Blair and Brookes and Murdoch: the final disgrace

by Ray_North on February 21, 2014

images-5This is what would happen – I’d sit down and say, ‘Mr Bair, come on – what were you doing assisting Rupert Murdoch, a man who is so regressive in his political outlook and so morally bankrupt in his attitude towards society?’

And Blair would fix me that uncomfortable half-smile he gives, and say, ‘well Ray, first thing, call me Tony. And remember, I was fighting a battle against these people, and the only way to win the battle was to get them onside – it wasn’t easy Ray, winning power against the might of the Murdoch Empire was something that had eluded Neil (Kinnock) and it was important for Labour that we won in 1997, so I’m afraid we had to get into bed with Rupert Murdoch.’

I know that at this stage, if this scenario was true and I’m being honest, I’d probably grumble a bit, nod my head, mutter something about how good Sure Start and the Minimum Wage was and let him get away with it.

But, should we let Tony Blair get away with ‘it’? Is it about time that he was somehow called to account for his crimes? Is it about time the Labour Party decided to put some proper distance between him and them – indeed, why is this man still a member of the Labour Party?

I suppose we first have to identify what his crimes are.

Well for me – the first is Iraq – I know that Chilcot will eventually publish a report about the run up to our involvement in the Iraq war and it’ll be extremely long and very detailed and will probably come up with conclusions that are just as baffling as much of the evidence was at the time – I could be wrong, and I hope I’m wrong, but I would also predict that Mr Blair will somehow be exonerated, or at least made subject to such mild criticism that he will be able to ‘tough it’ out fairly easily. Just like the Hutton Enquiry.

Of course, it doesn’t take an Independent Judicial Enquiry to assist most of us in our view of the disgraceful way in which Tony Blair and his government behaved on the issue of Iraq and many other things.

Now, of course, I understand, news management is a vital element of politics – if you control the message then there is a good chance you’ll prevail in what you are attempting to achieve.
But, there comes with that two important caveats – first, what is it you are trying to achieve and second, how far are you prepared to go in managing news.

And this is where New Labour ran into catastrophic problems.

What were they trying to achieve?

Well, ok – I have no doubt that some of what was achieved under the Blair government was positive, I’ve already referred to Sure Start and the Minimum Wage, to that I would add the devolution of Scotland and Wales, peace in Northern Ireland (though I maintain that that has a lot to do with John Major), and investment in schools and hospitals (though not the way in which education was organized in general). I am also firmly of the belief that during the period in which Gordon Brown was Chancellor, on the whole our economy was run well. But, in the minus column there is Iraq, there is the creeping privatization of some areas of the state, there is the failure to bring the massive privatized utilities under control, there was the continued de-regulation of the City and there was a genuine failure, despite the majority that the Labour government had in Parliament and the general good-will of the people to create a country that was less dominated by the interests of global capitalism and more by the needs of communities.

And the last point occurred because the likes of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson and others were pretty much in the thrall of big business – just look at the relationship that Blair forged with Rupert Murdoch a doyen of global capitalism; whilst the decision to invade Iraq was so clearly made with one eye firmly on the interests of the American companies who saw Iraq and its oil as a potential cash cow. Britain’s meek acquiescence in the whole misadventure simply demonstrates Blair’s inability to put space between himself and by definition us and the interests of global capitalists.

And Labour’s performance during the Iraq war just showed just how far it would go to circumvent and control debate to assist in its own aims – Parliament was lied to during the run-up to the Iraq war and news was not so much managed as misled which is a terribly dangerous indictment on any democratically elected government. It also makes one wonder how many other times we were lied to, how many other times slick news management and sophistry were used to ensure that the right message was put into the news, or just as bad, a message was found that was acceptable to the right wing press and then spun in a way that might make it acceptable to those of us who do not care much for Rupert Murdoch or the Sun.

By cosying up so closely to Murdoch and Rebecca Brookes and others, Blair and his cronies ended up betraying the people who had supported them – Murdoch and his newspaper empire were responsible for keeping Thatcher in power for so long, they were responsible for some of the worst type of blatant pro-government propaganda during the Miners Strike, they were responsible for the misrepresentation of the Liverpool fans at Hillsbrough and they were guilty of phone hacking on an industrial scale and god knows what other crimes against freedom they committed in the name of a ‘free press.’

So, it was bad enough that Tony Blair et al, spent so much time doing everything they could to court the Murdoch Empire, but then we heard that one week after the allegations about phone hacking in the case of Milly Dowler and the arrest of Rebecca Brookes, Blair was on the phone to her advising her of how to deal with a crisis – and the advice in effect was set up a ‘friendly’ albeit outwardly independent enquiry and tough it out.

What on earth was he doing talking to this woman?

Why on earth was he still interested in helping such a corrupt organization as News International?

There is only one answer – Tony Blair as a Prime Minister had blurred the lines between being in power and being power to do good to such an extent, that he was no longer able to distinguish between those who are on the side of progress for us all and those who are in it for themselves.

The man was a disgrace and the revelations about his relationship with Murdoch and his coterie makes me ask why have Labour not rescinded his membership of their party?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Killingworth February 21, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Possibly because he was the most successful leader the Party has ever had. And yes, he was also the most right-wing.

Could these facts be connected?


Eddie Kaye February 22, 2014 at 8:22 am

Electorally speaking Mike you are right. However the most successful Labour leader in terms of bringing about a social shift from office was Clement Attlee, no contest.


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