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Bush, Blair and respect

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 15 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 15 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 15 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

I was dismayed to read of Tony Blair being harassed by a member of The Wright Stuff audience on Five.

This is becoming almost a common occurrence — the hostile and cynical TV audience who haven’t a good word to say about anything the Prime Minister does.

I was at the inauguration of President Bush in Washington in January, and the contrast could not be starker. Some 265,000 people on the National Mall saw his swearing in and there was no booing, no slow hand-claps, no irate members of the general public demanding to have their say.

Americans, whether Democrat, Green or Republican, respect the office of the President and the scenes on The Wright Stuff would simply be unthinkable in the US, a nation that falls in line behind its President.

My question for Des Brown: Are you suggesting that challenging the leader in an open forum is a bad thing?

I didn’t see The Wright Stuff, but I did see Talk to the Prime Minister, and I have to say that it did occur to me that the programme was anything but balanced in terms of the selection of speakers. Just a few years ago, this would have been unthinkable – there would doubtless have been comparatively little criticism of the PM.

Yes, we should respect the office of Prime Minister, and perhaps we don’t do this enough. But we shouldn’t end up in an American situation, where to criticise the incumbent President is seen by a large sector of society as unpatriotic criticism of the country as a whole.

I think we are priveledged to be able to broadcast programmes like this, where we see the PM defend himself against the criticisms of the masses, and I think that this should, for the large part, be celebrated, not criticised.

This 375th post was filed under: News and Comment.

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