Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The AV Blame Game

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The AV Blame Game

Article excerpt

Well, that could hardly have gone any better. What a wonderful day for commoners and minor public school people (MPSPs) up and down the country! And, incidentally, perhaps the longest, most watched and most praised party political broadcast ever shown on the BBC, ITV, Sky, Fox, CNN ... Little wonder the PM clasped me to his bosoms at the evening party and whispered: "A triumph, Gidders, a veritable triumph."

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It is always the little things that make the difference. If I might mention just two:

a) The appointment of Huw Edwards. Traditionally a Dimbleby is entrusted to commentate on such proceedings but our polling in Wales is, "frankly, horrible" so we took a punt. It was an inspired gamble. Huw was Welsh without being so Welsh as to be offensive. Obviously, DD was irked but then again a dose of humility can only improve him and his family.

b) The absence of invitations for Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. This, though I say it myself, was a masterstroke. First, nothing would have appeared more jarring than the sudden appearance of a recent Labour leader slap bang in the middle of our very own PPB. Second, Blair is always at his least convincing when claiming that something doesn't matter to him. He can fake sincerity but he just cannot do insouciance. TB looked as terrible on not being invited to the Big Day as he looked convincing on Bin Laden's demise. Third, the obvious snub inevitably infuriated a gaggle of socialist commentators. …

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