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Politics/Current Affairs

Prime Minister Chats To Stephen Fry In Podcast

Friday, February 9th, 2007 at 13:52 by Sue Stewart

Tony Blair hasn’t kept a diary. That’s the item that was brought to my attention in an email newsletter from a booktrade webpage. Given that “publishers are believed to be queuing up to get their hands on [his memoirs], potentially earning millions of pounds for Mr Blair” I thought that might pose a bit of a problem. What’s he going to do? Make it all up? (Isn’t that a bit too obvious a sore point to prod? Oh, sod it. *Prod*)

I did wonder about that though, and as the newsletter was kind enough to cite their source as the PM’s podcast, I had a look - and a listen - for myself.  The admission about the lack of diary comes 21 minutes, 46 seconds into the 23 minute, 23 second long interview, which does illustrate one of the points that Tony Blair makes - that words are almost always taken out of context and to suit the agenda of the person quoting them. So credit where it’s due - he’s not wrong on that one.

It’s quite a charming interview, actually, though the fact that I didn’t have to watch it was a big help. There’s something about politicians’ body language that makes me all jittery. That Stephen Fry was the interviewer was no small issue, either - I don’t know where he’d rank in nationwide poll but he certainly scores high on my “If he’s prepared to talk to you, you can’t be that bad” meter.

In fact, it reminded me why Tony Blair made it as far as he has in the first place. He sounds so reasonable, so level-headed - downright fair, in fact - that it’s easy to forget that the only way we can really judge politicians is not on the basis of what they say, but what they do. Of course, the only way to judge what they do is by voting them into power, so as an empirical test it’s not without risk.

Maybe we should make them all take the Hippocratic Oath - “First, do no harm.” Of course we’d then start off with the endless debate about what constitutes harm and who makes the decision about it. But that’s a rant for another time. I’m just reminding myself that the power of words - reasonable and level-headed or wild and rabble-rousing - is absolutely real. Having the platform all to yourself and a nice man interviewing you doesn’t hurt, either.

If you want to listen for yourself, the podcast and transcript are at:

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5 Comments on “Prime Minister Chats To Stephen Fry In Podcast”

  1. Stephen Ball Says:

    The PM’s website is a source of constant comedy. The Petitions page alone is priceless.

  2. DannyMackay Says:

    That petition list is a horible indictment of our country.
    the most signed three on the list are (summarised)

    1 - don’t bring in a new tax
    2 - scrap and old tax
    3 - let us kill stuff.

  3. Stephen Ball Says:

    I agree, it’s horrific. Most amusing is where a petition exists for the opposite cause to the one two places above it, and both have thousands of votes.

    I can’t help agreeing with the one asking for Ruth Kelly to resign though, because she’s rubbish.

  4. DannyMackay Says:

    Ruth Kelly is a very competent person - but she has no political awareness.

    so while she can make quite a good job of running a department effectively, she doesn’t know how to make herself appear popular and win public favour.

    that inability to play the game is not one the public ever forgive. indeed they prefer inept ministers who play politics well (anyone remember David blunket’s popular yet failed cabinet years?)

  5. Stephen Ball Says:

    I’d say she’s a very competent banker. The NUT graded her an “F”.

    Her policies and performance in the last two posts have made me cringe. Just a personal opinion, but I feel the equality bill only showed why she was already unsuitable for the role.

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