This entry was posted on
Wednesday, September 27th, 2006 at
9:15 am and is filed
under Page 3 – News in Briefs.
Sure, you could read Teh Speech in full. You may even choose to peruse a leisurely fisk or a slightly more detailed/impassioned one that’s due over at Blair Watch any minute now. You may even take the time to consider that the word ‘performance’ has more than one meaning and/or wonder quietly how well the speech would have fared if every major passage ended with the words; “… and all we had to do was break a few teensy-tiny rules.”
But we all know what really matters is what
Rupert Murdoch Rebekah Wade thinks… and how Rebekah Wade the girl on Page 3 chooses to express that view…
Today Zoe (‘author’ of the most audacious Page 3 editorial of all time) hails Blair’s speech as “simply the best” and says; “What a performance! He showed all the qualities that attracted millions of voters in 1997. It will be very interesting to see whether his departure rebounds on Labour come the next election.”
I’m also repeating today’s extended editorial so it may be preserved for the ages (like Blair’s speech, it’s as bold as brass and has a little bit of everything):
The Sun Says – Labour will miss Blair when the tears have dried: Has Labour gone stark staring mad? It is hard to reach any other conclusion after seeing the party stand and cheer the most successful leader they’ve ever had – the man they’ve forced out of office. In what will go down as the speech of his life, Tony Blair spelled out what he has done for his party – and what they have done to him. He sprinkled his delivery with good jokes – the best about his wife Cherie and the next door neighbour. And he played skilfully on an audience that is fast regretting its act of regicide. Tearful delegates were left in no doubt about their monstrous act of ingratitude. He recalled how Labour spent 18 years in Opposition until he rescued them in 1997 and led them to three “unique” victories. He listed Labour’s subsequent successes – at one point cheekily claiming success over immigration and crime. Some were near tears as he admitted: “You can’t go on forever. I won’t be leading you into the next election.” But he made clear he won’t be bundled out until May – as revealed by The Sun – when he marks “10 years in the hot seat” as Prime Minister. It all had an eerie reminder of 1990, when the Tories brought down their greatest winner Margaret Thatcher after 10 years in power. With that act the Tories sowed the seeds of their own destruction and opened the door for Tony Blair. Yesterday, Gordon Brown applauded as his old friend and rival paid tribute to his “remarkable” contribution to Labour’s long run in power. But that was it. There was no endorsement of Gordon as successor – and no handshake afterwards. Worse, he utterly eclipsed the Chancellor’s own low-key speech the previous day. While Mr Brown was perfectly competent, the PM was the maestro, pitch perfect with lots of funny lines between the serious stuff. In half a dozen searing sentences he tore the Tories and David Cameron to pieces – although Cameron was the only man breathing a sigh of relief yesterday. There were no tears. Tony Blair wasn’t going to give his executioners that pleasure. This was a headmasterly farewell, stern in parts, warm in others. There were swipes at maverick ex-ministers like Clare Short. He compared her to others who “never forgot their principles when in office; and they never discovered them when they left office.” And without a hint of apology, he took them all head-on over the issue that cost him his job – Iraq. He insisted terrorism is not our fault, and denied there was a war against Islam. He even managed to win applause as he reminded them: “Terrorism killed nearly 3,000 people on the streets of New York long before war in Afghanistan or Iraq was even thought of.” The nearest he got to a catch in his voice came as he offered tips on winning a fourth term. They could take his advice or ignore it, he said. “Whatever you do, I’m always with you. Head and heart. Next year I won’t be making this speech.” He continued: “The truth is you can’t go on forever.” But Tony Blair was not telling the full story. He doesn’t want to go. He believes he could have landed them an historic fourth term. So do the weepy delegates who waved placards in the hall pleading with him to stay. Too late now comrades.
UPDATE – Well said, that man…
Independent – An intelligence assessment that gets it right: For Tony Blair to claim, as he did in his speech, the terrorist threat is “not a consequence of foreign policy” on the ground, that terror existed before 9/11 is denying reality to the point of criminal negligence. The British public has just as much right to an accurate assessment of risk and cause as the American public. It should not be deprived of it simply because its Prime Minister wants to avoid shouldering responsibility.