Did anyone tell you about the day when Tony Blair was visiting a primary school in England, and was taken into the room of a class discussing words and their meanings? The teacher asked Blair whether he would care to lead a discussion on the word “tragedy”, so he asked the class to give him an example.
A little boy stood up, and said, “If my best friend, who lives on a farm, was playing in the field, and a tractor ran over him, and killed him, that would be a tragedy.”
“No,” said Blair, “that wouldn’t be a tragedy; that would be an accident.”
A little girl raised her hand: “If the school bus had 50 boys and girls in it, and it drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy.”
“I’m afraid not,” explained Blair. “That is what we would call a great loss.”
The room went silent. No child volunteered.
Blair’s eyes searched the room. “Can no one here give me an example of a tragedy?”
At the back of the room, a little hand went up, and a quiet voice said, “If a plane carrying you and Mr Brown was struck by friendly fire and blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy.”
“Magnificent!” exclaimed Blair. “That’s right! And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?”
“Well,” said the quiet voice, “it has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn’t be a great loss, and it probably wouldn’t be an accident.”
I kissed a girl in the club and she said: “Oh my goodness, you’ve been smoking. It’s just like licking an ashtray!”
“You non-smokers have some funny habits,” I replied. After an altercation with my boss, I decided to leave my job at the helium factory.
I refuse to be spoken to in that tone of voice. Fidel Castro was a cigar-smoking, repressive leader who hated free speech and a free press.
Donald Trump, in comparison, doesn’t smoke.