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’”
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’.
Find out what the hell these kids have done with the representation for the Germans."
Presenter Matt Forde tweeted after filming: