Ten Years On from 1 May 1997

Who can forget it?

I spent the day driving from Bosnia to Austria with an American colleague. We were on a mission to the IKEA shop in Graz, to buy furniture for our office. But we spent the evening discussing the collapse of the Conservatives and the imminent change of government; the constitutional reforms for Scotland and Wales, any possible changes in foreign policy. My colleague asked me how I thought the Lib Dems might do. Heart in mouth, I said that I hoped for a gain of five or six seats, to within striking distance of 30 MPs.

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Irresistible.


Her Majesty’s government?
Some light Saturday reading…

I think Tony Blair will from now on try to leave press conferences before someone gets a chance to ask the last question.

Back in September 2003 in Berlin, a British journalist asked Blair about being embarrassed about being a spokesperson for the American President when talking to Chancellor Schr?der and French President Chirac (afoe post). Blair was visibly surprised by the question, and certainly a little embarrassed that Chirac and Schr?der replied on his behalf.

Yesterday, Mr Blair must thus have sensed some kind of “d?j? vu” when the London Times correspondent asked Mr Bush if he indeed, as suggested by so many British, regarded Tony Blair as his “poodle”, or if he did not think that the US owed something to the UK for Mr Blair’s support. Mr Blair then sort-of-jokingly asked the President not to say “yes”, for that would be, well, difficult, before Mr Bush went on to praise Mr Blair’s leadership and wondered what he should owe a leader “[p]lenty capable of making his own mind.”

Since you’re going to read about this everywhere, you might as well read the original. So in the extended part of this post you can find the (slightly edited by the White House) transcript of that part of the press conference as well as the video footage. For the interesting bits, forward to the last minute or so. Enjoy.
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