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Tony Blair's fountain pen defies the modern world

Perhaps the most interesting and certainly the most endearing thing to emerge from the publicity surrounding the publication of Tony Blair's memoirs was the film clip of him writing out his recollections in longhand using – wait for it! – a fountain pen.

In the book itself he admits that he knew little, if anything, about information technology and had to be given some basic lessons it is by the nerdy David Miliband before meeting Bill Gates. Three cheers for Tony! In this respect at least, if not perhaps in all others, I sense a kindred spirit.

Yet was it not his government which preached incessantly about the importance of us all being "wired up" to the information superhighway lest we all turn into ignorant proles stumbling around in the dark, not to mention transforming many of our schools into something resembling call centres? No doubt there were plenty of bright young things conversant with the new technology in the No 10 office only too keen to keep up with all their leader's emails, but did they not realise they were creating a dangerous prime ministerial dependency culture?

Or did Tony, with his famous easy charm and excellent interpersonal skills even with the likes of the Rev Ian Paisley, secretly harbour doubts about the internet, intuitively seeing it for what it is, a way of making the way we relate to each other more distant, virtual and remote, less personal and human? I think we should be told. Long live fountain pens!

K G Banks, Maidstone, Kent

Belfast Telegraph


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