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Anorak | Tony Wept

Tony Wept

by | 1st, October 2003

‘“I AM the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to a third term except through me.” So spake Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday in Bournemouth.

‘Five more minutes!’

Or, as the Times headline has it, “Trust Me, Trust Me, Trust Me”.

The reaction from the scribes to Blair’s sixth party conference speech as Prime Minister is generally positive, but far from adulatory.

They have seen it all before and they are no longer taken in by Blair’s Messianic prose.

“It will be remembered as the speech when Tony Blair almost cried,” says Simon Hoggart in his Guardian sketch.

“It was a classic New Labour moment: the leader moved to tears by his own rhetoric. We’ve had the self-basting turkey and the self-cleaning oven. Yesterday, we got the self-watering speech.”

The Independent notes that Blair received a seven-minute standing ovation after his speech, but also a two-minute ovation before he had uttered a word.

“Delegates! I hope you’re ashamed of yourselves!” says the paper’s sketch writer.

But the Telegraph judges the speech itself a success in its most important purpose – knocking down Gordon Brown.

“To confront that threat, he deployed jokes,” writes Frank Johnson in his conference sketch. “He deployed incomprehensible, and presumably bogus, statistics.

“When he told of letters which parents of soldiers killed in Iraq had written to him, he wept – showing that, to overthrow this man Brown, he would stop at nothing.”

And it worked, as the Guardian demonstrates with its front-page picture of the Cabinet applauding their leader’s words, all that is except for one.’



Posted: 1st, October 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink