Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Oh, Just Stop It!

The media preoccupation with what Cherie Blair is alleged to have said is, even for British political ‘journalism’, a new low. Pathetic, isn’t it? Of course it’s possible to think the Chancellor is untruthful or talks rubbish (I’ve expanded on those topics myself), but couldn’t we have the faintest smidgeon of content rather than just gossip? I don’t know if Cherie said what she’s been reported as saying or not; I may not be kindly disposed towards her, but I trust a hack on the make’s ‘I just happened to hear this, with no evidence and no witnesses’ even less. I believe Bloomberg is a relatively new player in the media scene and with lots of money, so I wasn’t all that surprised to see how unpopular their representative was with the rest of the press pack at a Lib Dem Conference press briefing… I’m not saying they made the story up to get some attention, even though the story started off as ‘she walked out of the hall and said this’ and then suspiciously became ‘all right, so she was never in the hall, but she said this anyway,’ but it’s at least as likely as Cherie Blair being that stupid. Let’s face it, any journalist can make up any old thing if there’s no evidence, and I trust them even less than I trust Mrs Blair (though it’s a real struggle to trust anyone less than her husband). Besides, if she did say it, so what? If someone had spent years falling out with Richard, I imagine I’d not regard them very highly either, but it wouldn’t be news. It’s not as if she’s even elected to anything, nor abusing her position in any way in this. So, for once, just leave her alone.

I’d much rather have journalists doing the country a service by taking to pieces what Mr Brown actually said than turning politics into nothing but personal gossip (just like the way that, until yesterday, the main BBC story left over from the Lib Dem Conference was Charles being claimed not to want to shake hands. Who cares?).

I’m not fond of either of the Blairs, but this pathetic media rubbish is so irritating that, yesterday, it even made me feel on Mr Blair’s side – just for a moment. Yes, I thought his joke about “At least I don’t have to worry about her running off with the bloke next door,” was funny, and it takes an awful lot for me to feel remotely pro-Mr Blair. While I find Mr Brown’s speaking style overbearing, at least I was able to listen to his speech without actually swearing at the television. I know many Liberal Democrats had a sneaking (or in some cases blatant) regard for Mr Blair when he was first elected. I started off finding him an untrustworthy Tory snake-oil salesman, and that was the high point of my regard for him. I couldn’t bring myself to watch his speech yesterday, though I was sure it would be better delivered and more engaging than that of Mr Brown, because in common with a large part of the country I simply can’t stand the man. I can’t believe a single word he says. He preaches to the powerless and sucks up to the powerful; he is a loathsome, hypocritical, sanctimonious bully. You see what an achievement Bloomberg managed? He really should thank them.

He reminds me of a joke told by Denis Healey about David Owen, in the style of Sleeping Beauty:
When Tony was born, the fairies clustered round his crib. They showered all the gifts on him. He would be successful. He would be intelligent. He would have a wealthy wife. He would be lucky. He would be handsome. He would be charismatic.

But, unfortunately, the bad fairy also turned up. And she said, “He will have all those gifts, and more. But he will also be… A shit.”

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