'Here today, gone tomorrow' politician walks out of interview with Robin Day

John Nott was the Secretary of State for Defence in Margaret Thatcher's government during the Falkland's war in 1982.

The following year, he announced that he would not be standing for re-election at the next general election - after which he moved on to become chairman and chief executive of a merchant bank.

His immanent departure prompted Robin Day to refer to him during an interview as a "transient here today, if I may say so, gone tomorrow politician".

This prompted Nott to get to his feet, announcing that that that he was "fed up" with the interview - whereupon he took off his microphone and threw it down on the table in front of him.

If that wasn't enough of a high spot, Day's calm response - "Thank you Mr Nott" - was arguably the crowning glory of this remarkable sequence.

Two other points are also worth noting:

1. Nott didn't forget what Day had said
One is that Here Today, Gone Tomorrow resurfaced nearly ten years later as the title of Nott's autobiography.

2. 'Iconic gestures' revisited
The other is that it's another nice example of a gesture coming just before the word(s) to which it relates, as illustrated in an earlier post about the timing of Churchill's iconic gesture in his 'Iron Curtain' speech.

Nott looks away with an irritated expression on his face and starts to stand up before he gets to saying "I'm fed up with this interview" - illustrating again that iconic gestures start before the speaker says the actual words to which they relate.

1 comment:

Dorothea Stuart said...

Presumably Nott remembered Day's words because they rankled at the time. They must have seemed very significant for him to use them as the title of his book though it's not exactly the title of a best seller. Rather like my uncle's book entitled A Very Sheltered Life which has, surprisingly lots of very interesting stories in it!

Getting up looks like spur of the moment petulance. Not really something to be contrasted with Churchill's surely??