- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > Politics

Tony Blair: Smug git

18 June 2004

If Michael Howard was buggered to death by bears tomorrow, the British nation wouldn't, on the whole, weep. In fact some people would distribute the incident as a humorous video clip via email, with Teddy Bears' Picnic as the soundtrack.

We certainly would.

But it was hard not to feel a tiny pang of sympathy for Nosferatu when Tony Blair attempted to give him a drubbing (word of the week) during Prime Minister's question time. Not because Howard had a good, or indeed any, point to make, but because Tony's attempted-drub was so contrived and stage-managed.

What happened was this: Howard asked why the NHS is so useless (it isn't). Blair got all shouty and evil, like a spoilt public schoolgirl on CIA combat drugs. He shrieked:

'I read his [Howard's] speech. He says he came back into frontline politics because of his anger at the state of the NHS. Well - he must have been incandescent when he was in government! He was so angry it left him speechless, because he never raised the state of the NHS!'

He then kept twisting round and looking behind him to get the approval of his acolytes, looking like someone who's just discovered a cobra down their shirt. But Tony's drub was clever, very articulate, and probably very pre-prepared.

And that's the point. Tone doesn't just walk into PM's questions and speak off the cuff - on the rare occasions when any politician has to make a meaningful statement on the (cloven) hoof it tends to come out as something like this:

'The right honourable gentlemen will find, um, issue that has been raised that concerns us all, but, um, therefore, um, too early to judge or to begin to realise that in opposition the same might well be said of him and his um. I refer you to the strategy that our, er, party has pursued since, um.'

Blair, who has got his back against a very spiky wall, had come out fighting with a pre-prepared onslaught against Howard. But all he really succeeded in doing was looking like some spotty, middle-class arsehole at the Oxford Union scoring points off his opponent during a political debate, but not having any genuine, heart-felt feelings about the NHS or anything else.

British politics: it's edifying stuff.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free

Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved