Betrayal (sorry, Loyalty) by Sarah Helm. Reviewed at the Blessed BBC


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21st July 2011

Dum da-dum da-dum da-dum… (I’m not sure what comes next…)

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but the other half and I habitually compete to reach the off switch when the Archers come on.  Sorry, Archers fans.  I just think life is enough of a soap.

But as I switched it off after the 7:00pm news bulletin I heard that Front Row would be reviewing the play that journalist Sarah Helm, wife of Tony Blair’s former chief of staff Jonathan Powell, has just launched on an unsuspecting a suspecting world. Misnamed “Loyalty”, it opened last night in London. So I had to make sure I switched Radio 4 back on at 7:15 just to give it a fair hearing. Wish I hadn’t bothered.

Still, the BBC’s angle on anything to do with Tony Blair – OUR FORMER GREAT PRIME MINISTER – (do please note, Auntie Beeb) – is worth recording.  For posterity. And evidence.


I have a question –

When is the Blessed BBC ever going to give us a clip of Tony Blair’s “A Journey”? Rhetorical question? Yes, indeedy.

NEVER is the word you’re searching for.  Gone.  History. Out of time. Lost to our memories.  Like the Lost Journey of Tony Blair. Or even Tony Blair himself. They wish.

When Mr Blair’s memoirs came out last autumn rather than leap to offer to serialise his memoirs our Blessed BBC chose instead to serialise over a whole week the memoirs of a self-confessed minor Labour MP  Chris Mullins with “Decline and Fall”.  Takes a lot of working out why THAT title was of more interest to the anti-Blair, anti-Iraq war BBC than A Journey (a journey as yet incomplete.)

Clearly Decline & Fall and all it suggested regarding the government that Chris Mullin had been briefly part of, was of far more attraction to the BL***Y BIASED BBC.

Just in case you wouldn't recognise the man whose memoirs were considered more worthy of a BBC airing that Tony Blair's, this is he - Chris Mullin.

And in March 2009 the Blessed BBC had already serialised Mullin’s earlier book (“A View From The Foothills”)

To my knowledge not one excerpt, paragraph or sentence from Tony Blair’s book has ever been even mentioned on the  LICENCE-FUNDED BBC – RADIO OR TV!

This is a disgraceful kick-in-the-teeth for at least a third of the electorate who might – just  may have been interested in their former PM’s memoirs. Dis-utterly-graceful!

Click here to listen to Front Row, when they’ve made it available. If you must.

With John Wilson.

John and political journalist Andrew Pierce review Loyalty, a new play starring Maxine Peake, about the build-up to the Iraq war, written by Sarah Helm, the wife of Jonathan Powell, who was Tony Blair’s chief of staff.

I noted a couple of the comments made in the Front Row review, which, and you have to know this, was reviewed by famous Blair hater – Andrew Bl***y Pierce (Do remind me not to write when I’m angry. You won’t like my language when I’m angry! Thank the keyboard for asterisks.)

  • The female lead: “There was three in our marriage.”
  • Murdoch played a key role – “that’s one of the nuggets.”
  • “Murdoch is in for a drink at 6. Again.”
  • “Betrayal is the main theme of the evening.  Play about trust as much as loyalty.”
  • “Pretty clear … what went on in that household … more lively discussion there than in parliament or cabinet … torn between his wife and the prime minister … but saw it as his role to support this bellicose prime minister … to deliver for him what he wanted.”


… “this bellicose prime minister”? Tony Blair?  You are a prize wally Pierce.

Then there was this –

  • “Alastair Campbell was a key player in … shall we say weapons of mass destruction.”
  • “George Bush portrayed like a character from Dukes of Hazzard.”

To be fair Wilson asks Pierce, “Isn’t she far too sanctimonious, self-regarding?” and Pierce agrees, before adding the rider  – “Yes, a bit too self-indulgent. … but others say that’s exactly what it was like.”

The play runs until 13th August. If you buy me a ticket and pay my fare there and back I’ll go and review it here at the blog. Otherwise FORGET it.

By the way, just in case I haven’t mentioned it before – Andrew Bl**dy Pierce!!!

Would that be the self-obsessed and useless Andrew Pierce I keep seeing on the late-night press reviews of tomorrow’s papers?  The one who writes at the Tory Daily Maul Mail with such as this on Tony Blair

“The gold-digger Tony Blair’s globetrotting also took him to the door of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the long-time ruler of Kazakhstan, back in 2008.”

Coincidentally to the topic of this post, in that article (I’m not researching any other versions of his junk, sorry)  he says –

“A mere ten days later, Jonathan Powell, who was Blair’s chief of staff at Downing Street and now works for the former PM’s investment advisory business Firerush Ventures No 3, was also in Astana. Powell’s visit last month was apparently to do with human rights.”


1. Ignore the last two sentences in this Telegraph review. It’s important to remember that our press don’t think they’re grown up unless they opine on the “eerie lack of substance” of this substantive man or the “grotesque comic relief of this grounded battler for women’s rights.  But at least Charles Spencer has this seemingly perceptive observation:

“One’s principal feeling watching Loyalty is profound gratitude that one isn’t married to Sarah Helm. In the writer’s own self-portrait, brought to terrifyingly persuasive dramatic life by Maxine Peake, she comes across as the kind of self-righteous anti-war harridan one would run a mile from.

Throughout, she seems far more concerned with her own moral righteousness than the stress being endured by her partner, which she constantly exacerbates.”

2. Recommended to avoid: MM Theatre Reviews

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Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.


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2 Responses to “Betrayal (sorry, Loyalty) by Sarah Helm. Reviewed at the Blessed BBC”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Uuum. Sarah Helm’s play is all rather well written and as said above it was what it was like. Something weird going on here. The play is not critiqued, but rather the playwright is insulted and bashed. Lots of anti uppity woman stuff in the reviews too, with words like harridan, goody goody and even Mr. Spencer saying I would not want to be married to Sarah Helm.

  2. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

    As I said above, look at what the anti-Bair critic Andrew Pierce selected. Not the words of anyone who said “it was not like that at all”. He just happened to refer to “someone” (?) whose thoughts echoed his own. I notice he didn’t quote Jonathan Powell on “what is was like” or even Anji Hunter.

    Glad you enjoyed it, anyway. There are quite a few better reviews around of course. I was just being – what’s the word? – selective in those I use here.

    Can’t imagine why.

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