Archive for the ‘Page 3 – News in Briefs’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 29, 2007

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

Page 3 opinion shock!The Scum – You are undie surveillance: Officials are bracing themselves for a storm of public outrage over their controversial X-ray cameras scheme. As part of the most shocking extension of Big Brother powers ever planned here, lenses in lampposts would snap “naked” pictures of passers-by to trap terror suspects. The proposal is contained in leaked documents drawn up by the Home Office and presented to PM Tony Blair’s working group on Security, Crime and Justice.

The Scum Says – X-ray spies: The prospect of X-ray cameras at every street corner is truly terrifying. If that’s not Big Brother, we don’t know what is. Ministers are right to do everything to protect us from terrorists. But we draw the line at such an invasion of privacy – and privates.

Today on Page 3, Kelley has ‘mixed feelings’ over the idea of anti-terror X-ray machines that can see through clothes and says: “I’m for it – I’ve nothing to hide. But some will see it as yet more intrusion.”

Hmmm. Well, I could make an unfair comment about Keeley having “nothing to hide” or focus on the fallacy of the ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ argument, but I think instead I’ll point out the one itty-bitty-bit-of-titty thing that’s bugging me this morning:

Yes, when a leak hits The Downing Street Echo, it’s usually there to sell an idea, not scupper one. But, even though Big John isn’t mentioned by named in this piece, this is almost certainly part of Operation ‘Get Reid’ (1, 2, 3).

What makes this such an oddity is that normally, when the same issue is addressed on Page 3 and the main editorial (i.e. often), the ‘opinion’ of the model is 100% in keeping with the opinion of editor Rebekah Wade… but not this time.

What gives?

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 25, 2007

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement

Hi folks. Yes, this is another long post that takes a closer look at ‘Guido Fawkes’ and related issues, but this one comes complete with its own knockers…

The Independent – When it comes to a debate on Iraq, Tony Blair goes missing: Tony Blair has been accused of treating the House of Commons with contempt by failing to stay in the chamber to hear MPs protest about his disastrous handling of the chaos in Iraq. As MPs yesterday staged the first Iraq debate in government time since the war, the Prime Minister retreated to the quiet of his oak-panelled office behind the Speaker’s chair to prepare for a series of private meetings on more pressing matters – the row over gay adoption, a weekly briefing with a handful of senior backbenchers, and a speech to the CBI… Inside the conference, there was no mention of Iraq. “This is my second question time of the day; I think you are more polite than my first audience,” he told CBI representatives.

How interesting…. Blair runs away from the debate, leaving his flunkies to make odd noises designed to make you feel guilty about having the debate in the first place, and – from a safe distance – uses a one-liner to take a cheap shot at his challengers.

Does this remind you of anyone?

Page 3: John ReidMore on this further down the line. First, there’s the glorious return of hard-edged political opinion on Page 3. (Yes, I’ve been busy watching, even though I’ve been ‘away’.)

Today, lovely Nikkala (24, from Middlesex) is ‘astounded’ that the Home Office is in such a terrible state and says; “John Reid is a joke. We have dangerous criminals on the run, foreign prisoners let out – now jails are full. What next?”

Thank you, Nikkala.

One reason why the The Sun gets away with operating as The Downing Street Echo so often is that – at first glance – they appear to be even-handed in their ongoing ‘war on evil’; on the tits face of things, Blair gets a hammering just as much as the other guy. But in reality, the readership is usually so blinded by their own hate and fear that they fail to realise that The Scum only lay into Blair or a member of his cabinet if a certain cabinet member is not to their liking and/or if Murdoch/Wade are trying to bitch-slap Blair or a member of his cabinet into line (usually on issues such as the EU, crime or immigration… and in this case, crime and immigration).

I’ve written about face/leg proximity of placement before, but I just want to jot a quick note about that right now and instead focus on the subject of the editorial I once used as an example of this; David Blunkett.

While I’ve been away, one small project I’ve busied myself with is a full dossier of Page 3 editorials… and something interesting has cropped up that I had not noticed before…

What I’m about to show you is a series of Page 3 editorials published between the dates of August 13, 2004 and August 17, 2004. There are a few things you need to keep in mind before you read them:

1. Page 3 editorials often bang on about the immorality or stupidity of this affair or that (in fact, there was one chiding Wayne Rooney on Aug 25 of the same year).

2. Over a period of about a week when the Blunkett affair was front page news everywhere (including The Scum), not one single Page 3 editorial appeared telling him what a naughty boy he was.

3. The media were not reporting on this at all until Blunkett dealt with the inevitable via NOTW on 15 August, 2004.

4. NOTW led the way with the ‘hard-working Home Secretary’ line, and The Sun followed this and went the extra mile by doing everything they could to cast Kimberley Quinn as a heartless, scheming monster out to wreck Blunkett’s career (example).

5. It became increasingly clear following these revelations how close Sun editor Rebekah Wade was (and is) to David Blunkett. Also, Blunkett had been dancing to Murdoch’s tune for years before (see: bitch-slapping, crime and immigration); in short, he was A Very Handy Home Secretary To Have On Board.

Now, watch this:

Page 3 propaganda

Notice anything?

Yep: Home Office initiative, Home Office initiative, Home Office initiative.

Notice anything else?

Yep: The date on that first one is from the Friday before news of the affair was in the public domain (i.e. before Blunkett used another Murdoch title to push his line on the affair in an attempt to save his career).

Conclusion: David Blunkett knowingly acceded to the use of propaganda on Page 3 for his benefit, and did so with careful forethought.

Now, does anyone wish to explain to the class the definition of propaganda and how this classifies as same? Anyone? Bueller?*

[*Note – Fans of Ferris Bueller will, of course, contest that this commonly-used sign-off is not a correct quote, but rather, a useful composite of two quotes. I fully acknowledge this. I also choose to keep to myself the reason(s) why I am thinking about that lovable, cheeky scamp today.]

By now you’re probably wondering why this is about Paul Staines (he who likes to swan about town under the name ‘Guido Fawkes’).

Well, let me tell you:

I’ve discussed this directly with Staines on a number of occasions, and – happily – his official line on this was published right here:

“Some time ago, sparked by Tim’s obssession [sic], I asked Trevor Kavanagh about the Page 3 girl’s political [sic] reported political views. He basically said they did it to wind up people like Tim.” – Paul Staines

The first thing to note is Staines’ use of the word ‘obsession’ (see: briefing).

The second is another apparent reason to ‘let it go’… they are only doing this to wind me up. It’s just a bit of a larf.

I’m not entirely sure if Staines is buying this idea or trying to sell it… but I do know that it’s based on an extremely dishonest argument:

What winds me up about it is that it has a carefully disguised purpose; but this argument seeks to deny the existence of that purpose (and discourage me from looking into it) by claiming that it has no purpose but to wind me up. But what winds me up about it is…

So, back to Staines… I’ve seen a few comments around about his Guido Fawkes site being compared to The Sun on 18 Tory Street recently. I’m not sure in what context, but I think it’s a fair comparison.

Many people think that what the character Staines has invented does is ‘wind people up’ for ‘a bit of a larf’, and on the surface it would appear that he takes no prisoners… but I contend that the Guido Fawkes weblog also has a carefully disguised purpose, and that the New Tory relationship with him is not unlike that between The Sun and New Labour.

Paul Staines takes all sorts of cheap shots at the other parties (more on this below), but at the same time, he also seeks to bend and shape the Conservative party to his will.

There’s even a Page 3 parallel… Staines also uses what he calls ‘totty’ (in a strictly post-modern sense, obviously) as a political weapon:

Now, you may notice the odd left-wing totty piece over at Staines’ site, but these are carefully balanced with ‘ugly’ attacks. (Basically, the “Would you want to sleep with a sandal-wearing, lentil-munching soap-dodger?” line of thinking that has also manifested itself recently as one of Team Guido’s key reasons why bloggers should ignore what I say about ‘Guido’; like most lefties – apparently – I am ugly, fat, flatulent and cannot get a girlfriend.)

New Tory, on the other hand, is the All Teh Sexy…

What you mostly see at Staines’ weblog is; Tory totty, Tory totty, Tory totty, Tory totty, Tory totty, Tory totty.

See? The Tories not only have snazzier uniforms, they get a shot at hotter totty, too (come join us, join us, do).

Compare this with Page 3:

The purpose of the Page 3 editorials is clear; what once used to be a small level of detail that allowed wank-happy readers to imagine themselves being a little bit closer to the model currently contains a political view. It’s not quite as straightforward as Pavlov, but generally the idea is that now the wank-happy reader needs to adopt, favour or entertain a political view before they can imagine themselves being close to the model.

Where I come from, we call this “thinking with your dick” (which, I’m sure you’re aware, mostly leads to trouble and regret).

And now, finally, we bounce back to this morning’s Independent and approach the close…

The Conservatives have mentioned the war (once), and they think they’ve gotten away with it:

Independent – Steve Richards: Blair looks weak and cowardly, while both Labour and the Tories are trapped by Iraq: The calamity of Iraq hovers darkly over a confused and bewildered Government, sapping its morale and draining any moral energy. It hovers over the House of Commons too. Some argue that Britain’s support for the war highlights an urgent need for constitutional reform. There is such a need, but that has nothing to do with the war. Too conveniently the constitution gets the blame for the decision taken by ministers and a big majority of MPs to support Tony Blair. In reality minister and MPs could have blocked Blair, but chose not to do so… If the Conservatives had opposed the war from the beginning, Blair would not have dared to take as many political risks. Instead they were with him all the way. Do not underestimate the significance of this.

And, as this opinion piece also points out, they cannot credibly claim to have been ‘duped into it’ (but this doesn’t stop them from bandying this notion about in arenas where it is less likely to be actively scrutinised).

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*.

[*Note – if you want to be exceedingly generous, feel free to argue that the Tories have been repeatedly cornered by a political need to ‘out -tough’ New Labour.]

If it helps, try picturing a surfer who requires at least a passing knowledge of tides if he wants to catch a decent wave, but denies all knowledge of such things because he “Just wants to surf, dude!”

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.

It is equally useful to the Conservatives that discussion of wider issue(s) on any given topic is strictly forbidden at the Guido Fawkes website… and a closer look at Staines’ editorial choices is even more revealing…

An excellent example; you may want to have a poke around Staines’ website and see how many features he has run on the subject of torture (or, if you prefer, ‘extraordinary rendition’). The subject is used repeatedly to bash Labour (both old and new) under comments, but features? I had trouble finding any. You can go and have a look and see for yourself if you like, but the real ‘tell’ for me was that the hero-blogger who claims the fearless leaking of secret documents as part of his shtick did not take part in – or even link to – Craig Murray’s release of the torture memos in late December 2005 (you can read a nice round-up of this activity here).

At the time, Staines even claimed that things were “thin politically”, and therefore he had nothing to report. (Psst! You can see a subtle little dig from me here. Guido would have deleted anything more overt.)

Further, when Paul Staines and Iain Dale first began cooking up their Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze, they produced this list of scandals. In this long list, Iraq gets a passing mention under ‘David Kelly commits suicide’ and torture is not mentioned AT ALL.

[MINI-UPDATE – Yes, I’m aware of Iain Dale’s ongoing support for the war… but it is possible to support the war and still be alarmed by the way the Blair government conducted themselves. No, really. And you’re not going to get far applauding the removal of a torturing, murdering bastard if you keep schtum about those who torture and murder for our side.]

Have a look through the comments on that last link and you’ll see a few people picking up on the omissions. You may also notice that Iain Dale does not respond to these comments. In the relevant ‘Guido’ thread, you’ll find no mention of Iraq and torture (and you’re probably already aware that I have a little theory that explains why none would remain, even if they were published in the first instance).

Now, I make no excuses for initially buying into Staines’ and Dale’s bullshit – it was an error, and not one that I plan on repeating – but at the time, I was more concerned about adding what was missing rather looking at what was missing and wondering why.

First, I approached Iain Dale about a chapter on Page 3 and suggested that Craig Murray cover torture. Like Staines, Dale “couldn’t understand” why Page 3 was an issue, so instead I wrote the chapter about torture (a key subject that should have been an obvious inclusion in the draft list, but wasn’t).

It wasn’t until I received my hard copy of the book that I realised that neither ‘editor’ had actually read the fucking thing! (Hint: if you have the book to hand, there’s an obvious copy error/omission in the last paragraph of my article.)

You may have to be a Douglas Adams fan to get this next bit (clue/spoiler)…

Now, there are some things the Conservatives cannot openly avoid when challenged, but what they appear to be doing is not walking out the door and facing the real world, but instead climbing out of the window into a universe that has been created especially for them.

Paul Staines is one of the budding architects of this false reality.

Because it is damaging to the blog community and our democracy, I wish to make people aware of that.

I also think the Conservatives deserve a special heads-up… I’m not sure if they realise the impact the ‘vision’ of an architect can have on any given project.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 17, 2007

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

Post of the day, and no mistake:

Obsolete – Scum-watch: Feeble corrections and the whimpering of an exposed page 3 girl

I especially love the part where The Scum chide another newspaper for being ‘downmarket’.


I’m also tempted to find/download* the tape just so I can see if young Keeley chugs as enthusiastically for her boyfriend as she does for Rebekah Wade:

Here’s Keeley Hazell being shocked at the sick rants of Omar Bakri Mohammed for Rebekah Wade

Here’s Keeley Hazell bagging Clare Short for Rebekah Wade

Here’s Keeley Hazell slagging off Gordon Brown for Rebekah Wade

Here’s Keeley Hazell praising Rebekah Wade for saving a whale carcass

Remember, folks; Page 3, not unlike Guido’s blog, is just a harmless bit of fun until someone puts an eye out.

(*Please be aware that many sites discussing this tape have seen fit to issue a ‘repeated images of hairy man-ass’ warning. Oh, and for those who don’t get the headline, I offer this link to an alternative NSFW video.)

UPDATE – There’s more on the other matter and the resulting ‘cursory four-line apology’ here.

UPDATE – How PR works: 1, 2, 3

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 15, 2007

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Page 3 - News in Briefs, Tony 'King Blair

Huzzah! We’re up and running and ready to roll! Here’s a round-up to get us all started, before the long-promised big’un…

First, there’s some quality reading regarding Blair’s self-serving, blame-seeking speech:

Independent – Shoot the messenger: PM blames media for anti-war mood
Independent – Adrian Hamilton: Blair is up to his tired old tricks again
Obsolete – The continuing last gasps of our very own messiah
BSSC – Repeat until Believable
Blair Watch – Tony’s Defence: Nice of Blair to notice us at last

(Speaking of Blair, Liam Bailey has a few words to say about Tony and his ‘legacy’, and BSSC has a couple of corruption nuggets. More on the latter here.)

Then there’s Bush going it alone:

CNN – Bush: Congress can’t stop troop increase: “I really am not the kind of guy that sits here and says, ‘Oh, gosh, I’m worried about my legacy.’ I’m more worried about making the right decisions to protect the United States of America. See, we’re in a war. People want to come and attack you and attack our country. I understand criticism. But I’ve got a pretty thick hide.”

‘Skull’…. he meant to say ‘skull’. He must have misspoke, because Bush is one of the most thin-skinned leaders alive (FFS, everywhere he goes, he makes sure that everyone who disagrees with him is locked up in a pen a mile down the road) and there’s no way he would lie, right?


The use of the word ‘legacy’ in this context seems very deliberate, though; I think Bush fears that Blair is going a little soft on him.

Moving right along, Ministry of Truth has a warm welcome for a new Tory blogger:

Ministry of Truth – Mystic Nadine: Not to put to fine a point on it, you are talking out of your arse here, Nadine. You really haven’t got a fucking clue what you’re talking about at all, you’re just parroting some made up ‘statistics’ that have been released by your party to promote one of their policies – and all without a single shred of tangible or reliable evidence to back up any one of your claims… Just because the morons in the media will report any old crap you politicos put out doesn’t mean that us people out here in the real worth will believe it, fail to check it or refrain from ripping you a new arsehole when it turns out that your old one, that you’ve been talking out of for years, is obviously completely and utterly clogged with bullshit.


Finally, there are bound to be a few words this morning about The BBD (Bloody Big Database), but for now all I have for you is Nosemonkey’s response and the glorious oddness of the front page of the Independent being in synch with Page 3 of The Sun:

Johann Hari continues this strange pattern here as he dumbs down his own personal opinion for the benefit of viewers of a certain reality show.

UPDATE – Some nice mince-meating of Johann’s arguments here.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 5, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

David Cameron: the boobs have spokenForget all that broadsheet chatter… today’s Page 3 girl has delivered her verdict on David Cameron:

Danni (19, from Conventry) thinks that “David’s Cameron’s” [sic] first keynote speech as Tory leader showed promise, but – after pausing to have ice-cubes applied to her nipples – she added; “I think the public needs to hear him focus more on policies and less on presentation if the Tories are going to realistically challenge Labour at the next election.”

And… surprise, surprise, today’s editorial by Rebekah Wade backs her to the hilt:

The Sun – Where is the beef, David?: WE ASKED for beef. We were offered cloudy, lukewarm soup. It was no surprise that David Cameron’s keynote speech to the Tories was devoid of new policy. That’s what he promised. But for those who want to know why they should vote Tory next time and not Labour, it was mostly hot air. Sure, he managed to get hostile Tories clapping by praising the NHS. He even wrung some applause by speaking favourably about social workers and single parents, once the hate figures of the Nasty Party. But there was nothing in this speech about immigration, legal or otherwise. There was nothing to suggest he will take on the ever-expanding EU empire. And although there were hints and nudges, there was precious little about the need to do something serious about organised crime. We know from Shadow Chancellor George Osborne that the Tories will never join the euro. And we’ve heard from Home Affairs spokesman David Davis that there would be more new prisons. But it would have been nice to hear the leader of the party put some flesh on the bones of issues like these which are so important to Sun readers. Nobody expected a great speech. Mr Cameron is wise not to try matching Tony Blair’s carefully polished rhetoric. But even a workmanlike speech like this should contain some material on which voters can get a grip. The Conservatives may no longer be the Nasty Party. But they cannot hope to win power just by positioning themselves a quarter of an inch to the right of everything Labour suggests. Nor can they simply hope for an automatic surge in support when Tony Blair finally steps down. We know from Mr Osborne that the party wants lower taxes. His promise of “sound money” is fine, but we need to know more about the way they would manage the economy. We need to know what they intend to do about gridlocked roads, chaotic classrooms, growing unemployment, organised crime. It’s no use waiting almost two years while think tanks come up with the answers in case Labour steals them. Voters will give the Tories their support only when they know what they are backing. And Mr Cameron gave them precious little to go on yesterday.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Tories and conferences… Anne Milton is currently blogging from the front lines, but something appears to have escaped her attention.

UPDATE – Yo! ‘Nother Webcameron vid. Check it.

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 27, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

What a performance!Sure, you could read Teh Speech in full. You may even choose to peruse a leisurely fisk or a slightly more detailed/impassioned one that’s due over at Blair Watch any minute now. You may even take the time to consider that the word ‘performance’ has more than one meaning and/or wonder quietly how well the speech would have fared if every major passage ended with the words; “… and all we had to do was break a few teensy-tiny rules.”

But we all know what really matters is what Rupert Murdoch Rebekah Wade thinks… and how Rebekah Wade the girl on Page 3 chooses to express that view…

Today Zoe (‘author’ of the most audacious Page 3 editorial of all time) hails Blair’s speech as “simply the best” and says; “What a performance! He showed all the qualities that attracted millions of voters in 1997. It will be very interesting to see whether his departure rebounds on Labour come the next election.”

I’m also repeating today’s extended editorial so it may be preserved for the ages (like Blair’s speech, it’s as bold as brass and has a little bit of everything):

The Sun Says – Labour will miss Blair when the tears have dried: Has Labour gone stark staring mad? It is hard to reach any other conclusion after seeing the party stand and cheer the most successful leader they’ve ever had – the man they’ve forced out of office. In what will go down as the speech of his life, Tony Blair spelled out what he has done for his party – and what they have done to him. He sprinkled his delivery with good jokes – the best about his wife Cherie and the next door neighbour. And he played skilfully on an audience that is fast regretting its act of regicide. Tearful delegates were left in no doubt about their monstrous act of ingratitude. He recalled how Labour spent 18 years in Opposition until he rescued them in 1997 and led them to three “unique” victories. He listed Labour’s subsequent successes – at one point cheekily claiming success over immigration and crime. Some were near tears as he admitted: “You can’t go on forever. I won’t be leading you into the next election.” But he made clear he won’t be bundled out until May – as revealed by The Sun – when he marks “10 years in the hot seat” as Prime Minister. It all had an eerie reminder of 1990, when the Tories brought down their greatest winner Margaret Thatcher after 10 years in power. With that act the Tories sowed the seeds of their own destruction and opened the door for Tony Blair. Yesterday, Gordon Brown applauded as his old friend and rival paid tribute to his “remarkable” contribution to Labour’s long run in power. But that was it. There was no endorsement of Gordon as successor – and no handshake afterwards. Worse, he utterly eclipsed the Chancellor’s own low-key speech the previous day. While Mr Brown was perfectly competent, the PM was the maestro, pitch perfect with lots of funny lines between the serious stuff. In half a dozen searing sentences he tore the Tories and David Cameron to pieces – although Cameron was the only man breathing a sigh of relief yesterday. There were no tears. Tony Blair wasn’t going to give his executioners that pleasure. This was a headmasterly farewell, stern in parts, warm in others. There were swipes at maverick ex-ministers like Clare Short. He compared her to others who “never forgot their principles when in office; and they never discovered them when they left office.” And without a hint of apology, he took them all head-on over the issue that cost him his job – Iraq. He insisted terrorism is not our fault, and denied there was a war against Islam. He even managed to win applause as he reminded them: “Terrorism killed nearly 3,000 people on the streets of New York long before war in Afghanistan or Iraq was even thought of.” The nearest he got to a catch in his voice came as he offered tips on winning a fourth term. They could take his advice or ignore it, he said. “Whatever you do, I’m always with you. Head and heart. Next year I won’t be making this speech.” He continued: “The truth is you can’t go on forever.” But Tony Blair was not telling the full story. He doesn’t want to go. He believes he could have landed them an historic fourth term. So do the weepy delegates who waved placards in the hall pleading with him to stay. Too late now comrades.

UPDATE – Well said, that man…

Independent – An intelligence assessment that gets it right: For Tony Blair to claim, as he did in his speech, the terrorist threat is “not a consequence of foreign policy” on the ground, that terror existed before 9/11 is denying reality to the point of criminal negligence. The British public has just as much right to an accurate assessment of risk and cause as the American public. It should not be deprived of it simply because its Prime Minister wants to avoid shouldering responsibility.

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 13, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Tony 'King Blair

Boobs! Unity! Boobs!What better way to achieve unity than to launch an attack?

Ignore the almost uniquely positive view of Blair’s performance at the TUC conference (and Blair – again – attempting to claim the moral high ground by climbing to the top of the mountain of bodies he has created).

Instead, simply note how closely Blair’s stance matches that of the editorial, and the ‘opinion’ of the girl who appears on Page 3 with her jugs out.

Also note the poisonous attacks against ‘lefties’ who – we are assured – are wholly responsible for repeated attempts to undermine the Labour Party and will no doubt hand power back to the Conservatives if allowed to continue their rampage unchecked.

Tony Blair:

“You are entitled to do this. But you must realise those who are hostile to a Labour government and everything we want to achieve, you are doing precisely what they want. Not very sensible.”

Tony Blair:

“And now we have had three terms of Labour government for the first time ever in 100 years of trying. And every year I’ve come to the TUC as prime minister. But remember the 18 years before, when you never had sight nor sound of a prime minister. For 18 years, you were addressed by the leader of the opposition. The problem with that title is that it’s true to what it says on the tin: the leader opposes. The leader doesn’t do, because he has no power to do anything. However difficult it is, however fraught our relations from time to time, make no mistake: I want the TUC to carry on being addressed by a Labour PM, not go back to being addressed by the leader of the opposition.”

Rebekah Wade:

“What an irrelevance unions have become. The orchestrated walkout by placard-waving hardliners as Tony Blair spoke to the TUC was petulant and stupid. As well as downright disrespectful to the man who, no thanks to them, got their once unelectable party into power after 18 years in opposition. These deluded dinosaurs think that by childishly hollering “troops out” at the PM they speak for us all. They should remember this: Blair was re-elected by the British people just 16 months ago, despite all the flak he was taking over Iraq. If it wasn’t for him the TUC would play host each year to the leader of a permanent opposition. How conveniently these fools forget the enormous changes Blair brought about for their members – and which the TUC should unreservedly applaud: economic stability, more people in work and a minimum wage. Instead Bob Crow thinks it is somehow within his remit to accuse Blair of killing thousands of British servicemen. Meanwhile the TGWU’s Tony Woodley naively expects the Prime Minister to publicly apologise to the TUC for the Iraq war. What planet are they on? OK, so they opposed the Iraq invasion. But surely they and their members should now welcome the new democracies – and union rights – in place there and in Afghanistan. Gordon Brown did well to stand firmly behind his boss and publicly condemn the protests. That’s the kind of outspokenness The Sun demanded of him if he’s to look like a PM-in-waiting. We look forward to more of it at the party conference this month. Blair rightly pointed out with some anger that the turmoil union hardliners seem set on causing within Labour plays into Tory hands. But you wonder if they don’t feel more at home yelling slogans from the opposition trenches anyway. The Bob Crows of this world won’t be happy until Labour is back in the hands of the 1970s-style Lefties voters no longer tolerate. Many Sun readers are in unions. They want and deserve a modern, progressive movement which is in touch with 2006, not this backwards-looking rabble. What a breath of fresh air that would be. How delighted Blair must now be to have given his last TUC speech. Yesterday’s troublemakers were in a minority. But the rest were too timid to send him off with anything but a 23-second ripple of applause. It was a disgracefully lacklustre farewell for a Labour Prime Minister of nearly ten years’ standing. Union membership is collapsing, and no wonder. In another few years they’ll struggle to fill a conference hall.”

Sexy Ami (who was sad to see Tony Blair booed at yesterday’s TUC conference):

“Delegates were daft to jeer and walk out when Blair was speaking. I’m just glad that Gordon Brown backed Blair on this occasion”

On this occasion. Aren’t you glad we live in times when glamour models can have their words so carefully chosen for them?

UPDATE (14 Sep) – OK, folks… it’s all over. Move along… nothing to see here!

Zoe (24, from London) is relieved that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have finally ended their rift. She says: “Hopefully they can get on with running the country and end all the bad blood. I think the whole bust-up didn’t do them – or Labour – any favours.”

Zoe speaks the truth!

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 10, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

Congratulations to Labour Councillor Martin Whelton, who has copied and pasted written a passage that’s so concise, carefully-focused and on-message that it stands a very good chance of being tomorrow’s Page 3 editorial

Blogging4Merton – Airport security alerts: The Government is right to take whatever action is necessary to ensure the security of its citizen and I find it hard to fathom that some believe it is an overreaction given the events that have happened overnight.

(PS – Can someone please inform Martin that the government is actually responsible for the security of more than one citizen? It could be a typo, but you never can tell with Blairites.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 26, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, Tony 'King Blair

Rebekah Wade lets fly... againI want you to look that this from the following point of view….

For many years now, the Sun newspaper as operated shamelessly as a mouthpiece for Downing Street… up to and including propaganda on Page 3.

Recently, that changed.

(If you’re new here, you may want to read the latter link for added background on placement of said propaganda and editorial priorities.)

Currently, many of Murdoch’s newspapers, rather than pushing Blair’s message and/or soft-pedalling bad news, are actually targeting the carotid artery (1, 2).

So those who think they are still dealing with the invincible Blair of yesteryear really should take a close look at editor Rebekah Wade’s total commitment to a kill-shot this morning (front page, double-page spread, page 3, lead editorial *and* cartoon) and know that his days are numbered.

Today, Page 3 stunna Ami (19, from Birmingham) is ‘outraged’ that so many foreign criminals were left to roam the streets instead of being reported and ‘says’: “It really is a shocking state of affairs. Sun readers will be absolutely furious. How can you possibly feel safe?”

The editorial – right down to the headline – is pretty unequivocal…

The Scum – Clarke must go: HUNDREDS of ex-cons who should have been kicked out of Britain are loose on our streets – and police haven’t a clue where to find them. They include three murderers, nine rapists and five child sex fiends. Others were banged up for manslaughter, thuggery, drugs and robbery. All were candidates for deportation. A flushed and sweating Charles Clarke admits people are entitled to be “concerned, possibly angry”. That’s not good enough. People are entitled to the Home Secretary’s resignation – or instant dismissal for rank negligence. Incredibly, 288 criminals have gone missing since he was first warned about the crisis. Labour’s “tough on crime” boast is a joke. Key staff do not talk to each other. As a result, dangerous hardmen are rated “low risk” and set free to kill and rape again by officials who don’t read their records. Probation staff – when they are not off sick – can’t be bothered to keep tabs. Now, almost by accident, we learn hundreds of foreign crooks have disappeared without trace. Mr Clarke, the government’s “Captain Chaos”, shrugs it off as a communications breakdown. But there is a theme to these government “blind spots”. Ministers are desperate to avoid enraging the Left by cracking down on illegals. Deportations are rare. Yet jails are bursting at the seams because 10,000 inmates – one in eight of all prisoners – are foreign-born, most of them asylum cheats. Is it possible the Government would prefer killers to disappear without trace rather than be seen loading them on the next plane home? The Home Secretary insists he is not in the “blame game”. Well, we ARE. And we blame YOU, Mr Clarke.

I remain determined to see Rupert Murdoch’s shrivelled arse nailed to a wall and Rebekah Wade’s poisonous tongue tied to a moving vehicle, but today the primary message is that Blair can no longer rely on Murdoch’s newspapers to maintain the grand illusion. He is finished.

UPDATE (27th April) – more below the fold:


Posted by Tim Ireland at March 22, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Tony 'King Blair

Boobs against BlairPage 3 is back on deck… with a new message.

(Note – It’s been a while since I’ve reported on Page 3… for reasons that should become clear within a paragraph or two. Newcomers may wish to check out the initial report and sightings that followed.)

Last year, Page 3 underwent a subtle change, which was noted here, when – for the second time in 12 months – a Page 3 girl wept at Blunkett’s departure: Today, the only difference is Rebekah Wade’s recent design order that places more contentious views away from the model’s face

Further; with the exception of this contribution to Rupert Murdoch’s annual anti-secular Christmas campaign, Page 3 has been largely silent on the subject of politics since Rebekah Wade’s 90-day detention adventure (followed by Bloggerheads posts at such as this and this).

I get all sorts of strange looks from the locals these days, as I have a morning ritual that I adhere to strictly… I reach for the Sun and scan Page 3, before buying a copy of the Independent. I share this titbit of information with you to:
a) garner your sympathy
b) let you know that I have been paying attention, and can therefore speak with some authority on this matter

Now, lurkers with LexisNexis may wish to double-check my work, but as far as I am aware, there has not been a serious political message on Page 3 for the last 4 months and 12 days. (I seem to recall a bleat or two about crime rates, but for the most part it’s all been about the disgraceful/admirable behaviour of one celeb or another.)

Today, the message is back next to the model’s face, it’s very political in nature… and it is almost certainly not a message that has been drafted or approved by Downing Street:

Becky (24, from London) shows off her pert boobies as she tells us that politicians need to clean up their act if they want to get our votes. She then ‘says’; “The loans-for-peerages row has only made people question the work of the government more.”

Make of that what you will.

UPDATE (23 March) – More from Page 3 today, where topless favourite Keeley gets her kit off to claim that the budget shows how desperate Gordon Brown is to get into No. 10. She ‘says’: “He’s giving away money so voters back him. But is it a Budget on the never-never from a Chancellor who might never be PM?”

Tits and wit; a winning combination.

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