Blair Rage: It’s Still There, You Know
Blair rage. I never really got to the bottom of the psychological trauma, and much of it has now been redirected towards other targets: the “extreme right-wing policies” of the Coalition Government; the disillusion with Barack Obama; the evils of capitalism and Rupert Murdoch.
A lot of the stuff about the “Murdoch empire”, as this wobbly multinational media company is often known, though, is sublimated Blair rage. For many of my colleagues in journalism, the untold story is that Tony Blair pioneered a new form of Faustianism, which involved a political leader giving Murdoch what he wanted in return for the endorsement of his newspapers.
The first part is mush, as I pointed out here, and the reciprocal is equally dubious, in that Murdoch’s support tends to follow public opinion rather than lead it. What is surprising, as Andy Coulson gently tried to tell the Leveson inquiry, is that Murdoch’s British newspapers supported Gordon Brown for so long, not that they switched to the Conservatives.
The most acute form of the paranoid delusion concerns the Iraq war and consists of two exhibits. One, Blair and Murdoch spoke on the telephone a few times just before the invasion. Two, every single one of Murdoch’s x newspapers around the world (the figure is always different, and always precise) supported the invasion. Neither is remotely surprising or even very interesting.
The implication of the first is particularly dotty, though. Is it alleged that Murdoch was secretly a cheese-eating surrender monkey looking for a last-minute excuse to tell all his x editors to change tack and condemn the invasion? Or perhaps that Blair was, and that Murdoch had to stiffen his sinews in the dark hours of doubt before (mostly American) tanks rolled?
Which brings me to yesterday’s ruling by the Information Rights Tribunal that the notes of Blair’s side of a telephone conversation with George Bush in 2003 must be published. I agreed with Gus O’Donnell’s reasons for not publishing here, and I disagreed with the Information Commissioner’s decision that the notes should be published here.
As I said:
The only reason for thinking it important that these transcripts must be published is that they contain the hidden “real” reason for going to war – because that decision was so unreasonable that no right-thinking peacenik could have made it.
The reasons that Cabinet and Parliament authorised military action were the reasons given at the time. It was not possible for Blair to have secretly “committed” the UK to war in conversation, or correspondence, with Bush.
The Information Commissioner should not be siding with the conspiracy theorists, but, more importantly, he should not be allowed to undermine the US-UK relationship in this way.
And to a final bit of the madness. George Monbiot has published correspondence between him and Noam Chomsky in which Chomsky says that Bush and Blair should be hanged, prompting Monbiot to exclaim
I agree that Bush and Blair should be – well, not “hanged” exactly – but prosecuted “by the standards of Nuremberg”.
As a friend of mine wrote on reading this exchange:
Tagged in: blair rage, foi, freedom of information, iraq war, leveson, Leveson Inquiry, rupert murdoch
Thus once more Moonbat’s essential weakness is revealed: he gives every impression of being a fully-fledged lunatic, but when the whiff of real loopiness is in the air he turns tail and runs towards sanity like the big coward that he is. His fatal flaw: an ineradicable streak of reason. Sad to see.
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