That ‘big conversation’, unplugged….

Just in case you missed it, that conversation between Blair and Bush. In one unguarded moment, you get more of a handle on how these two relate and think that from weeks of earnest journalism from set piece media events. One reason why blogging will continue to challenge ‘the usual channels’.

BUSH Yo, Blair. How are you doin’?
BLAIR I’m just . . .
BUSH You’re leaving?
BLAIR No, no, no, not yet. On this trade thingy . . .(inaudible)
BUSH Yeah, I told that to the man. Thanks for the sweater it’s awfully thoughtful of you.
BLAIR It’s a pleasure.
BUSH I know you picked it out yourself.
BLAIR Absolutely (inaudible).
BUSH What about Kofi? (inaudible) His attitude to ceasefire and everything else . . . happens.
BLAIR Yeah, no I think the (inaudible) is really difficult. We can’t stop this unless you get this international business agreed.
BUSH Yeah.
BLAIR I don’t know what you guys have talked about, but as I say I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is, but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral.
BUSH I think Condi is going to go pretty soon.
BLAIR But that’s, that’s, that’s all that matters. But if you . . . you see it will take some time to get that together.
BUSH Yeah, yeah.
BLAIR But at least it gives people . . .
BUSH It’s a process, I agree. I told her your offer to . . .
BLAIR Well, it’s only if, I mean, you know. If she’s got a, or if she needs the ground prepared, as it were. Because obviously if she goes out, she’s got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk.
BUSH You see, the thing is, what they need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over. (inaudible)
BLAIR Syria.
BUSH Why?
BLAIR Because I think this is all part of the same thing.
BUSH Yeah.
BLAIR What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way . . .
BUSH Yeah, yeah, he is sweet.
BLAIR He is honey. And that’s what the whole thing is about. It’s the same with Iraq.
BUSH I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to Assad and make something happen.
BLAIR Yeah.
BUSH We are not blaming the Lebanese Government.
BLAIR Is this . . .? (he taps the microphone in front of him and the sound is cut.)

  • Stephen Copeland

    My god, but they are woefully inarticulate people!

  • eranu

    “Yo blair” !!! laughed my socks off when i heard it last night 🙂

  • YouTube have a clip from CNN about the conversation.

    So what’s this one to be called? Shitgate?

  • Ziznivy

    Does no-one suspect that this off-the-cuff salt-of-the-earth “guys” discussion may not have been as accidentally caught as it at first appears?

  • smcgiff

    ‘My god, but they are woefully inarticulate people!’

    It’s a bad sign when Bush is more articulate than Blair, although Blair may have been more worried about the possibility of the open mike before he acted.

    Did momma Bush never tell G Jr not to talk with his mouth full! :¬)

  • Mick Fealty

    Z, that did occur to me on my first listening to it. In which case, the question is cui bono?

  • mickhall

    I find this conversation almost terrifying if true, firstly there is the arrogance and contempt of Bush for Blair. Bush sits there gobbling his food like a pig, he has such contempt for Blair he does not even pause whilst the two men are talking. [or perhaps he just has no manners, after his dad was known to sick up at the dinner table 😉

    Also he seems to have no understanding of how movements like hizbullah operate, having been a yes man all his life he seems to feel if the US pressurizes Iran then they will order Hizbullah to role over. Syria tried this with Amal and thus Hizbullah was created.

    Whether they new the mic was on who knows, but what is clear is Blair is far to close to this President, as the relationship is clearly not one of equals not even of respect for Blair acts more like the man’s ambassador/advisor. Ask yourself, would you not pause from gobbling your food when your best mate came around for a chat.

  • pid

    I think they were caught out and it wasn’t a set up.

    My main impression is of the substantial gap between what the commentators think is the politics of it, and how Bush and Blair see it.

    And there’s no reason I can think of to suspect that the gap is narrower in our own little conflict.

    I suppose we can all buy the politicians’ memoirs.

  • Nestor Makhno

    I’ve overheard more articulate and thoughtful conversations on the Middle East crisis in the Pavilion Bar than this!

    It’s scary – Bush’s seeming complete lack of nuance or interest in the topic- but what’s worse is Blair.

    My god, has this, no doubt, intelligent man been put under some sort of mind control by the US government? Can’t he see how much he is being used and abused by Bush and his cronies for so little return?

  • nmc

    I didn’t like the degree of contempt offered by both men to the idea of a ceasefire mentioned by Kofi Annan. They seemed to be suggesting that a ceasefire without some kind of benefit wasn’t a good enough idea, they needed to turn the thing to their advantage.

  • Whilst assorted commentators tend to characterise Blair as Bush’s poodle, it is quite clear from watching this that Bush considers Blair as his bitch.

  • GrassyNoel

    LOL…What a couple of prats.

    What a pair of total, utter and complete clowns. They’re a comedy act. You know, I’m going to miss the two of them and their little ‘oh no, honestly, we’re bestest buddies, really we are’ routine after they’re gone. I genuinely am.

    Quality.

  • mickhall

    They seemed to be suggesting that a ceasefire without some kind of benefit wasn’t a good enough idea, they needed to turn the thing to their advantage.

    Posted by nmc

    nmc

    You make such an astute point, [above] which I am sure will not be lost on the arabs. How can the USA act as independent brokers in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when its President thinks off camera like this.

  • Nic

    Did no-one (want to) pick up on the bit where Bush said Annan is “screwed”, Blair says “he’s finished” and then continues with “What does he think?”…
    Hmmm.

    Other than that, it’s just Blair sucking up looking for a gig as peacemaker in the middle east and Bush basically dismissing him with “Condis going over”.
    The rest came as Blair didn’t take the hint.

    Blair needs an international gig to launch him into retirement, it seems…

    Interesting also that Blair has to use a public photo-op (a sort of political doorstopping) to pitch his script to Bush.

    How the mighty have fallen, eh?

  • Resolve

    Another point is the way it has been reported in the US mainstream media… thrown in as a comedy extra at the end of news programs, the biggest thing of note was the President’s use of the word “shit”… my God…

  • Rory

    Those who think that the big problem is that Blair and Bush are ‘inarticulate’ would do well to listen to a recording of their own private conversations.

    Besides which a Lebanese leader and an Israeli leader conversing in the most meticulously articulate nuances in either Arabic or Hebrew might prove to be even more ‘inarticulate’ to those same critics.

    All is in the tone of what is said and what the mind fills in during the little silences.

    Do wake up at the back!

  • dodrade

    It seems Bush’s folksy kitsch isn’t an act, he really is that thick.

  • skinbop

    wonder what maggie thatcher would have done in the same position?

  • Patty

    Is anybody interested in an American’s point of view?

    1. Bush is disgusting chewing with his mouth open. I find this the oddest thing about this video. Grown men rarely chew and talk with their mouth open like this (even in Texas).

    2. I don’t see any of the “Blair is Bush’s poodle” body language that the British press is reporting.
    He sounds and acts just like a man from Texas who enjoys the company of Blair. I think his strut really is just his walk. (Conversely, just because a Brit is quiet and deferential in conversation doesn’t mean he/she is a push-over.)

    3. I think it is in our self-interest, our self-defense, that we support Israel against Hizb’ Allah. THey are financed by Iran, and promote Radical Islam which attacked us on our shores through Al Queda.

  • MarkoBrando

    “I think it is in our self-interest, our self-defense, that we support Israel against Hizb’ Allah. THey are financed by Iran, and promote Radical Islam which attacked us on our shores through Al Queda.”

    Patty, how can you justify bombing a civilian population? To any muslim spectator this is just another case of the west in cahoots with Israel and it strengthens their idea that Israel can do what they want and will be backed unconditionally by the US.
    Israel’s actions may well radicalise many more people in the area, and strengthen Hezbollah. And as more people in the middle east become radicalised, the threat of more 9/11’s in the west becomes bigger.
    So in my opinion blindly supporting Israel is in no ones self-interest or self-defense.