Opinion piece: Kim Fletcher on Blair’s turning point

In a comment to the previous post, Henry G makes a really good point:

This is not the tipping point, but I’d be interested in what people the moment that ends it could be?

Widespread heckling during conference speech
Cash for peerage – interviewed by police
Appalling results in Welsh and Scottish elections next year
Ministerial resignation over foreign policy
Any others?

Tucked away in today’s Media Guardian (link requires registration), was an article by Kim Fletcher, on the media’s treatment of Blair. I think it’s an interesting piece, basically asking, when will the media start to treat Blair with such contempt that they just stick the knife in:

For John Major it was the interest rate crisis of Black Wednesday, when the pound was forced out of the European exchange rate mechanism, and he phoned Kelvin MacKenzie, then editor of the Sun, to inquire about the next day’s coverage.

“I’ve got this big bucket of shit,” said MacKenzie, who is fond of telling the story. “And I’m going to tip it all over your head.”

He argues that this week was the tipping point for the media. By going to hob nob with Murdoch while Lebanon burns and the UN Security Council does nothing at the behest of the US, he has alienated yet more comment journalists and editors.

The Middle East was in flames and here was Blair exploring job opportunities among wealthy businessmen in California”

He suspects that:

“…we shall see in the coming weeks the kind of coverage that John Major knew well, where the best is ridicule and the worst contempt. As examples of the former, feature writers all over Fleet Street were tasked with working up witty dialogue involving Blair and Snoop Dogg last week.”

Perhaps that’s the answer. In his early days, Blair was so successful, in part, because of his management of the press, an ability that had eluded many previous Labour leaders.  Robbed of the authority of his earlier days, Blair will just be pilloried into resignation by the press that he previously worked so well.


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