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Tuesday, September 30, 2003
I do not normally listen to David Frost. I have little patience with his fawning style, especially when dealing with politicians. However, it appears that it was a different David Frost interviewing Tony Blair. I'm sorry I missed it. Roy Hattersley comments usefully thus:
Yesterday morning [Sunday], at breakfast with an unusually combative David Frost, Tony Blair displayed all the qualities we have come to know, if not always to love. Charm was switched on and off like an electric light. He was lucid, confident, well-informed - and shamelessly evasive. Asked when he knew that he had misled the country about Saddam Hussein's ability to strike at Britain in 45 minutes, he insisted that propriety required such questions to be answered by the Hutton inquiry. If he was watching the broadcast, Lord Hutton must have assumed that his terms of reference had suddenly been extended.I wonder how Tony Blair will handle this now. Will he write to Hutton and say 'OK moosh, while you're at it, just expand your terms of reference sufficiently to demonstrate that I misled the country, will you?' Or will he, on the other hand, deny he said it, claim a misunderstanding, or that it was a slip of the tongue?
I've just listened to Tony Bliar's conference speech. At one stage, I expected him to burst into song like Bryan Adams in 'Robin Hood': 'Everything I do, I do it for you'. And when he turned to the topic of refugees, I waited for an aside to the effect that 'That'll keep the Fascist tabloids happy'. All the while, though, I kept wondering if speeches that go down well with the Labore party appeal quite so much to the people who really matter: the middle England voter.
In years before 1994, say, radical speeches that went down very well with the party faithful frightened the voters. One wonders whether this will prove to be the case now. There were occasional jokes, some self-deprecating. At one stage he offered to sing:'Always look on the bright side'. I'd have felt it more appropriate if he'd sung 'I feel pretty...' But pretty what?
Great oratory that's long on style and short on substance always bring to mind the rabble-rousing of dictators. I mistrust appeals to emotion; emotion belongs in the bedroom, not in politics. And if a speech is endorsed by Trevor Kavanagh, that great libertarian sage and philospher at 'The Sun', one has to feel 'got at'. If we leave our reason at home...
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