Thursday, February 10, 2005
Tony Blair's grasp on truth
posted by Jonathan Calder |
The first sound of bats flapping in his belfry was heard even before the election, in December 1996, when he told Des O'Connor that as a 14-year-old he had run away to Newcastle airport and boarded a plane for the Bahamas: "I snuck onto the plane, and we were literally about to take off when the stewardess came up to me..."
Quite how he managed this without a boarding card or passport was not explained. It certainly came as a surprise to his father ("The Bahamas? Who said that? Tony? Never"), and an even greater surprise to staff at the airport, who pointed out that there has never been a flight from Newcastle to the Bahamas.
A couple of years later, he told an interviewer that his "teenage hero" was the footballer Jackie Milburn, whom he would watch from the seats behind the goal at St James's Park. In fact, Milburn played his last game for Newcastle United when Blair was just four years old, and there were no seats behind the goal at the time.
Francis Wheen, Guardian, 23 February 2000