Even Tony Blair’s biggest enemies have got to admire his willingness to sit in a studio full of publicity-hungry voters and patiently engage with their rants. My head would explode with frustration after five minutes of listening to inarticulate, ignorant, and illogical challenges, but he keeps on doing it. The bigger a fight he has on his hands the more willing he is to stand on a stage and invite passers-by to take a swing at his jaw. Yesterday on BBC Radio 1, with the courage of the King of Pop on his way to give a concert, he even exposed himself to Britain’s young people.
The questions from the punters were not quite as stupid as I had expected, but one of the young female presenter’s squeaky interjections was crass beyond belief. Addressing a girl whose accent sounded to my ears more Asian than Arab (not that that matters much), she said:
“You’re Muslim. How did the Iraq war make you feel?”
Cambridgeshire radio stations have recently been running an advertising campaign to get listeners interested in the County Council elections (which will take place on the same day as the General Election this year). The slogan at the end of each ad slot says “It’s not about politics; it’s about you“. The question I quote above was the ideal way to introduce the issue of Iraq because, after all, most of the debate about it hasn’t been about the lives of Iraqis, the morality of military intervention, and the future of the Middle East and the wider world; it’s been about how people living in the rich, secure West feel.