Matthew Norman Column: Ethics Man Is So Insincere; Howdy, Pardner Is Tony There? No, He's Watching Wor Jackie in Newcastle Godammit, I Said Not to Start a Wor without Me!

The Mirror (London, England), February 28, 2003 | Go to article overview

Matthew Norman Column: Ethics Man Is So Insincere; Howdy, Pardner Is Tony There? No, He's Watching Wor Jackie in Newcastle Godammit, I Said Not to Start a Wor without Me!


Byline: Matthew Norman

THE American telecoms giant AT&T has developed a phone that warns you of unwanted incoming calls by shouting out the name of the person ringing.

There's no word whether this useful technology has found its way to No 10 yet but if so, we might imagine the reaction when the metallic voice next yells "George W Bush" at a weary, lonely, isolated, fretful Tony Blair.

"You take it, Alastair," he'd say. "Tell him whatever you want - I'm watching Jackie Milburn play for Newcastle, I'm having my septic aura massaged by Carole Caplin's crystals, I've died in a freak paragliding accident... tell him anything but just get rid of him."

So much for his fantasy. The reality, of course, iss that it's much too late to run for cover now. Second resolution or no second resolution, 121 Labour rebels or 221, Mr Blair has wedged himself so immovably and so far inside the President's body that there can be no escape from his master's voice now. Assuming that there is no new UN resolution explicitly sanctioning the coming onslaught, Mr Blair will have to send in the troops and Tornados knowing well that within a few months, or even weeks, the magic phone could be announcing a call from Pickfords, checking what time he wants the removal vans to turn up at Downing Street.

Today, although few seriously doubt that Blair's survival is on a knife edge, fewer still doubt the motives that have driven him into such a dangerous position. Even those who think he's wildly misguided over Iraq pay ritual tribute to the sincerity of his beliefs.

Why? Why does a vast majority of even his political enemies always pay lip service to the purity of his motives? …

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Matthew Norman Column: Ethics Man Is So Insincere; Howdy, Pardner Is Tony There? No, He's Watching Wor Jackie in Newcastle Godammit, I Said Not to Start a Wor without Me!
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