Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shami Chakrabarti: Did an L of a Job on Tony Blair

Shami Chakrabarti did a good job with Independent reader's questions yesterday. During Tony Blair's valedictory conference speech of 2006 I was sitting in the same row as SC in the overflow room. Later that day she spoke in the bizarre surroundings of the "Library" of Manchester's Freemasons Hall, distinguished by a significant lack of books as it goes, but for the time being we were both listening intently to Mr Blair.

Between us were a pair of middle aged women Blairistas who had brought enough hankies with them to dry the decks of a sinking battleship ... and used most of them. They were hilarious. If there hadn't been witnesses including a top torture watcher they would probably have slapped the backs of my legs and poked my ribs as I failed to clap and cheer at Blair's blithe banter.

There was a capital L on the word Liberty when I sent this letter in to the Guardian and a short second para explaining how there had been a capital L on it when Blair uttered the word. There was one in at least some of the transcripts. And one was clearly audible, and visible in the syntax too.

I have no idea how the press were persuaded to make it lower case.

Any campaigning organisation who can get so up an outgoing Prime Minister's nose that they get a hidden namecheck in his last conference speech as leader is doing a fine job. Shami had really got to him. Well good. Guardian Podcast on influences is here. Above with some self-effacing seamstress.

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