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“Anyone Who Had a Heart …”

Remember that tune? Dionne Warwick sang it so poignantly in 1963, my first year at my English public school. Just can’t get it out of my head today, for some reason.

Nor can I get Head Boy Blair out of my head either. The Independent’s Mark Steel is also charmed by Blair’s hearty remarks and replies wittily:

” … the first word anyone thinks of when they see Blair is “heart”. Tony Heart Blair is what his friends President Assad of Syria and ex-military ruler Mubarak of Egypt call him. When you’re responsible for all the heartfelt warmth and sunshine that resulted from invading Iraq, it’s understandable if you get angry with heartless types such as Jeremy Corbyn who opposed it all along, but not everyone can live up to Blair’s standards.”

Yup. Standards seem to be dropping.

It makes me think about what we seem to be doing in this day and age. But dropping standards has its healthy side too, I guess.

The poet Robert Bly told a story once about asking his mentor, the great poet William Stafford, how he turned out so much stuff.

“Practise,” said Stafford. “I try to write a poem a day.”

“But how do you manage it,” protested the young Bly? “What about standards?”

“Just lower your standards,” said Stafford, iconically.

But Stafford was talking about poetry and the trap of the ego, not about standards of care and values in society.

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