The Telegraph - Blair blames Gates for 'day-dreamer' doodle
By Andrew Sparrow
As Prime Minister, there is no escape from the investigations of Fleet Street's finest. Even a casual doodle by Tony Blair is likely to be examined for what it reveals about his inner thoughts. Except that, it seems, newspapers got the wrong man. Which is what happened last week, when a reporter from the Daily Mirror got hold of notepad jottings from a session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at which Mr Blair appeared on a panel with Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Bono and Thabo Mbeki.
The Mirror obtained an expert analysis and on Friday it published its scoop, claiming that the jottings revealed Mr Blair as "a bit of a daydreamer hoping for the best". It quoted Elaine Quigley, a graphologist, saying: "He is struggling to concentrate and his mind is going everywhere, but he knows he will get to the bottom of the problems in time. That's Teflon Tony. "The most readable of his doodles are the points that he believes will catch the public interest."
The following day The Times, with its own handwriting expert, claimed that the jottings revealed "an aggressive, unstable man who is feeling under enormous pressure". Another newspaper claimed that the scribbling was done by someone who was "not a natural leader". Which was all quite fun for those involved until Downing Street put out a statement yesterday stating that Mr Blair had nothing to do with it.
Instead, the aggressive, distracted incompetent analysed by the experts was Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder who could make a case for being the most successful businessman the world has known. Downing Street went on: "We look forward with amusement to explanations by a variety of psychologists and graphologists of how various characteristics ascribed to the PM on the basis of the doodles, such as 'struggling to concentrate', `not a natural leader', 'struggling to keep control of a confusing world' and 'an unstable man who is feeling under enormous pressure', equally apply to Mr Gates." In a further dig, the statement went on: "We are astonished that no one who ran the story thought to ask No 10 if the doodles were in fact Mr Blair's, particularly as it was obvious to anyone the handwriting was totally different." Last night the experts, who were all asked to comment on the understanding that Mr Blair definitely was the author, were unrepentant. "I find it very strange to think that it was by Bill Gates as it does not seem the sort of thing that he would do," said Mrs Quigley, who had to be assured that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had backed up Downing Street's version of events.
Emma Bache, the graphologist quoted in The Times, emerged with the best record because she said the script showed "marked differences" from Mr Blair's normal writing. She told the paper: "He is feeling very much under pressure so an obsessive-compulsive nature is coming out, the pressure he is putting on the pen is also quite heavy, which is an indication of stress and tension." Yesterday she said: "From the little I know of Bill Gates, it now makes sense." Nina Ashby, a clairvoyant who was reported in another paper as saying the doodles showed that Mr Blair was "not a natural leader", claimed that she had been misquoted.
This article originally appeared in the Daily Telegraph, January 2005.