Friday 20 October 2017

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Blair discovers some carping never falters

Whether brought about by contrition or self-interest, the former PM should get credit for donating his book earnings to charity, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

I USED to know a young man who believed there was no such thing as altruism: every kind or charitable act was self-interested. He was equipped depressingly with an inexhaustible list of cynical motives that must be driving the apparently selfless.

This faith in the inherent selfishness of everyone enabled the person I will call Hamish -- for he was indeed a Scot of negative stereotype -- to be grumpy, tight-fisted and disobliging with a clear conscience.

Hamish was later sorely challenged by sharing a flat with a thoroughly decent young doctor who lived to improve people's lives. Grudgingly, he came to admit that maybe, maybe, compassion and benevolence were not always suspect. And he even became nicer himself.

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