Heard the one about Blair?

March 18, 2005

It's not often that you see two heavyweights from the same political party disagree on just about everything.

But that is what happened when Labour peers Baroness Kennedy and Lord Giddens took the platform last week in a Times Higher debate at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Lord Giddens, former director of the London School of Economics, and barrister Baroness Kennedy stepped into the ring for the first of our 2005 debates titled "How will history judge..." - in this case Tony Blair.

Baroness Kennedy accused Mr Blair of undermining the rule of law, damaging democracy and, if that wasn't bad enough, being a Tory: "Tony Blair thinks the only way to be a Labour Government is to be Conservative."

Lord Giddens said: "We are in the same party but I don't think I have been on a platform with someone I disagree with so much."

He listed government successes such as low unemployment and tackling child poverty, before turning to humour.

The joke that brought unanimous laughter for the protagonists and audience alike was his gag that had George W. Bush asking a waitress for a "quickie" until an aide whispered in his ear: "That's pronounced 'quiche', Mr President".

"How will history judge Lord Nelson" is on April 14 with Andrew Lambert and June Purvis. Tickets: £5 and £3 (concessions) from 0207 306 0055 ext 216 or the NPG ticket desk.

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