Monday, October 16, 2006

blind in more ways than one

Sorry, I know I've not posted much recently - have been short on time and lax; Natalia tells me, however, that she is getting sick of seeing my Lemonheads post every time she checks the blog, and I am scared of her; so in the absence of time I'll try to get a few links and quotes and things up in the next couple of days, as well as some excellent postage from Dan.

First off, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading David Blunkett's diary stuff again recently, mainly because it's such a refreshing change to hear a Labour politician doing something other than just sounding off about Muslims (the Labour Party appears to feel much the same way about Muslims as the Tories do about foxes). Blunkett actually comes across as rather likeable in a way and yet deeply flawed, a kind of, as Sam Wollaston points out, Lear figure.

One scene stands out. We're in 1998 and Blunkett, then education secretary, has been having a go at incompetent teachers and trying to improve standards of numeracy. We see a clip of him being interviewed by a reporter.

"Do you know your times table?" she asks.

"I do know my times table," he replies, confidently. "I had to learn it rote fashion when I was a child. And it stayed with me ever since. So 'seven sevens are 49' comes quite naturally."

"And nine eights?"

"Nine eights ... [there's a little pause] ... nine eights ... [big laugh] ... nine eights ... [another laugh] ... 72."

He gets there eventually. But to anyone watching, this is a man desperately procrastinating and trying to fill in time, any way he can, while he works out what nine times eight is. He's probably doing it on his fingers, out of sight of the camera.

Then we hear his diary entry: "An ITN reporter asked me what nine times eight were. Fortunately, I was able to give an immediate and accurate answer." It may seem like a small thing, but I think it's important. It shows that The Blunkett Tapes are very much The Blunkett Takes and someone else may see the same events in a very different way (he edited them, too - it would be interesting for someone else to go through the material to see what they came up with). The funny thing is, I think he could listen to that news interview again and still maintain that he gave an "an immediate and accurate answer" - because he comes over as someone who never considers he may be wrong about something, who is unable to see his own weaknesses, who is blind in more ways than one.


Natalia Ulla said...

I am not scaaaaaaary!

And next time you write my name, would you please put a link to my blog, you pillock!

Politics are boring- for those who don't understand them (I.e. me)

Natster (Ah, it's cold)

Natalia Ulla said...

Thaaaaaaaaat's better.

Cheers for the linkie!