely no chances” with security after X Factor winner Leona Lewis was allegedly punched by a fan at the same store during signing last year.

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