Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

"Firefighters Can't Win". (Don't Believe It)

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

"Firefighters Can't Win". (Don't Believe It)

Article excerpt

Tony Blair's response to his government's bungling of the firefighters' dispute was typical new Labour. He called a press conference. Even the Speaker couldn't stomach this and made Blair go to the House of Commons to explain himself.

Whatever you think about Blair, he is a very good performer in front of the camera, and could easily have become an actor instead of a politician. For a few seconds, even I began to believe what he was saying. The performance has been spun as appealing "over the heads" of the FBU leadership. Blair can't bring himself to admit that Andy Gilchrist actually represents the firefighters because that would mean admitting just how out of touch he is with working people.

The Prime Minister's problem, however, is that because he is acting, he litters his performance with inaccuracies. He claimed that the firefighters went on strike in 1977 to win a pay formula -- which they didn't. …

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