Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

DON'T Believe IT

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

DON'T Believe IT

Article excerpt

"Blair wrote the speech himself"

Do you remember that advert "The Independent-It is, are you?" It came to my mind the morning of Tony Blair's big Brighton speech, when I read the paper's front-page story telling readers what Blair would say to the nation. Before Gordon Brown had time to milk his applause, a team of Blair spin-doctors burst into the press room to tell the hacks what the great leader would be telling us the next day.

They, like Blair, hadn't bothered to watch Brown's speech. Only Blair matters. When the lobby hacks were told with a straight face that Blair had written the speech himself, there was plenty of tittering among the hardbitten cynics in the room. That did not stop the Independents political editor, Andy Grice, telling his dwindling band of readers the next day as fact: "The Prime Minister wrote the first draft of the speech himself, breaking with his normal practice of seeking drafts from his advisers. …

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