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Thursday, October 09, 2003
 
In the phone box

Yesterday, I indicated somewhat obliquely that I would probably not be making any comments about the Conservative Party Conference. However, I heard part of an interview with Iain Duncan Smith that made me wonder if my ears were deceiving me. Later, I heard that I had, after all, got it right. I offer the morceau to you with a brief analysis.

IDS was asked what he would do if he were handed twenty-five letters from dissidents, wanting a change of leadership, by a plotter. (This is all that's required to start a leadership contest.) Presumably referring to the letters, he said 'I'd put them in the phone box'. This was obviously a slip of the tongue - my guess is that he meant '...in the waste bin' or something similar.

This slip went completely uncorrected. It is very unusual not to realise that you have made a mistake of this nature. One can usually find some way of correcting it. Four possibilities exist: either IDS didn't notice at all, or he meant it the way it came out, or he couldn't think of a way to correct it, or he was unable to correct it. Whatever the explanation, there's one likely cause.

Doubtless, other commentators will be drawing attention to this strange lapse. Meanwhile, I can only include the comment offered by my local peripatetic trick-cyclist: 'Blue funk'.


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