Parris on Blair


On Any Questions on BBC Radio 4 on 18 July 2003, the day after the Prime Minister’s rapturous reception by the US Congress, a questioner asked:


“After this week's events where could Tony Blair receive 17 standing ovations in Britain?”


Here is Matthew Parris’ reply:


“Well I think there's only one way the Prime Minister might get a standing ovation and that's if you remove the chairs, he might get a standing ovation.  I think the feeling of distaste, which is very widely shared over that speech in Washington, is not anti-Americanism - I think we should feel proud to have any prime minister who maintains good warm relationships with the United States - but we want it to be done on an equal basis. We don't want to see him sent over to be patted on the head in Washington and that is too close to what it looked like. This Prime Minister, I think, is winged, as a bird is winged, and he may hop about it for quite a while and peck all over the place, but he will never fly again.”


Prompted by the presenter Jonathan Dimbleby to comment on the New Statesman article, which suggested that the Prime Minister had psychopathic tendencies, he continued:


“I think he's bonkers actually - I think he's totally bonkers. For the first three or four years of his premiership I spent quite a lot of time trying to reconcile what he said with reality and with other things that he has said, but life is too short to reconcile what Tony Blair says with what he's said and to reconcile it with reality. I think he's living in some kind of a fantasy world and it's pretty close to being psychopathic at times. But don't start me.”



Labour & Trade Union Review

August 2003