Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Great Britons - or great expectations?

Couldn’t get over the shortlist for ITVs Greatest Living Briton 2007. The Queen v Robbie Williams?

Anyway, it struck a chord, especially when Gordon Brown was rolled out to say a few words. Gordon was at the Guildhall a couple of years ago when, as editor of Telegraph New Media, we helped to launch what was to be an annual Great Britons competition with Morgan Stanley.

I was actually very enthusiastic about this. I don’t know why we are so obsessed with defining our identity but I know we are, and thought it was bang-on what our readers would go for.

Anyway, I did throw myself into it somewhat, often trying every marketing trick I could muster to tease more votes out of readers and give it a good show. The highlight was the star-studded dinner at which the great and the swigged champagne and the winner was announced to a fanfare.

So good were those bashes that, when I left last year mid-campaign on what would have been Great Britons 2006, I reminded the organisers that I was still expecting an invitation, for old times.

Absolutely, I was told. No problem old boy. Wouldn’t be the same without you. Then, when it came to putting names on the seats, they blew me out with a . . . hmm, places are a little tight. We’ll see what we can do.

They didn't.

A British trait? Saying one thing and doing another? Now, that's just too cynical.

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