Timothy Ash with a somewhat useful analysis of Blair’s performance at Congress. His sniping for the use of ‘kind of’ seems a bit senseless, I would say that ‘kind of’ is a commonly used term.It therefore falls into the category of ‘acceptable’ and does not have any American connotations to me, even if it did come from America.
That colloquial “kind of” is already halfway to the American conversational use of “like”. Next time a British prime minister speaks to a joint session of Congress, following Churchill, Attlee, Thatcher and now Blair, he or she – brought up on a diet of the TV sitcom Friends – will probably say: “I know this is, like, late, but we’re, like, sahrreee.”
Were Blair to fall over the justification of the Iraq war, his Washington induced toppling would be just the latest in a rich line of Anglo-American ironies. We would then lose the best president America will never have – but Europe still might.