How do you bamboozle Tony Blair? Just ask William Hague. Yesterday, the former Secretary of State was in the City giving a speech at a breakfast arranged by motivational speaker organisation JLA. He let on his secrets on how he would confuse a seemingly unflappable Blair during PMQs when Tory leader (remember that 1997-2001). Blair, Hague said used to arrive in the Commons without notes but a few rounds of tough debate led to him changing his tack. “After about six weeks…he came out with these big folders that had the answers to every subject you could imagine in the alphabet; from aardvark to zoology, he could show you killed more aardvarks than he did when you were in office or you shut more zoo, and all subjects in between.”
Hague adapted accordingly, and also tried a clairvoyant approach called “the deep minefield.” ‘This takes a couple of years to work out,” he recalled. “You ask a question where nobody can work out why you’re asking it. And you may have your doubts. But you’re just sewing a minefield for the future…Then you sit back and think you know something nobody else knows – even though you don’t, of course, and you wait. Sometimes you wait for about a year and a half and a minister breaks the code of conduct and the bomb explodes. It was always Peter Mandelson in my time.” Oh Mandy.