Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Stumped for Words

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Stumped for Words

Article excerpt

"Shot," said the PM, taking a gulp of bitter and looking tremendously pleased with himself. Rarely does he mingle with those whom he half-jokingly refers to as "my people" and he was determinedly jolly during an afternoon's Test cricket at the Oval.

Two England players making centuries helped bolster his mood. It was just a shame that he failed to join everyone else in the standing ovations that accompanied each landmark, almost certainly because he thought the applause was for him rather than KP or IB. (Prime ministers, like prep-school headmasters, are prone to taking the credit for others' sporting successes. God help us next year if Britain has "a good Olympics"!)

Nor was this the only faux pas. A non-scripted conversation with one of "my people" unravelled somewhat towards the end.

PM Shot!

One of PM's People That's the hundred partnership.

PM Big cricket fan, are we?

OOPMPI certainly enjoy ...

(A "Jerusalem" ringtone starts up. And even though we are in a stand where use of telephones is expressly prohibited, the PM takes his mobile phone out of his pocket and looks at the screen.)

PM Better take this. It's Obama.

(OOPMP nonplussed by breach of cricket-watching etiquette.) PM He's the president of the United States.

And, with that, the Great Platitudinarian vacated his seat, never to return. Teasingly, we had invited Osborne along on a three-line whip in the hope that some fresh air and sunshine might improve his pallor. …

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