Thursday, February 03, 2005

Missed connections

Listening to the Today interview with NATO’s secretary general this morning I realised that it was a Dutchman and not George Robertson any more.

It reminded me of my one and only moment with Robertson, who before joining NATO had been Britain’s defence minister.

It was about two years ago and I had just been watching my MP’s performance at oral questions on the Parliamentary channel. He had come in to ask a question about agricultural subsidies, I think.

Moments later I got a phone call. Robertson’s burr reverberated through the earpiece as he enthusiastically told me to congratulate my boss on an excellent speech. He had never heard anything like it before.

Oh, OK, thanks, I answered, a little bemused. And what was he talking about? I asked. Silence followed at the other end. Eventually he responded. Who was he talking to?

You’ve come through to the Lib Dem research centre, I said, and you’re talking to the agriculture researcher. Are you referring to the debate on farm reform which we’ve just been speaking on?

Sorry, wrong number was the reply, followed by a dead line.

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