Drink - Shane Watson reads about the Blairs as binge drinkers

Boozygate reveals that the Blairs are social binge drinkers like the rest of us

Some of you may have been persuaded to overcome your allergy to the Daily Mail in recent days, what with it serialising the Piers Morgan "diaries they're all talking about". The highlights have certainly been tempting - Diana's thoughts about Will Carling, Prince William's thoughts about his soon-to-be stepmother and, best of all, a peek into the private world of Tony and Cherie as entertainers.

Many who read about Morgan's dinner with the Blairs at No 10

would have been hoping for some damaging indiscretion: Tony slagging off the working classes, sniggering about the Dome, or plotting to make Carole Caplin the next culture minister. But I was mesmerised by the way the drink was flowing and the part it played in the whole proceedings: "Blair smiled and poured some more wine. I was getting a bit pissed and I think he was, too, though Cherie was on the water now," as Morgan so eloquently put it. Then he and Tone moved on to the whiskies.

To cut a long story short, the Blairs were chucking it down like the rest of us do on a Friday night and, intriguingly, with much the same consequences. Only last weekend, after a long dinner, I found myself obsessing about Michael Hutchence (don't ask me: I barely know who he was). It appears that the PM and his wife are similarly prone to talking trivia after a few bottles. When the movers and shakers get together, the talk (if Morgan is to be believed) is all topless sunbathing, skin quality and photographs of Baby Leo.

This, to me, was the gripping part of Morgan's expose. For those of us who worry about when we are going to enter the land of adults, where moderate drinking and discussion of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill are the norm, Boozygate is very revealing. I enjoy overdoing it now and then, but I would regret it far less if I thought the drink had opened doors to stimulating discussion instead of leading, as it inevitably does,

to my Kate Bush impersonation. Now it turns out that the people

we pay to do the big thinking are no more likely to be thrashing out the important issues while under the influence than we are.

How much a person drinks and how it affects them are two of the most reliable snapshot insights into someone's character. We assumed that Delia Smith was a bit of a stick, until she admitted she would never be a "one-glass" girl. We know that Ken Livingstone is bad-tempered when he's had a few, and that Margaret Thatcher liked her whisky even though it tended to bring out the bully in her. And now we discover that the Blairs are social binge drinkers and rubbish talkers like the rest of us.

Morgan's diaries promised backbiting and intrigue from inside

Tony and Cherie's marriage, but all they reveal is the ordinariness

that is the Blairs. Less scary, or more so? You decide.

This article first appeared in the 14 March 2005 issue of the New Statesman, To save Africa we must listen to it