Tony Blair has revealed how growing up in Scotland shaped his life and how he spoke with a Scottish accent in his youth.
The former prime minister, who was born in Edinburgh, said: “When I was much younger, I had a slight Scottish accent, but it kind of went over time. Glasgow was very much a part of how we were growing up.
“My grandfather, who was actually my step-grandfather, was a butcher in Glasgow. He lived in Stepps and we used to go down to the meat market. He had lost part of his leg earlier in his life, so he walked with a stick and I always remember him tapping on the carcasses of the cows to see which he felt were sound, and which weren’t.”
Mr Blair’s father, Leo, grew up in Govan and was secretary of the Scottish Young Communist League in his youth. He would later become a barrister and send Tony to private boarding school Fettes College in Edinburgh.
Mr Blair, who won three general elections as Labour leader, said of his father: “He was one of the very few people I’ve ever come across, in fact the only person I’ve ever come across, who came out of the Second World War, having gone in a socialist, came out a Conservative, and also an officer.
“He then went to university, so for him he was always determined, that if he could possibly do so, he wanted his children to go to private schools. This is an aspirational thing that he had, so that’s how I ended up at Fettes.” However, he did not enjoy life at boarding school. “I was very rebellious and also my temperament wasn’t suited to public school life at that time.”
Mr Blair spoke in an interview with Scottish Conservative Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson as part of her new LBC radio show, An Inconvenient Ruth, to be broadcast today at 9pm.
He also said people without Covid symptoms should be tested: “The largest part of the people who get this disease are asymptomatic, so they don’t know they’ve got it, so if you’re only testing people with symptoms, you’re missing the majority of people.”
Mr Blair said that as “you can’t eradicate” coronavirus, the country would have to “live with it” until a vaccine is found.
He added: “We have got to use all the testing capability at our disposal and, for reasons I completely understand but disagree with, at the moment we’re only testing people with symptoms.”
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