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Steely Response

Years ago, when I was journalist, I interviewed then Liberal Party leader David Steel on his cell phone, or maybe it was his carphone. It doesn’t really matter. The subject was the Liberals’ policy on nuclear weapons. What it was didn’t really matter to many people even then. But at the time it was at the centre of a fierce row within the party. That was why someone gave me the phone number. Mr Steel was not happy to talk to me. He proved evasive when I tried to pin him down as to what exactly party policy was on nuclear weapons. But eventually I thought I’d nailed him. It was only when I looked very very carefully at my notes after the phonecall ended that I realised he’d sold me a body swerve. And of course when I phoned the number again to seek clarification, no-one picked up. I was torn between admiration for his skill in talking but saying nothing and my frustration, not to say disappointment, at being out-foxed.  Steel went up considerably in my estimation but I would never trust him as far as I could throw him. It was a masterful performance. 


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