The top of the morning…

Molière, Blair: not to be confused

I tune in France Inter to hear the unwelcome voice of Tony Blair, ignoring Wodehouse*, speaking French. One is very pleased by the poverty of his accent. Nevertheless, Blair is now firmly out of the closet as an aspiring francophone and his vanity and the thirst of French television producers for the absurd suggest that this is a distressing foretaste of future Blairite discourses in the tongue of Molière.

Update, 18 December: Alastair Campbell was plugging his book on Ce soir ou jamais (FR3) last night and I am furious to admit that his French was excellent, fluent if sometimes approximative, and much more cromulent than that of his erstwhile boss. Campbell is as slippery in French as he is in English. 

Conspiracy theorists will feast on Irwin Stelzer’s splash in The Sunday Times which was a glorious salvo at Gordon Brown. Presumably the days of intimate tête-à-tête between Gordon and Irwin are now over. I take this piece as affirmation that the affair between Rupert Murdoch and Gordon Brown is certainly over. It is unusual if not unprecedented for Irwin’s name to go on a splash. The link above does not do justice to the dramatic treatment on the printed page:

Normally this is the sort of material Irwin might confide to Rupert over dinner so to share it with the rest of us is bound to have some significance, to those of a high enough pay grade to appreciate it.

There is return fire from the Treasury in The Telegraph.

The sting of Irwin’s piece is that Gordon and Darling are paralysed by the bank/banking crisis and the Bank’s advice for an exit from the crisis is ignored. The Telegraph/Treasury says that Mervyn King lost the plot and has landed everyone in a fine mess. Either way, nobody is forecasting that it will be five more years for the governor. I think they should put Irwin in charge, provided he stops taking orders from Murdoch.


* Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.

-The Luck of the Bodkins, 1935