June 12, 2007

Never complain, never explain..well maybe this once

I rarely read speeches, but this one by Tony Blair will be making waves. Full transcript here
"I need to say some preliminaries at the outset. This is not my response to the latest whacking from bits of the media. It is not a whinge about how unfair it all is.As I always say, it's an immense privilege to do this job and if the worst that happens is harsh media coverage, it's a small price to pay. And anyway, like it or not, and some do and some don't, I have won 3 elections and am still standing as I leave office. This speech is not a complaint. It is an argument."
"From Stanley Baldwin's statement about "power without responsibility being the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages" back to the often extraordinarily brutal treatment, if you've ever read it, meted out to Gladstone and Disraeli through to Harold Wilson's complaints of the 60s, the relations between politics and the media are and are by necessity, difficult. It's as it should be."
"The metaphor for this genre of modern journalism is the Independent newspaper..... a well-edited lively paper and is absolutely entitled to print what it wants, how it wants, on the Middle East or anything else. But it was started as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views not news. That was why it was called the Independent. Today it is avowedly a viewspaper not merely a newspaper."
"So there are my thoughts. I've made this speech after much hesitation. I know it will be rubbished in certain quarters. But I also know this has needed to be said."

I despise much of what Mr Blair has done, but he's brave and resilient and he's 75% articulate which helps. I think he'd agree that an avowed viewspaper like The Independent isn't too obnoxious. It's the priestly hypocrisy of the BBC and the NYT that stinks up the joint.