13th June 2012
A superfluity of “rightness”
First I noticed this from my friend John Rentoul on twitter: Hugo Rifkind – “Gordon Brown’s brazen mangling of opinion and fact” or, to get to my point “Things Tony Blair Was Right About”
I used it here yesterday – quote: “the ones he was right about … academies, civil partnerships, the NHS. I shan’t go on because it upsets me, but on Monday it happened again. Because Blair was also right, I now realise, about the failings of the British press. And Brown isn’t.’
But these right things just keep pouring in.
There was this on 7th June Tony Blair was right (Btw, he certainly “meant to”!)
‘Speaking at the Leveson Inquiry, Tony Blair said something quite prescient, though he might not have meant to. “You can’t disagree with anyone in politics now… and the environment in which media and politicians now work is more raw, brutal and crude in terms of interaction.” His sentiments were perfectly emphasised by someone who, of all things, would like least to support an argument made by Blair – David Lawley-Wakelin, the anti-war protestor who breached security at the court and accused the former Prime Minister of war crimes.
Lawley-Wakelin’s tirade epitomises exactly what Blair was talking about – that we can’t simply disagree with the decisions our representatives make, now we have to demonise them. Blair was focusing on what Lord Leveson called the “fusion of news and comment” in the media, but the increasingly polarised nature of British politics has been spilling over into the public arena of protest for some time now.’
Vine was replying to this question:
You worked as a Westminster correspondent for a long time. And you were on the Blair battle-bus in 1997, weren’t you?
‘I interviewed Tony Blair five or six times, but it’s off-air conversations that matter. Once, on the bus, he said: “I like tea” and I said: “I like tea, too” and then he said something like: “I hear you’re a Christian, Jeremy” and I said: “I’m just struggling, you know” and he said: “It’s the most important thing in my life.” And then I said: “Don’t you feel that actually the big stuff like what you’re going to do when you get into power is much less important than the small stuff, which is how you treat your next-door neighbour?” I realised that was a bad analogy because his neighbour was Gordon Brown. But he said: “I completely agree.”‘
Tony Blair, therefore, was also right about another thing: his deeply held religious belief. It didn’t just manifest itself as a convenient ‘purge to his conscience‘ after Iraq.
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