I do. I think it's a very pertinent question and I think probably the observation you're making is a fair one.
I mean, look, you asked me whether I was happy or unhappy in the run-up to the 1997 election. Now, I was a fully paid-up member of and integral part of Labour's strategy, but there would be some areas of policy where, you know, I'd be less comfortable. Europe was one of them. Not that we were abandoning our pro-European policies and credentials but the way in which they were being presented, the concessions in rhetoric -- I would say the same, to be honest, about myself in relation to policies to do with immigration or crime and law and order. You know, I was -- I tended to be more on the liberal side of these things. It didn't mean to say that I didn't fully support the party's policies; of course I did, and I fully understood the need to do what you could to bring the media with you, including, and notably, News International. But it can make you a bit queasy because all of us as individuals have slightly different leanings one way or another. On Europe, my leaning was obviously pro, and in other areas of policy I had slightly different emphases or leanings or whatever. So there will be times when you're feeling a bit queasy.
I don't happen to like invoking patriotic language very much. I don't like running up the Union Jack and, you know, getting everyone to dance around it in what I would regard as a rather sort of phoney jingoistic way.
So we all have our preferences, but I think also -- look, what I was concerned about also over this whole Europe business before 1997 was not whether we were pro or anti Europe or that I was pro and the party was pro, or even whether it was necessary or not to manage Mr Murdoch. Of course it was. But I didn't want Mr Blair to say or do anything that might appear weak or pandering, because that might lead to a wider judgment by the public of him. I didn't want him to say or do anything that might lead people to infer that he was under some obligation to Mr Murdoch or any other proprietor. I didn't think that that was wise or healthy from a wider political and electoral point of view.
I suppose if I was being honest too, I'd say that it was attaching too much importance to them. It was making them feel more important than they were entitled to feel, and I didn't think that was terribly healthy either. If you don't want press proprietors to sort of go around, you know, sort of feeling that they're ever so regal, they be don't treat them regally. I mean, you could hardly blame proprietors for feeling rather grand and important if that's the way that politicians behave towards them, and I think that's been the case over decades and generations. I don't think it's going to happen very much in the future, incidentally, but we'll see, or less so in the future. And I think that's very good, both from the point of view of the proprietors and the politicians, frankly.