UK

Tony Blair Shows Rare Human Side On Matt Forde's 'Unspun' With Anecdote On German Diplomacy

It's actually a good one.

06/04/2017 12:08 BST | Updated 06/04/2017 16:21 BST

Tony Blair revealed a rare glimpse of his unpolished, personal side on Wednesday with a hilarious revelation about a fatal lapse of diplomacy soon after he became Prime Minister. 

The former premier appeared on ‘Matt Forde’s Unspun’ to recount how a plan to let schoolchildren design ties for EU leaders back in 1998 went awry.

Blair told how a “crazy idea” was adopted when Britain held the Presidency of the Council of Europe, not to let a “very smart designer” create special ties for the visiting dignitaries, but to instead ask children from a school in east London.

The brief was simple, Blair said: 

Design a tie with the representation for each country that they thought of when they thought of the country."

“Can you imagine?” he despaired.

“So anyway, the first I know about it - I know nothing about this tie - I get a call from the Italian Prime Minister.

“‘Hey Tony,’” he says, putting on a bad Italian accent.

“’No possible, no possible. This is the nation of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelanglelo, Verdi, Firenzi, Roma.

“‘And here we are on your tie - quattro stagioni pizza’”

DEA / PRIMA PRESS via Getty Images
A quattro stagioni pizza

The pizza is a popular one among Brits, prepared in four sections with diverse ingredients - each quarter representing a season of the year.

Blair continued: “I’ve apologised, and grovelled, and said we would flog whoever did it and so on, and I put down the phone and a member of staff who was in the room said ‘Prime Minister - you’ve gone white’.

“I said: 

Find out what the hell these kids have done with the representation for the Germans."

Presenter Matt Forde tweeted after filming: