Over the time he was Prime Minister, much about Tony Blair irritated me: the regular use of “y’know”, the idea that his integrity, like Caesar’s wife, was beyond reproach (every politician tells the odd porkie, even if only by accident), and ultimately his almost messianic belief that the so-called WMDs in Iraq would be found, despite their not existing.
And then there was the pronunciation. Blair attended Fettes College – aka “Eton in a kilt” – but he was leader of Labour, supposedly a party of the ordinary folk. So, consciously or otherwise, his speech became “ordinary”. It might not have registered on most folks’ radar, but it irritated the heck out of me, so much so that I recognise anything similar very readily.
So it was that the alarm bells sounded yesterday while I was watching coverage of the Pre-Budget Report. And it wasn’t anything coming from the Government side, but the response by the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet. He was starting to sound like Blair, and less like his old self. Why should that be?
Perhaps the talk from the Labour side about their background is getting to some in the Shadow Cabinet. From Osborne, who, as I said a while back, I found instantly dislikeable, one can understand it. After all, when the accusations of privilege and never having had a “proper” job get thrown, he doesn’t have any means of countering them.
Hopefully the rest of Young Dave’s team will not follow suit: Cameron himself won’t go in for any of that, and one reminder of Tony Blair’s attempt to sound “ordinary” is quite enough.