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Holland Park Press

Did Tony drink too much?

4 September 2010 Zie Nederlandse versie
by Arnold Jansen op de Haar

This is the question I pondered upon this week. Tony Blair mentioned in his autobiography that when he was Prime Minister he drank a stiff whisky or a gin & tonic before dinner. Followed by a few glasses of wine at dinner, or maybe half a bottle, Tony admitted. ‘So not excessively excessive’, he concluded. I think it must have been just that little bit more. It makes Tony human.

Specifying the amount you drink in your autobiography does resemble answering your doctor when he asks you about your daily intake; you are economical with the truth. Well, that’s what I do. To my doctor I say, just like Tony, ‘a few glasses of wine,’ and I am not even married to Cherie. ‘But never before five o’clock in the afternoon, doctor.’

My doctor always adds a few glasses and answers with a smile that a whole bottle is a bit too much but understands that without it I can’t get anything done.

We therefore can conclude that during his time as Prime Minister Tony was drinking at least two glasses of whisky filled to the brim plus a bottle of wine. With practise this is exactly the right amount to start feeling relaxed without getting drunk, and Cherie becomes all of a sudden a supermodel. That is why Sarkozy drinks very little. If I were David Cameron I wouldn’t drink at all.

Such an autobiography may well cause people at home to look at their wife and merrily fill another glass uttering: ‘Tony does the same.’ During the interview with Andrew Marr it looked as if he has recently taken to drinking in the mornings.

In any case, the English drink more than the Dutch. Well, at least during daytime. Look around at airports. The Dutch kill the time waiting for their flight with a cup of coffee. The English drink a couple of pints. In The Netherlands nothing but coffee is served during the interval of a matinee. In England they are more likely to run out of white wine. Well admit it: which nation has more fun?

People who operate under pressure need something to relax. Bill Clinton engages an intern and Tony hugs a bottle, whereas George Michael smokes a joint while driving his car into a London shop front.

It is a known fact that members of the Dutch Royal Family are heavy smokers and drinkers. I look at them with different eyes since I heard about this habit. A tipsy Queen Beatrix wolf-whistling at a footman, what a wonderful sight! And Princess Máxima smoking a cigar is, I think, extremely sexy.

All around the western world governments threaten to increase the duty on alcoholic drinks. I hope Her Majesty finds a way to prevent this, for utterly selfish reasons, of course. Without the use of intoxicating substances, a lot of art wouldn’t see the light of day.

This week, pension funds complained that people are getting too old. Well, lowering the tax on certain goods will quickly sort out this problem.

Politicians in English-speaking countries write their memoirs. This isn’t the custom in The Netherlands, although it just so happens that a biography of Geert Wilders has been published this week. He seems to be very popular with women.

According to his biographer, Meindert Fennema, ‘his forced isolation works like a magnet’. He suggests that female interns, journalists, and MPs are boiled over by him. Geert Wilders acting like a magnet. Things shouldn’t get more back to front.

I am confined to my flat, in a self selected solitude. Whilst opening a bottle of wine I say to myself: ‘I must be an enormous magnet.’ I have to arrange things so that women fall over themselves to rescue me. This is just a small beginning. Next up: the autobiography.
 
© Arnold Jansen op de Haar
© Translation Holland Park Press
 
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