Monday, March 27, 2006

I have a question ...

I have fond memories of growing of watching the TV show Spitting Image. It was a wonderful satire show that, at its best, was poisonously apt and brilliantly, side-splittingly funny. I'm reminded of this show whenever I'm in a situation where I feel I ought to ask a question, and don't know quite what to say. In 1986, Michael Heseltine resigned from Margaret Thatcher's government over the Westland Affair, essentially an arms-deal-gone-wrong. Heseltine and Thatcher disagreed, rather publicly, and Heseltine resigned. I vividly remember scenes from the Spitting Image treatment of this event. Heseltine is shown at a news conference in front of a crowd of journalists (all, incidentally, pigs in trenchcoats and trilby hats), as he explains that his decision was quite unpremeditated and spontaneous ... as explained in his new book, which he then pulls out from under the desk. Thatcher is shown, in parliament, I think, saying "I have here Mr Heseltine's resignation letter. It reads: 'Dear Michael you're fired, be out of the building in ten minutes'." And finally, I remember the chaotic Q&A session with the journalists, one of whom asks "Mr Heseltine! Mr Heseltine! I don't have a question, but I want my editor to see me so I can claim expenses."

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