Friday, July 16, 2004

Words of Clay

Here’s another interesting take on words. By one of Jack Straw’s men in the field this time rather than the great man himself.

At a lunch meeting on Monday, at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi, Edward Clay, British High Commissioner to Kenya, accused that country’s government of a corruption so all-consuming that they had become like overstuffed gluttons vomiting on the people’s shoes. How His Excellency’s allegory went down with the diners is not recorded. The government didn’t think much of it though and one of those famous ‘diplomatic rows’ ensued.

A lull followed until…under growing pressure, Mr Clay, who had been refusing to speak to reporters all day, suddenly issued an apology. He said he regretted causing offence but insisted he stood by the substance of his attack. “I regret if my language offends anybody,” he told Kenyan TV. “But you know the point of language. It’s like the skin of a fruit or a nut. The fruit wants to draw attention to itself and invite people to peel it and then look at the fruit inside and see whether it’s good to eat, whether it agrees with you.”

This is a true story. Trust me, I’m a pistachio.