Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Charlie Whelan Says ... Don't Believe It

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Charlie Whelan Says ... Don't Believe It

Article excerpt

"Tony Blair is listening to union chiefs"

I can't remember the last time I saw a prime minister give such a poor speech as Tony Blair delivered in Brighton to the TUC. It was obvious that it had been written by his staff and that he hadn't even bothered to look at it before reaching the rostrum. I almost felt sorry for dear old Roger "the Rug" Lyons, this year's TUC president, who has spent the past decade begging the PM for a place in the Lords and got nowt. He had to introduce his hero to the brothers and sisters, who were about as pleased to see Blair in Brighton as he was to be there.

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The unions don't even hate Blair any more. They are completely indifferent. He is so little respected that they couldn't even be bothered to show what they really think of him and boo him off the stage. When it was all over, union bosses were asked by the assembled hacks what they made of it. …

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