The affable Lord Giddens showed a steely side when he put one foreign journalist in her place recently. During an evening event organised by the Foreign Press Association, just off London's Mall, he gave a talk about new Labour, which was followed by questions from the floor.
One possibly right-leaning journalist from an unnamed north European country ventured a precis of Third Way politics and made the mistake of saying that it was all about stripping back public services.
Lord Giddens saw red and told her to take the remark back because social democracy was about quite the opposite. Fearing that he knew more about their countries than they did, the other journalists were less adventurous with their questions. One Dutch hack asked: "So, you and Tony, you phone each other much?"