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When Eddie Mair met Amber Rudd

Posted by Simon Parke, 05 October 2017, 6.14pm

Recently, journalist Eddie Mair interviewed Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Radio 4.

Here’s how it went.

Mair: “Do you think people want Bernard Manning as Foreign Secretary?”

Rudd: “I don’t quite agree with that approach. I think the Foreign Secretary has an important job to do, and he’ll be getting on with doing it.”

Mair: ″I want to ask you about Theresa May’s judgement in appointing and keeping Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. As you know, he said last night the Libyan city Sirte could be the new Dubai, adding ‘all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away’. He hasn’t apologised, why doesn’t she sack him?”

Rudd: “The Prime minister can appoint her own Cabinet. We know that. Boris has set out his further explanation of why ...”

Mair:  “No, he hasn’t. He has merely criticised the critics.”

Rudd: “He has set out his view on the situation on Sirte, he has expanded on it.”

Mair: “He said it’s a shame people who have no idea about Libya want to play politics.”

Rudd: “I think he said a bit more than that.”

Mair:  “Well, I can read the rest of the quote, but he has not apologised for it.”

Rudd: “I didn’t suggest he had, that was your phrase. I’m not going to be drawn further down the Boris vortex, Eddie, but I’m very happy to discuss anything else on the speech and policies that I think are really relevant to people at home.”

Though Rudd now attempts to move the conversation on, Mair returns to whether May was right to appoint Johnson in the first place.

Mair: “When she appointed him, she knew he had published a poem about the Turkish Prime Minister having sex with a goat.
She knew he described President Obama as part-Kenyan.
She knew he referred to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief killing.
She knew he talked of tribal warriors in Congo breaking out in watermelon smiles.
And she knew he said Liverpool had failed to acknowledge the role - what he called - ‘drunken fans played in the Hillsborough disaster’.
I suggest to you the reason why Theresa May doesn’t sack him is because she fears a leadership challenge.
She’s prepared to send Boris Johnson out to represent the United Kingdom across the world because she wants to protect her own job.”

Rudd: “Well, those are your view Eddie ...”

Mair: “I’m suggesting it to you, what do you think?”

Rudd: “I think that Boris Johnson does a great job as Foreign Secretary in many ways. I know he has a colourful way of expressing things sometimes.”

Mair: “Colourful ...”

Rudd: “And the comments sometimes ... if other people can get upset by, are sometimes, I agree, ill-judged. But I don’t think we should condemn him from one particular issue that he might have attacked inappropriately.

Amber Rudd is dying a death with every reply, this is evident.

But my particular interest in this brilliant interview is where Mair gets to in the end.

That here is a Prime Minister turning a very blind eye to a great deal, in order to protect her self.

I sense the crucifying truth here.

And I feel the force of this appalling narrative not merely on a political level – bad enough - but on a more personal level, because I meet so many victims of such (parental/work place) behaviour.

Though perhaps most of all, and most unsettling, because I know such behaviour in myself in my past.

The blind eye turned to protect my self.

Remarkable and truthful work, Eddie. Thank you.

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