Tuesday, December 04, 2007
A 'Hazel Blears' for the purposes of my argument is the evasion of a question, typically on television or radio news. All politicians do this; normally one simply pays no attention. But a Blears evasion, for some reason, always catches my attention. Given that the whole point of evading a question is not to appear to be doing so, we are left with a curious paradox - Hazel Blears is really bad at doing a 'Hazel Blears'. Now, obviously, this brings me to the appearance of Lewis Hamilton on Top Gear. Clarko - nobody calls him that, but I do now - asked Hamilton about the season-long attempt by his team mate Fernando Alonso to destroy his career. Hamilton, naturally, did a 'Hazel Blears' and, here's the thing, he did it really well. In fact, he did it in the manner of Tony 'Come back, all is forgiven' Blair - a denial accompanied by a little laugh to indicate the denial was meaningless. Noticing this, I suddenly realised that this Hamilton boy is a player. Formula 1 drivers are usually as inhibited as business cards - and for the same reasons - but Hamilton was amazingly self-possessed. And then he did something that raised him in my estimation yet further. Clarko asked him what car he drove and he said some rather boring Mercedes diesel because it's all you need 'on the road'. That 'on the road' was a killer. It undermined at least 70 per cent of what Top Gear does by indicating that, to Hamilton, 'car' means a Formula 1 car, everything else is just a mode of transport. The abyss that opened up was deepened in the same show when Renault let Richard Hammond - Hammo? Not quite. - drive their F1 machine. He couldn't do it, in spite of the fact that he now has a haircut that makes him six inches taller. Anyway, Lewis Hamilton - I won't hear a word said against him.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:36 am