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"Vote Blair, Get Brown."

All of Britain is talking about it. It's the central issue of the campaign.

Tony Blair, or, more specifically, his tan. Is it real? Is it canned? Does it matter?

The story:

British papers say it's peculiar that Blair suddenly has what they called a "golden glow," a "freshly bronzed face," and a "tangerine appearance," even though they note he hasn't had a foreign vacation since Christmas. In fact, London's Daily Record says Blair was startled yesterday when a reporter asked him, "Where did you get that tan?" Blair, however, insists it's all-natural, telling reporters he got it "sitting out yesterday, working. You might have noticed it was a sunny day."

The latest spoof election slogan in the UK:

"Vote Blair - get brown."

Even in a serious BBC interview, on profound geopolitical issues, the interviewer could not help but ask about it:

Paxman: When you look at your time in Downing Street, when you came in 1997, you were a young man. You were talking about the ...

Blair: You're not going to show the old pictures, are you?

Paxman: No. None of us can really survive that.

Paxman: But you came in, a young prime minister talking about a young country. Now they talk about how you've got a fake tan. You haven't got a fake tan, I take it.

Blair: I haven't got a fake tan. As a matter of fact, you look as if you've been sitting out in the sun as well.

It's somewhat reminiscent of the "Kerry-fake-'n'-bakes" rumor during the 2004 American campaign. The main difference here is that John Kerry's fake orange tan was eminently obvious, while Blair's seems natural and normal.


The other, more important difference between Blair's alleged tan-in-a-can and John Kerry's is that with Kerry, it played right into the absurdity of his attempted makeover as a regular guy. John Kerry's fake, George Hamiltonian tan was emblematic of how uncomfortable he was with himself, of how vain he was, and of how out-of-touch with all those regular, average Americans out in the "red states." Kerry's fake tan also reminded people of his alleged Botox injections. With Prime Minister Blair, it just reminds voters of the good feelings they once had toward the youthful, vibrant, and energetic Blair.

Plus, come on, we know Britains are not known for having a profusion of pigmentation, but Blair's hue still looks entirely appropriate, and nothing out of the ordinary.

But you can be the judge:





Meanwhile, if the polls from the past week are any indication, Tony Blair and the Labour Party are set to cruise to an easy victory:


Posted by Will Franklin · 21 April 2005 05:28 PM