TONY Blair made the best of what might have been a bad job in his short article in The Observer on Sunday about the million-strong e-petition against road pricing on the No 10 website.
Last week the initial Whitehall reaction to the size of the protest was of shock and even horror that No 10 itself had been host to this outpouring of motorists' anger over a proposed experiment in road charging.
But, without worrying too much over whether or not the response had been expected, Mr Blair has turned it to his advantage by pledging to reply to every single one of the million-plus protestors.
In his article he pointed out that the views of those opposed to road-pricing would have existed whether or not there had been the opportunity of signing an e-petition but that the exercise has given the government the opportunity, which did not exist before, to reply directly and cost-effectively to those who have demonstrated their strong views on the subject.
In his reply the Prime Minister intends to set out the government's belief that road charging of some kind is part of the answer to the road and transport problems the country faces. Whether or not his arguments are accepted is not the main point.
He is probably right in thinking that he could not have communicated so directly to such a closely-targetted segment of the public in any other way.
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