That’ll be £1.5 million please, Mr Tony…
That’ll be £1.5 million please, Mr Tony…
And suddenly the Labour crowing stops. Tony Blair has landed slap bang in the middle of the phone-hacking trials, as they resume this afternoon. An email from Rebekah Brooks to James Murdoch makes for delicious reading.
Over the course of an hour long phone call just after the Screws had closed down, Blair allegedly gave Brooks the following advice on 11 July 2011:
1. Form an independent unit that has an outside junior counsel, Ken Macdonald, a great and good type, a serious forensic criminal barrister, internal counsel, proper fact checkers etc in it. Get them to investigate me and others and publish a Hutton style report.”
2. Publish part one of the report at same time as the police closes its inquiry and clear you and accept short comings and new solutions and process and part two when any trials are over.
3. Keep strong and definitely sleeping pills. Need to have clear heads and remember no rash short term solutions as they only give you long term headaches.
4. It will pass. Tough up.
5. He is available for you, KRM and me as an unofficial adviser but needs to be between us
Surely our Tone wouldn’t be so blasé about the Hutton Report, that whitewashed his government’s involvement with the David Kelly affair?
And whatever could be behind this late discovery of such inconvenient evidence for Tony?
UPDATE: Statement by a spokesperson for Tony Blair:
“This was Mr Blair simply giving informal advice over the phone. He made it absolutely clear to Ms Brooks that, though he knew nothing personally about the facts of the case, in a situation as serious as this it was essential to have a fully transparent and independent process to get to the bottom of what had happened. That inquiry should be led by credible people, get all the facts out there and that if anything wrong were found there should be immediate action taken and the changes to the organisation made so that they could not happen again.
“Mr Blair said that if what he was being told by her was correct, and there had been no wrongdoing, then a finding to that effect by a credible Inquiry would be far better than an internal and therefore less credible investigation.”
Nothing to see here…
Vanity Fair have what they say is a steamy love note Wendi Deng wrote about Tony Blair. In broken English, she pines for her regular companion on the Murdoch ranch:
“Oh, sh*t, oh, sh*t. Whatever why I’m so so missing Tony. Because he is so so charming and his clothes are so good. He has such good body and he has really really good legs Butt . . . And he is slim tall and good skin. Pierce blue eyes which I love. Love his eyes. Also I love his power on the stage . . . and what else and what else and what else . . . ”
Those Chinese whispers look like they might have had something to them…
If Tony Blair thinks the Mail on Sunday is the only one digging for dirt on his mallarkey with Wendy Deng, he is wrong. Vanity Fair magazine is doing its own in depth probe beneath the Deng bedsheets due for publication in the New Year. Back in 2003 it was during a Vanity Fair interview with Blair about the then PM’s religion, that spin doctor Alastair Campbell butted in with the immortal words: ”We don’t do God.” This time Vanity Fair wants to know if Wendi did Tony… so to speak.
Fact: after two weeks of steamy revelations in the MoS, not a single person, not Blair, his office or a single person on his behalf has offered an on the record denial of an affair. What can it mean?
Excellent reverse psychology from Mandelson today, who has done Ed a massive favour by coming out against his energy cap policy. Now it seems Tony Blair agrees with him. A man you cannot usually shut up, has suddenly gone all coy:
”It seemed to go down very well and was excellently delivered. But I’m not going to comment on the policy”
It’s the kindest thing he could do to help Ed build support…
With “close friends” of Tony Blair laying it on thick for Chuka over the weekend, interesting that the Shadow Business Secretary is off on a junket to China tomorrow organised by a group with particularly close links to the former PM. Chuka’s four day trip comes courtesy of Chinese for Labour (CfL), a well-funded organisation that seeks to recruit Chinese Britons to the party, promises access to Labour MPs and offers financial assistance to potential candidates. Manchurian, presumably.
CfL are chaired by Sonny Leong, a publisher who seems to spend his time spinning for the communist Chinese government when he is not personally donating tens of thousands of pounds to the Labour Party. CfL’s patrons include Cherie Blair, David Miliband and former Blair fixer Ian McCartney. On its executive committee sits Lady Katy Tse Blair (right), wife of Tony’s brother Bill. CfL has organised recent trips to China for Blairite Shadow Cabinet ministers Liam Byrne and Douglas Alexander. Worth noting that Blair has earned hundreds of thousands of pounds from his links to the country. He clearly has a soft spot for the Chinese…
Uncle Tony says Ed’s speech today “is a defining moment. It’s bold and it’s strong… I should have done it when I was leader”.
The photo of himself on the mantelpiece behind him is a nice touch…
I don't believe these Chinese whispers about Tony Blair.—
Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) June 14, 2013
The Hollywood Reporter were given a very carefully worded response when they called up Blair’s office this morning:
“If you are asking if they are having an affair, the answer is no.”
People have, surely somewhat unfairly, remarked on the use of the present tense…
A Blairite Welsh Labour source told Wales Online:
“These comments are beyond tasteless. Darren Williams appears to be advocating the death of Tony Blair. Mr Williams holds a position of considerable responsibility within the Labour Party as a member of the National Policy Forum… Clearly, people will ask how someone who holds such extreme and offensive views can adequately represent the views of mainstream members in developing party policy. Frankly, if he doesn’t issue a full and unreserved apology and withdraw his remarks his continued membership of the Labour Party should be called into question.”
Meanwhile elsewhere Clive Lewis, the Labour PPC for Norwich South was extending his charm to Wes Streeting, the well known Blairite careerist active in the Progress faction:
Labour’s left are a pretty nasty bunch…
A masterclass in carefully worded digs from Labour leaders old and new this morning. Blair hits the nail on the head about Ed being on the wrong side of every argument:
“Parts of the political landscape that had been cast in shadow for some years, at least under New Labour and the first years of coalition government, are illuminated in sharp relief. The Conservative Party is back clothing itself in the mantle of fiscal responsibility, buttressed by moves against ‘benefit scroungers’, immigrants squeezing out British workers and – of course – Labour profligacy. The Labour Party is back as the party opposing ‘Tory cuts’, highlighting the cruel consequences of the Conservative policies on welfare and representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable.”
Team Miliband’s rebuttal is hardly subtle:
“As he was the first to recognise, politics always has to move on to cope with new challenges and different circumstances. For example, on immigration, Labour is learning lessons about the mistakes in office and crafting an immigration policy that will make Britain’s diversity work for all not just a few. It is by challenging old ways of doing things, showing we have understood what we did right and wrong during our time in office that One Nation Labour will win back people’s trust.”
In other words, not listening…
ThinkProgress Controlled: “I Was an Obamabot” | Zaid Jilani
Free People Don’t Care About Politics | Fraser Nelson
Like Guido’s Facebook Page | Facebook
International Moaning Day | Kathy Gyngell
Cameron Alienating Core Voters Without Attracting New | City AM
Andy Burnham Villain of the Week | Sun
London’s Laundry Business | NY Times
The End of HS2? | Seb Payne
Elvis Speaks | Nottingham Post
Dave Mocked | Sun
MPs Want to Decriminalise Dodging Licence Fee | Sun
Alan Rusbridger opines…
“One thing that Snowden has taught us journalists is that it’s essential to be paranoid.”