Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Within hours of the death of Princess Diana British Prime Minister Tony Blair became the Nation's principal mourner, addressing the media from his Sedgefield constituency; whether it was he or one of his speech writers (or Julie Burchill, for that matter) who first coined it, Blair popularized the phrase 'The People's Princess' when referring to Princess Diana, a moniker that has stuck in the years since her death. Fortunately, for all concerned, Cherie Booth Blair - his satchel-mouthed republican wife - managed to keep her fat gob shut during the ensuing crisis, although she likely did so out of fear for being borne to the Tower of London on a tumbrel (a la Marie Antoinette) rather than out of compassion for anyone who deigned to be royal.
Ironically this low-point in the life of the world would prove to be the height of Blair's personal popularity... Although he was subsequently re-elected twice, his critics grew increasingly savage as Blair's Presidential style and friendship with George W. Bush came to rankle more and more of the electorate; only a perfectly understandable collective loathing for the Tories and their leadership seemed to keep him in office. Although Blair was right to involve Britain in the mess in Iraq (since Britain had caused much of the turmoil in the region owing to a League of Nations mandate following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1920) he never managed to successfully convey this responsibility to the public.
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