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11 Mar 12 | Re: Statesman's explanation

I’ve just been thinking back to what Tony Blair said around the time he stopped being prime minister. He was widely reported as saying “I did what I thought was right.”

It’s only now struck me what a weapons-grade example this is of how shades of meaning can colour a phrase. “I did what I thought was right.” Well that’s great. You had sound principles, you are a moral man, you had everyone’s best interests at heart, you had the conviction to act on your strong sense of what ought to be done.

But there are other ways to express that concept. One is: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” If anyone can tell me exactly how “I did what I thought was right” and “It seemed like a good idea at the time” differ in the bald meaning of the words, I’d be quite interested; but I don’t think they really do. Yet I don’t suppose Mr Blair would be so keen to tell the Iraqis that he followed George Bush on his dictator-whackin’ jaunt through their country for the same reason that one might eat old peanuts out of the sofa.

Posted by SQUEALER at 14:36

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