This might be useful for more than just the next series of the brilliant QI… you know how Tony Blair said he used to sit behind the goal watching Newcastle footballer Jackie Milburn, except it turned out that Milburn retired when Blair was only 4, and there weren’t seats at St James’s Park at the time? Well, cue Alan Davies…
Yes, it actually turns out that it isn’t true. (If you believe this piece on the Newsnight blog, that is.) He never said it. Yet it has passed into folklore as fact… and I reckon, if you asked people for ‘evidence’ that Blair is a liar, that’ll be the first or second example that springs to many minds. Google reckons it has 1450 pages mentioning both Blair and Milburn – and a quick scan doesn’t reveal many trying to debunk the story. The top two hits are both from the Guardian: the second one declares it to be an urban myth… but sadly, the top one propagates it further.
I particularly like the line from New Statesman editor John Kampfner, in an article on his website reproduced from the Daily Express: ‘Who can forget the Jackie Milburn reminiscences?’ Er, strictly John – who can remember them? When they didn’t actually happen?
Yesterday, Edelman reported that Brits’ trust in politicians has hit rock-bottom. Lower even than media. Well, maybe – just maybe, that’s a bit harsh.