wtf: did Tony Blair plagiarize ‘The Queen’?
Former British prime minister Tony Blair has written a memoir. Perhaps you’ve heard that Blair was greeted with thrown shoes and pelted eggs at his first public signing of the book in Dublin. (He subsequently canceled a signing and the book launch party in London.) But Peter Morgan, screenwriter of the brilliant film The Queen — about the tumultuous time when Blair was new in office and had to navigate a tricky relationship with the royal family in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death — has hurled another rotten tomato. From the Telegraph:
In A Journey, Blair claims that the Queen said to him: “You are my 10th prime minister. The first was Winston. That was before you were born.” In Morgan’s script to the 2006 film The Queen, Mirren, in the title role, tells Michael Sheen’s Blair: “You are my 10th prime minister, Mr Blair. My first was Winston Churchill.” Morgan tells me: “I wish I could pretend that I had inside knowledge, but I made up those lines. No minutes are taken of meetings between prime ministers and monarchs and the convention is that no one ever speaks about them, so I didn’t even attempt to find out what had been said.
“There are three possibilities. The first is I guessed absolutely perfectly, which is highly unlikely; the second is Blair decided to endorse what I imagined as the official line; and the third is that he had one gin and tonic too many and confused the scene in the film with what had actually happened, and this I find amusing because he always insisted he had never even seen it.”
Is it simply an inescapable part of a politician’s makeup that he cannot help but lie when the truth would be more interesting? I mean, whatever the Queen said to Blair, no matter how banal it was, would be interesting: in fact, the more banal it was, the more interesting it would be, just for the Queen being so banal. Am I wrong?
I tell ya what, though: It makes me want to watch The Queen again. Can we elect Michael Sheen to Downing Street? Cuz he’s a great prime minister. Not like that Blair guy was.
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