Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Biter Bit

Tony Blair has given a speech in which, he complains, at length about the media. Apparently the modern rolling 24-hour news cycle is like a 'feral beast' and is damaging in its relationship with politics. Well, he has a point. Politics and politicians are trivialised, issues ignored and any perceived mistake can quickly degenerate into a process story that leaves any actual policy behind. But whose bloody fault is that? Here is clue:

We paid inordinate attention in the early days of New Labour to courting, assuaging, and persuading the media. In our own defence, after 18 years of Opposition and the, at times, ferocious hostility of parts of the media, it was hard to see any alternative.

Let us remind ourselves that for years Tony Blair's media guru was an ex-tabloid journalist who was renowned as a bully and a liar and who saw that the actual business of government played second fiddle to the next day's headlines. Blair and Labour created the current climate, spinning and spinning until it all finally spun out of control. The media got tired of being manipulated and the lies got to big to manage, but by then cynicism and disdain for the political process had been built into the system. Now we all have to live with Alistair Campbell's and Tony Blair's legacy and it is a bit rich for one of principal architects to start complaining.

'It is not a whinge about how unfair it all is.' Yes it is.

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