Posts Tagged ‘Dan Hodges’

Happy Birthday Tony Blair. Unhappy Political Art Appreciation to Others

May 6, 2014

6th May 2014

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Happy Birthday, Mr Blair

Tony Blair Portrait ny Alastair Adams

Tony Blair Portrait by Alastair Adams


Alastair Adams Portrait

Opining, also known as writing for the press, is neither. It is seldom disinterested reportage.

But it really takes the biscuit paint palette when a so-called art critic allows his opinion on a politician’s politics to define the smudged edges of his critique. Into that category falls this, by Martin Newman of the Daily Mirror.

It is weirdly headlined “…but does it show the real him?”  Oh for God’s sake – NO! It shows the woman who makes your latte at Espresso Opinions R US, Mr Newman!

This critic also has odd ideas about family pictures on a desk – “Tellingly the photographs on his desk face away. He is a family man, but they are just part of his priorities.” Martin Newman suggests that the family photographs (Are they? How does he know?) facing away from Mr Blair (who is standing in front of his desk) means his family are not of major importance to him.

I ask in all seriousness – where do they find these art critics? In the same recycling bin as they find political critics?


Misfiring on several cylinders, Mr Newman gives us the benefits of his own thoughts on Blair’s political attributes with, “Technically the painting is very good, harmonious and balanced, with the viewers eye drawn immediately to the misfiring Middle East peace envoy’s face.”

Before we get to the finale of the critique – the halo / messianic jibes – a  requirement of ANY Blair criticism worth its stinging salt – we get this gem:

“Adams, the President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, first painted Blair in 2011.  His previous effort [EFFORT!?] had the sitter staring intensely at the viewer, his mouth in an almost rictus sneer and teeth set as though ready to jump out of the canvas and bite you.”

Alastair Adams Portrait of Tony Blair

Alastair Adams Portrait of Tony Blair; “rictus sneer” according to Art Critic Martin Newman

This Adams portrait, on the left, is evidently the sneerey bitey one.

Like the new painting it is an excellent piece of portraiture, Mr Adams (website here)


Tony Blair sketch by Jonathan Yeo, during 2001 election campaign

Tony Blair, 2001, by Jonathan Yeo

While googling about I came across this much earlier portrait of the former PM (right).

Painted by Jonathan Yeo, it was completed during the general election of 2001 and shows a younger, but for that period an unusually serious Blair. I rather like it. It’s certain he would never have expected at that time how many in the press, and thus some in the chatterati, literati and twitterati would grow to despise him.

Speaking of critics & well-wishers, Mr Blair, I’m sure Dan Hodges really wishes you well on your birthday, even if you do look better in jeans than he probably does. Dan & I chat now and then on twitter.



Livingstone said: “I never voted for New Labour. I never voted for Tony Blair”!? Expel KEN now!

June 11, 2012

All blog posts 2012 + Original, from 2006 to 2012

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12th June 2012

Livingstone: “If I was you, and I really wanted to do something about it, go and bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair for war crimes, devote your life to that.”

Noticing earlier on Twitter that it is being mooted within the Labour party to expel Dan Hodges for, allegedly, urging Labour voters not to vote for Ken Livingstone in May’s Mayoral London election, I thought I’d dig around for the video of His Livingstoneship.  I recalled he had been urging other Old Labourites daft enough to applaud him to devote their lives to bringing “a private prosecution against Tony Blair”, for whom, by the way, he also tells them he had never voted. Blair and his awful (three times winning) New Labour were not fit for His Saintedness’s cross.

The video was on YouTube not that long ago. As if by magic it is no longer there!

But I managed to find this article written by Dan Hodges himself and in it the audio of the awful Livingstone. Clearly, the one for overdue expulsion is Ken Livingstone.

Boot that traitor out.

Audio (sound not so good): Ken Livingstone “go and bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair”

Dan Hodges’ Telegraph article of November 18th 2011:

Ken Livingstone on Tony Blair and New Labour: ‘Go and bring a private prosecution against him for war crimes’

Let’s be honest. One or two of us harbour doubts about Ken Livingstone.

It’s a skepticism that crosses the political divide. According to the polls, 20 per cent of London Labour voters are planning to back the banker-loving Bullingdon brawler Boris Johnson over the newt-loving champion of the working man.

This gross disloyalty rankles with many on the Left. “Just whose side are they on?”, demanded the influential (-ish) website “Left Futures” last month, in a swipe at those who dared suggest their hero may not be a shoo-in for the mayoralty.

Whatever your doubts, they say, Ken is our man. A Labour man. He has a right to our support. The trouble is, has anyone told Ken that?

On Monday Labour’s mayoral candidate attended one of his regular Tell Ken events in Lewisham. What, he was asked, was wrong with New Labour. Labour Ken couldn’t resist. He said:

The gentleman asked what’s wrong with 13 years of New Labour? Well I never voted for New Labour. I never voted for Tony Blair and I stood against his awful government as an independent and… why I withdraw as the official Labour candidate. And I opposed the war in Iraq. I took the last Labour government to court five times and I fought them when I thought they weren’t doing things in London’s interest.

Just for good measure Ken then dabbled in a bit of international jurisprudence.

If I was you, and I really wanted to do something about it, go and bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair for war crimes, devote your life to that.

Tactically, this latest outburst is quite astute. Ken recognizes Boris Johnson’s success in defining himself as the maverick who will stand up to the Government, and knock down David Cameron, if it’s what it takes to get the best deal for Londoners. And his call for Tony Blair to dragged to the Hague in leg irons is an unashamedly brazen effort to recapture the luster of his own glorious days of middle age rebellion.

But the glee with which he attacks the previous “awful” Labour government is instructive. The 20 per cent are watching. And waiting.


Twitter link for Dan Hodges,  @DPJHodges, Blogger for the Telegraph, Total Politics, Former Commissioning Editor of Labour Uncut, neo-Blairite. Painfully unpragmatic.


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On Tony Blair – Dan Hodges & Tom Newton-Dunn

June 15, 2011

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15th June 2011

On this particularly busy day I have no time to wait bated breath-like for my good friend John  Rentoul to tell me what he disagrees with Tony Blair about. So here are a couple of things that have caught my eye this morning:

1. A confession from Dan Hodges at Labour Uncut that immediately after the 2005 election there was a bloody coup cooking to undo Tony Blair. What’s more the so-and-sos revelled in anticipation of diving deep in the seeping blood of their three-times winner. They anticipated some airy-fairy wondrous future led by the chief knife-carrier, a certain Gordon Brown, supported by half the party including a couple of empty Ed-heads. It’s an illuminating picture of losers. Locked in loos talking conspiratorially into mobiles and getting self-confirming rounds of applause from other little pee-ers they murmured conspiratorially, as if the very life of their party depended on it.  It certainly did, though not in the way they expected. Theirs was a noble cause, was it not? “Let’s get the bastard. He just won us another election”.

2. In this exclusive interview of Tony Blair by Sun writer Tom Newton-Dunn Mr Blair gives both Ed Miliband and David Cameron the respect he clearly feels was often missing from others for his own position, if not as leader of the opposition, as prime minister. He says of the of the current PM – “I have an innate respect and sense of solidarity for anyone who takes the job on. It is a huge responsibility and it is a responsibility that never leaves you for a single moment of any day or night.”

He also believes Labour could have won in 2010 if it had stuck to his agenda and not moved to the Left. Notably he does not argue that as things stand Labour is likely to win the next election. Quite the contrary.

[Aside: Perhaps the contention that Labour could have won in 2010 as New Labour is what Rentoul disagrees with. If so, I am with John Rentoul. Labour could have won in 2010, but only under Tony Blair’s leadership.]

More excerpts from The Sun:

“Gordon had enormous strengths but in the end I am afraid there was a profound disagreement on policy.” Red Ed, a long-term Brown fan, appeared to carry that on by declaring the day after snatching the party leadership from his Blairite older brother David that the New Labour era was “over”.

But Mr Blair shot back: “The concept can’t possibly be over because the concept isn’t time related.

“It is about the Labour party constantly being at the cutting edge, being a modernising party – always being full of creative ideas and isn’t pinned in its ideological past. That is always the choice for the Labour party. It is the choice for progressive parties.”

“Ed Miliband has sensibly given himself the space to develop policy. The question is now what he puts into that space.”

Asked whether he could win the next election, Mr Blair said: “I am happy to give him my full support. I always will do for the leader of the Labour party, and I think he should be given a chance to set out his agenda. But in my view Labour will win if it fights from the centre.”

Turning to the Coalition, he said plans for the NHS and schools – bitterly opposed by the current Labour leadership – were in fact continuations of his own policies.

Referring directly to his bitter feud with Gordon Brown, who eventually succeeded him, Mr Blair added: “New Labour was the concept of a modern Labour party in the middle ground with a set of attitudes orientated towards the future – and I believe if we had carried on doing that we would have won the last Election.

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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’.