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Tuesday, May 01, 2007 

Two cheeks of the same arse.

Polly's at it again. During 2005 she urged us all to wear nosepegs to stop the smell emanating from the corpses that Blair was standing aloft so that we'd be able to vote Labour anyway. Today she's telling us that voting for the Tories is not the answer, with even less success.

One of Toynbee's main arguments is always that the right-wing media distort the truth and attack Labour without any sense of restraint or principle. As with many of Toynbee's arguments, there's a decent amount of accuracy in it, as numerous posts on this blog have noted, but while she's saying that the right is always on Labour's back, she ignores the Faustian pact that Blair has long had with the whore of Fleet Street, the Sun.

Today's Sun is further proof that we can expect no real change in the relationship between the Murdoch media and Gordon Brown. As the latest Private Eye noted in passing, Brown has been increasingly seen dining with Rebekah Wade. He even shared a stage with the Dirty Digger himself a while back in Davos.

Some will hit back that the New Labour-Murdoch alliance has helped keep Labour in power for as long as it has, that constantly trying to both appease and please a newspaper proprietor who detests everything that Labour has traditionally stood for is a price worth paying for the government being perpetually at loggerheads with such a powerful foe. The reality is that Blair sold his soul and that of his party when he made the journey to Australia in order to court Murdoch. Ever since, the relationship between the Murdoch press and the government has been almost one that reflects the last days of the Wade-Kemp axis: one side keeps coming back even though it knows it's just going to eventually get hit again. It can be reasonably argued that if it hadn't been for Murdoch's unstinting support for the Iraq war, of the constant playing down of scandals such as the BAe corruption farce and loans for peerages that Blair himself, and maybe even his government would have been long gone. In return, Labour gets ever tougher on crime, but still not tough enough for the Sun, while it wages a war on both terrorism, which is counter-productive, and on civil liberties, which is irredeemable.

We shouldn't be that surprised then that Gordon has taken time out from his busy schedule campaigning for a lost cause to write a love letter to someone who he's never even fancied. Even more surprising are what he thinks Blair will be first and foremost remembered for. Not for what, in tandem with himself, he achieved with the minimum wage, independence for the Bank of England and economic success, but rather, err, the relationship with the US.

WHEN historians look back on Tony Blair’s ten years as Prime Minister, they will look back on some of the most memorable moments and achievements in our post-war history.

Gordon knows what you're thinking, I know what you're thinking. That single word is mentioned only once in this paean, and that's in passing. Unsurprising, really, that hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis aren't considered either a memorable moment or an achievement.

I think first of September 11, and how by immediately saying we stood shoulder to shoulder with America, Tony spoke not just for Britain but for every nation, and gave strength and courage to a world paralysed by shock and fear, as always on the side of freedom.

It's perhaps not best to mention here that within a year and six months the coalition that had emerged in the wake of 9/11 was irrevocably destroyed by the mania of Bush and Blair in attacking Iraq. Is something that any British prime minister would have done at the time really an achievement?

I think of July two years ago, when Tony returned from bringing the Olympics to London to persuade other world leaders at Gleneagles to take action on international poverty and climate change.

Which as the Guardian reported last week, has turned out fantastically well.

I think how quickly those triumphs — for which Tony had worked for years — turned to tragedy in the space of a few minutes on July 7, but how steadfastly he set the tone of Britain’s continuing and long-term response to terrorist extremists: Resolute, defiant and unyielding.

And how he destroyed the cross-party consensus which had emerged after the bombs by returning from holiday, scared shitless by the Sun demanding that something be done IMMEDIATELY, to claim the "rules of the game are changing", which only exacerbated the problem and gave the terrorists' the satisfaction of knowing that they could rely on the government to reduce freedom to provide "security".

I think of how he spoke for the country after the death of Princess Diana and then of the tireless determination he has shown for ten years — facing down every frustration and setback — in trying to bring lasting peace and prosperity to both communities in Northern Ireland, and to both communities in Israel and Palestine.

He only spoke for the part of the country that went mad for a couple of weeks over the tragic but ordinary death of a woman. To everyone else he sounded like an idiot. While Blair does deserve credit for the progress made in the peace process in Northern Ireland, he's done absolutely nothing to help Palestine, and made clear where his bread's really buttered by supporting Israel's brutal war on Lebanon-Hizbullah last summer, joining in with the United States in helping to scupper any chance of an early ceasefire.

And I think how the young Tony Blair, who never thought he would have to send our Armed Forces to war, has seen them serve with great valour in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq.

There it is! The less said about this whole paragraph the better.

And when I think of the hours we spent sharing a Commons office in the 1980s, debating how the Labour Party might become New Labour and how we could fight for the great causes of our age, I look back on how in the years that followed he not only led our party to a unique triple of election victories but — the greater achievement for him — also made Britain first in the world for debt relief, action on Aids, a fair trade deal for the poorest countries, and tackling climate change.

The great causes of our age presumably being helping the filthy rich get even filthier, the abandonment of anything even resembling traditional Labour values, and a "liberal interventionist" foreign policy which is neither liberal (except in the classical, imperialist sense) nor about helping protect the citizens which intervention was meant to.

And he has been right to say that what binds Britain and America together is the shared beliefs in liberty, democracy and the dignity of every single individual that both our countries value.

Unless they're Iraqi or an alleged terrorist, in which case you'll either be bombed, or rendered to a black hole CIA prison where you'll be tortured until you either confess or go crazy, or preferably, both.

I am honoured to call Tony my oldest friend in politics, of course with the inevitable ups and downs along the way, but still the longest partnership between Prime Minister and Chancellor for 200 years.

Honoured to have worked with him to create a Britain that is stronger, fairer and more prosperous than that bright morning back in 1997 when Tony first walked up Downing Street — a Britain which can hold its head up high in the world.

Is Brown being facetious, or knowingly ironic? He surely can't be serious about being Tony's oldest friend, unless we're going by the old adage of keeping your friends close and your enemies even closer. As for Britain holding its head up high, we're now hated just slightly less than America, which is quite an achievement.

The Sun's leader is full of much the same, vomit-inducing sycophancy:

And, despite Iraq, he can claim moral victories abroad in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

As the still returning body bags from the poor, blighted latter country can attest to.

Brown then already has his balls in a Murdoch-branded vice. Here's to ten more years of New Murdoch.

Related post:
Bloggerheads - Celebrating 10 years of the Downing Street Echo

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