Celebrating 10 years of the Downing Street Echo

It’s [almost] 10 years to the day since Tony Blair first walked into Downing Street with the help of that lovely man Rupert Murdoch. And here is today’s news:

Independent – Blair’s bloody legacy: Iraq: On the 10th anniversary of Tony Blair’s election as Prime Minister, an exclusive poll reveals 69 per cent of Britons believe that, when he leaves office, his enduring legacy will be the bloody conflict in Iraq.

Independent – Revealed: how London bombers slipped through MI5’s grasp: As mainland Britain’s longest-running terror trial finally came to an end, the success of police and the security services in smashing an al-Qa’ida plot to bring carnage to Britain was overshadowed by the disclosure that MI5 also missed several opportunities to identify Mohammed Siddique Khan, the leader of the London suicide bombers.

Guardian – July 7 victims deliver inquiry demand: Survivors of and relatives of those killed in the July 7 terror attacks today delivered a letter to the Home Office calling for an “independent and impartial public inquiry” into the attack. The letter, addressed to the home secretary, John Reid, called for a wide-ranging investigation into the communication between government, police and the security service. The move, by the 7/7 Inquiry Group, came a day after it was revealed that MI5 had come across July 7 ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan and his right-hand man Shehzad Tanweer while investigating another group of plotters but let them slip through the net.

And now, here is today’s news from the primary propaganda outlet of the Blair/Murdoch dream team:

Be proud, Tony

TEN years ago today, Britain overwhelmingly put its faith in a young politician to guide our nation into a new era. And despite all the moaning, Tony Blair is entitled to feel pride today at his historic decade as Labour PM. Three times the Tories have tried to beat him. Three times they failed. After ten years at No10, Blair is one of the world’s senior statesmen. At home, however much has gone wrong, he has kept his pledge to provide massive extra funding for the NHS and schools. His government has delivered 58 quarters of unbroken economic growth, low inflation, the minimum wage and millions of new jobs. In Northern Ireland, which for so long defeated politicians of every party, the PM is about to seal what looks like permanent peace. And, despite Iraq, he can claim moral victories abroad in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. No leader expects total success. Blair has admitted that some things have gone wrong – things he knows should have gone better. But despite looming defeats in Thursday’s elections, he should raise a glass in quiet celebration. As Gordon Brown writes of today in a remarkable personal tribute to Blair, their own inevitable personal ups and downs should never be allowed to disguise their comradeship and pride in Labour. Sometimes it’s too easy to knock politicians without sufficiently appreciating that a man like Blair has dedicated his life to serving his country – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for ten gruelling years. If the boyish grin of May 1 1997 has been replaced by greying hair, is it any surprise? When you look at the burdens a PM has to carry, it seems a miracle that anyone wants to take it on. Now it looks like Gordon’s turn to take the strain. His first duty should be to buy Blair a drink. He has earned it.

We’re in peril

IT would be nice to think we can sleep easier after putting five al-Qaeda bomb plotters behind bars for decades. But there are plenty more where they came from here in our midst. Hundreds of al-Qaeda cells are planning attacks and grooming suicide bombers. MI5 is stretched to the limit tracking at least 2,000 known extremists in Britain. The lesson from yesterday’s verdict is clear, and we cannot ignore it. Britain must now move much more quickly and firmly to clamp down on Muslim hotheads ranting on our streets to attract new recruits. We cannot wait until London or Manchester is blown to bits before acting to protect the British people.

The only hint of criticism? Two words; ‘despite Iraq’…. which is somewhat overshadowed by a repeat of the all-too-familiar assurance that we had best start appreciating this regime and stop asking difficult questions lest we all get blowed up.

Amusingly, they also bring two boobs out for some ‘united front’ propaganda on Page 3… and yet place the information down by the panties to tell those ‘in the know’ that it’s really a pile of knickers:

page 3 today

Related bloggage:
Rachel North – Update from me
Obsolete – Forever delayed
The Nether-World – July 7: The Truth Starts To Emerge
Craig Murray – The Missing Links: MI5 acts to limit damage over 7/7 failure
Chicken Yoghurt – Two things

UPDATE – More from Rachel (who has had a very busy day).

Posted in Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, Tony 'King Blair | 3 Comments

I dare Iain Dale and Paul Staines to read this in full…

… and maybe even (*gasp*) respond in an intelligent manner.

Guido 2.0 – Honest John

A fantastic contribution from Unity.

UPDATE (30 April) – Not a peep out of either of them. Like most bullies, they turn out to be cowards when the chips are down. Try to contain your surprise.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

A cunning plan to ease congestion

And I’m doing my bit just by linking to it…

CalumCarr – EXCLUSIVE: Traffic Calming

BTW, if you’re a relatively new blogger and you’ve blogged anything about your local council elections recently (stuff like this or this), then don’t hestitate to shout.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 4 Comments

Busharat Ali rocks!

Mr Ali (and people like him) should try to understand that people like me regard falsified campaign material to be a betrayal of the trust of the electorate… and poorly-executed falsification to be an insult to our intelligence….

Busharat Ali rocks! Click. Share. Enjoy.

Posted in Photoshopping | 2 Comments

Labour candidate Busharat Ali fakes protest photo

Lib Dem Voice – Are Labour faking photos in Bristol?

Looks like a slam-dunk to me.

UPDATE – There’s something about inept photo manipulation that really doesn’t sit well with me, so I popped by Busharat Ali’s online photo album, borrowed a snapshot, and made a version of the offending image for Mr Ali that is of far superior quality. He is welcome to use it for campaigning purposes.

Busharat Ali

UPDATE – Ahahahahahahahaha! You’ll want to check out Busharat Ali’s campaign videos on YouTube here and here. The supers on the ‘Working for Bristol’ video will have you in stitches. The second video has only one super, the URL of his website, and they even managed to muck that up!

UPDATE (27 April) – The videos were removed last night, but a mirror of both can be found here.

UPDATE (30 April) – I’ve found two more Busharat Ali campaign videos on Google Video here and here.

Posted in Photoshopping | 12 Comments

A doozy from Dale

Iain Dale’s Dairy – Explain yourself, Iain

I’ll remain calm and measured as I point out at incitement to murder is a criminal offence… I wouldn’t want to upstage everyone’s favourite drama queen.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off on A doozy from Dale

‘Guido Fawkes’: yet another mass-deletion of comments

Guido 2.0 – Paul Staines is a fact-murderer!

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Headline of the year

Mark Thomas – ‘Tony Blair is a cult’

Applause for that… and this:

Indymedia – Mass lone demo breaks Guinness Book of Records

Posted in The War on Stupid | Comments Off on Headline of the year


BBC – ‘No guarantee’ in terrorism fight: The government “cannot guarantee 100% success” in its fight against terrorism, the home secretary says. John Reid said he could only promise “100% commitment” from police, security services and the Home Office as it shifts its focus to security.

I can offer Reid a certainty… he can be absolutely sure that cynical manipulation of the terrorist threat will only exacerbate the problem:

Independent – Anti-terrorism leaks blamed on spin doctors: Tony Blair is resisting demands for a full inquiry into accusations that lives have been put at risk by leaks from Whitehall about police anti-terrorism operations. Peter Clarke, deputy assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner, provoked uproar when he denounced “misguided individuals who betray confidences” about raids on suspected al-Qa’ida sympathisers. Mr Clarke, the country’s most senior anti-terrorist police chief, suggested that those responsible were trying to “squeeze out some short-term presentational advantage” by giving secret information.

When Jo Moore watched desperate people leaping to their deaths from burning towers, her first thought was about burying bad news about councillors’ expenses.

When the police wanted to make a case for crippling Brian Haw’s ongoing protest, they made the absurd claim that terrorists could hide bombs in his encampment.

Major anti-terror operations appear to have been botched not once but twice by those seeking political advantage and there has not been an investigation into either affair.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

It erodes public trust, it creates operational difficulties, and it even creates more terrorists… especially when you use terrorism as a pretext for invasion of another country (more), immediately releasing small arms and explosives before swiftly moving on to produce excellent recruitment material for every trigger-happy dipshit in an already-unstable region.

Oh, and don’t think for a second that getting rid of Blair or even bringing the Tories in will mean an end to it….

Bloggerheads – The New Conservatives: Parallels and Realities: The Conservatives are quite adept at riding upon the level of distrust borne from what has happened in Iraq (and many other callous manipulations of the ‘war’ on terror) without acknowledging their often willing role… And this is what makes Paul Staines so very, very useful to the Conservatives; with what is widely perceived as a ‘take them all down’ attack in a time of unprecedented distrust and distance, ‘Guido’ can pick off individual targets and/or ensure that money this, peerage that or cocktail sausage in the other is what officially brings about their downfall… and not Iraq, torture or the manipulation of fear to further a political agenda. I’m sure you can guess why this would be a desirable development for them.

UPDATE – That Home Office reform plan in full.

Posted in The War on Stupid | Comments Off on Certainties

Some notes on the Newmania / Paul Newman ‘scandal’

Islington Tribune – ‘Roadkill’ jibe sparks storm: Islington Tory Paul Newman should have known that jokes on the internet can backfire. Mr Newman, 42, maintains he was referring to his colleagues in Mildmay when he contributed what he thought was a witty riposte on a blog by national Tory pundit Iain Dale. However, Islington Lib Dems seized on the comments. Mr Newman, who works in insurance and is vice-chairman of Islington North Tories, wrote: “I have to confess that the denizens of Mildmay are almost bestially stupid. There is not a lot you can do with them… they live from roadkill and sleep under newspaper.” He was, he says, referring not to the residents of the ward, but to his own political colleagues and their inability to deliver documents on time.


Liberal Democrat Voice – “Almost bestially stupid”: top Tory’s verdict on Islington residents
Islington Newmania – Anyway back to me …
Sword in the Lake – Newman Offers “Galloway” Defence
Islington Newmania – Bovvered I am not

1. It is my own personal opinion that Mr Newman is a partisan arse of not-quite-the-highest order, but…

2. This has a whiff of the Jody Dunn affair about it (relevant blog entry archived here), and the Lib-Dems involved should know better.

3. If you read the relevant comments in sequence/context (1, 2, 3*) it’s pretty clear that Newmania is indeed talking about his Conservative colleagues and not the residents of Mildmay in general.

4. There are many far more interesting/damaging comments posted under the name ‘Newmania’ on a variety of British political blogs, but not all of them can be guaranteed to be from Paul Newman…. especially on blogs like Iain Dale’s. Dale is desperate to keep his comment numbers up (it’s a measure of popularity dontchaknow), and so has returned to regular use of the system that allows anyone to post under any name, and even pose as other Blogger users if they wish. And, because Paul Newman does not use a profile image, under these conditions (i.e. on a Blogger-based site where anyone can comment, not just registered users of Blogger), *no* comment by ‘Newmania’ can be confirmed as authentic without he or the relevant blog author confirming it. A handy situation for sock-puppeting nitwits and any genuine profile user who wishes to enjoy a level of plausible deniability.

5. Hooray for the playground-level taunts and insults currently being thrown about by Paul Newman’s supporters. You actually have a case to make, and you’re wasting time and effort calling people names? WTF is up with that?

6. Efforts have been made to avoid tarring all Conservatives with the same brush during the recent Bit Of Necessary. Perhaps Paul might consider the possibility that the actions of one or two Liberal Democrats fall a little short of establishing a ‘Fib Dem’ theorem.

7. Paul, when Catherine Tate’s character Lauren Cooper insists that she ‘ain’t bovvered’, she actually reveals how bothered she really is (and/or, in some cases, presents a clear example of a rather reckless dismissal). Please try to use this catchphrase correctly in future.

8. You can look forward to more of this as the council election campaigns heat up. Keep a sharp eye out for the following from all sides:
a) This kind of cherry-picking
b) Anonymous weblogs that go live with smears and false claims that campaigners dare not publish in local literature
c) Similar abuse of weblogs that allow people to comment or otherwise submit material anonymously
d) Co-ordinated sock-puppet attacks on anyone who dares to blog with any level of transparency/integrity.

I did try to warn you about the latter elements. Oh, and if you think this is fun, just wait until the next general election.

[*Psst! Iain! Individual comment permalinks do come in handy on long discussion threads… please sort it out.]

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 4 Comments