27 September, 2006

Tone deaf

There's no doubt the Prime Minister made an impressive last stand at the Labour Party conference yesterday; he's always had an undeniable flair for oratory and theatrics which have seen him through many a scrape in the past and which (almost) always seem to come to his rescue at times of personal crisis.

But in reality his slick presentational skills and nifty turns of phrase have long since changed from being an addendum to Blair's problems to being the one sole problem above all else. Where once his way with words would charm and impress, now it just grates and offends. He no longer convinces, persuades, cajoles. Rather he merely drones, blathers and shouts.

The initial reaction may be the same - of someone who can make you listen and catches your ear like nobody else on the Labour front bench - but the lasting impression is quite different from that of, say, 10 years ago.

There's now a huge swell of indifference to the business of taking Blair at face value. Once he didn't have to fight against such a thing. Once he stood a reasonable chance of being accepted and trusted and respected. But then came, in the words of another infamously derailed Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, "events".

Ultimately Blair became his own worst enemy, his way with words being both his making and his undoing. Lest we forget, it was one soundbite too many - "45 minutes" - which triggered his fall from grace.

Will we miss Blair when he's gone? You bet , but only in the way you miss having something to moan about, the way you miss idly picking at a scab once it has healed, or the way you miss cursing the British weather for being too hot when winter arrives and it's too cold.

Besides, he'll make it his business to not be absent from the scene for too long. You can guarantee his face will still be popping up all over the place, just no longer as a representative of the people (ha!) and instead as an unelected, unaccountable celebrity. Or more likely, checking in overdue books behind the counter at the Tony Blair Memorial Library.


Post a Comment

<< Home