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04 Feb 2013

Benevolent Dictatorship?

I’m reading A Walk-On Part, the volume of Chris Mullin’s diaries that covers Tony Blair’s becoming Leader of the Labour Party and later Prime Minister. I’ve just reached the 1997 general election, that memorable morning-after when people asked each other, ‘Did you stay up for Portillo?’

Chris Mullin’s constituency was Sunderland, which for some reason is always the first to declare its result. On this occasion they shaved ten minutes off their previous record. ‘For about twenty minutes,’ he observes, ‘I was the only MP in the country. I could have formed my own government.’

You can’t help feeling that things would have been very different if he had.

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