While I have no wish, during this Lenten season, to make windows into men’s souls, I feel we have received so many mixed messages from the High Tory press about our temporal leader’s spiritual faith that I’ve decided not to leave God and Mr Blair to muscle it out between them but to work it out for myself. Is he a Catholic or not? It’s a fair question — not like prodding a chap about freemasonry. If the Supreme Governor of the Anglican Church herself can ask the Way Ahead group to juggle the possibilities of the next king but one marrying a Catholic, then the low heathens running the focus groups in Downing Street should stop being embarrassed about Mr Blair’s proclivities and come clean.
Date of show: May 9 and 11, 2008
On politicians' gaffes.
Step forward anyone who has never made a gaffe. But that very instruction would be a gaffe if you delivered it to an audience of people in wheelchairs. You would be in the same verbal slide-area as President Bush, who instructed a press correspondent to stop hiding behind his dark glasses, and it turned out that the correspondent was clinically blind. But really President Bush is in the same verbal slide-area as us. We all make gaffes when speaking impromptu, and the only remarkable thing is that we don’t do it more often.
If writing remains one of our most cherished modes of communication, then it is because we associate the effort of transcribing words onto paper with a genuine desire for clarity and contact. Often of course, a person's handwriting is ungainly or crabbed, yet we still attribute purpose to its markings. Messages matter to us, and we are seldom blasé when we trip over a phrase in a loved one's postcard and struggle to disentangle the scrawl letter by letter. What we cannot decipher, we gawp at in bemusement.