Archive for the ‘Tony ‘King Blair’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 27, 2005

Category: The War on Stupid, Tony 'King Blair

I don’t care if it’s in Belmarsh, my own home, or a sodding budgie cage… detention without trial is detention without trial. And I’m simply delighted to wake up in a country that will now allow the same treatment of its own citizens. In the interests of fairness, you understand…

BBC – Clarke set for terror plan fight: Charles Clarke’s “control orders” mean UK and foreign citizens suspected of terrorist involvement could be subject to house arrest, curfews or tagging. The Law Society has already dubbed the plans an “abuse of power”.

Guardian – Wider still and wider: First the good news. The home secretary signalled yesterday he does not want a continuing battle with the law lords – or with the opposition parties – over where the line between security and liberty should be drawn. Instead, Charles Clarke accepted the law lords’ ruling in December that current anti-terrorist law, under which suspect foreign nationals are being held in indefinite detention without charge or trial, was unlawful… The bad news is serious. Where the previous act was confined to foreign nationals with links to groups involved with the al-Qaida terrorist network, the new order will be wider in scope (animal rights extremists, suspected Irish terrorists and others will be covered) and applicable to all British subjects. More seriously still, the orders will be imposed by a politician, the home secretary, on security service evidence that will be both untested and unknown to arrested suspects or their lawyers.

Did you catch that last bit? You don’t even need to be linked to the organisation we’re technically/maybe at ‘war’ with.

There are many links here; I suggest you follow them:
Europhobia – It’s for your own good, you know

UPDATE – Boris Johnson: “Just what the hell does Charles Clarke think he is doing, arrogating the power – TO HIMSELF – to detain people indefinitely without trial?”

UPDATE – BBC – Anti-terror measures: Your reaction

Well, isn’t that interesting? Richard Desmond appears to be trying to get on Tony’s good side by not running the images and instead reminding us what this fight is ‘really’ about… and that we could all get blowed up…

BBC – ‘Abuse’ pictures dominate papers: The Express is the only paper that does not feature images of alleged abuse on its front page. Instead the paper leads with a special investigation by two of its reporters trying to show “how easy it is for bombers to get into Britain”. It describes how they smuggled fake bombs across the Channel by boat, then took them to various places including the London Eye and Heathrow airport.

Normally, this is the kind of helpful stunt The Sun would pull.

For the record, I should note that I didn’t see a newspaper rack until late yesterday, but when I did I found that the Express also bigged-up the Omar Bakri Mohammed ‘story’. And today they continue the good work.

(Oh, and I haven’t seen a newspaper this morning, either… so I don’t know what the girl with the tits thinks.)

One would almost think that the Bakri matter was pushed/generated in expectation of the release of these pictures, in order to reach that fuzzy area in the back of people’s brains that still links the war in Iraq with the War on Terror… a link that in some small way is supposed to excuse these pictures.

In fact, while The Sun has run with the pictures today, they tie up the messy ends with the following neat little bow….

The Sun – Army’s shame: The country is asking one question today: How COULD the British Army let such terrible things happen? The truth is that only a few revolting individuals have allowed themselves to sink so low… The fine work of 99 per cent of our magnificent Army has been tarnished by a handful of morons. The Sun feels deep sympathy for the mistreated Iraqis, and we know our readers will too. The soldiers on trial must, if convicted, pay a heavy penalty. That is vital. We cannot afford to let the likes of Omar Bakri, the fanatical Muslim cleric, try to make mileage out of these events.

I’m sorry, but I feel the need to correct that middle sentence… The fine work of 100 per cent of our magnificent Army has been tarnished by a handful of morons that are in charge.

Blair! Hoon! Stop pretending to cry at the back there and pay attention! This concerns you.

The same strategists who worked so hard to link the invasion of Iraq with the War on Terror at home did equally fine work contributing to the mentality of our troops. Mix a getsomegetsomegetsome atitude with a false picture of the population you’re invading (Iraqis were responsible for 911, don’t you know), and you’re away.

Combine this with the practice of bagging/hooding that magically turns people into objects, and you have your very own recipe for disaster.

Of course, an incident like this happening so early in the war should have been a warning sign for someone senior along the way. Unless of course such a go-getter attitude was seen as a necessary evil. Or perhaps even a desirable attribute, given that someone would have to get tough sooner or later in order to track down those pesky WMDs. That never existed.

But what makes me angriest about this is that – while no-one is stupid enough to be quite as overt as Rumsfeld about it (though The Sun tries) – the same game to win hearts and minds that led to this is still being played in order to excuse it.

Iraq, Friendly Fire, Civilian Casualties, and a Total Lack Of Torture
Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib

UPDATE – Today’s topless totty has been moved to page 7. There, Ruthie (23, from Kent) is angered by photos of British troops abusing Iraqi prisoners and turns away from the camera to show a suitably respectful hint of nipple. She says: “Stories like this play right into the hands of our enemies. People who abuse prisoners should be punished.”

And by that she means pilloried.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 18, 2005

Category: Humanity, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The War on Stupid, Tony 'King Blair

Guardian – Court martial told of soldiers’ ‘appalling’ abuse: Three British soldiers carried out “shocking and appalling” physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners that was photographed by servicemen, a court martial heard today. Twenty-two photographs were released by a British military court in Germany where the court martial of the three accused Royal Regiment of Fusiliers soldiers opened today. Among the disturbing images was a picture of two naked Iraqi men simulating anal sex with their thumbs raised up to the cameras. There was also a close-up picture of two Iraqis simulating oral sex.

Is it just me, or do these new pictures look disturbing familiar in theme and content?

Dear oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear… how could this have happened?

UPDATE – Not connected to the above in any way, shape or form. By the way, none of this is real because the images the Mirror published were fake.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 14, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tony 'King Blair, UK General Election 2005

I think we can look forward to the announcement of an election date shortly. We’re at the stage of last-minute manoeuvres.

Speaking of which, you may recall that Labour sent two last-minute text-messages before the 2001 election; one mocking the hard-drinking cap-wearing then Tory leader William Hague and one promising longer licensing hours. Years later, and on the eve of an election announcement, we finally see some action on “flexible closing times”.

But let’s get down to yesterday’s meat and two veg…

BBC – In full: Blair speech

BBC – Blair stresses prosperity goals: Tony Blair says his party’s next manifesto will be “unremittingly New Labour” and aimed at producing “personal prosperity for all”. The prime minister is trying to draw a line under speculation over the state of his relationship with Gordon Brown with the speech in Chatham, Kent. He said that prosperity meant both individual wealth and ensuring “radically improved” public services. He also claimed Labour was more ideologically united than ever.

Telegraph – Blair postures where Thatcher revolutionised: The central purpose of New Labour is to increase personal prosperity and wellbeing, not just for a few, but for all. Thus the Prime Minister yesterday, in his first practice run for the hustings. As a philosophy, it’s only marginally more controversial than admitting being in favour of motherhood and apple pie, yet, like so much else in his long speech yesterday, it bears only a nodding acquaintance with what his Government has really done in its first seven years.

Guardian – Blair sets out campaign stall: Tony Blair yesterday set the stage for a “pocket book” election in which he hopes to fend off New Labour’s opponents by harnessing Britain’s thriving economy to promote “personal prosperity and well-being” for all classes in society.

Guardian – Blair’s reality gap: Yesterday the prime minister’s first political speech of the election fired the opening salvo. It was a standard Blair speech, electioneering by numbers, as he laid out the fundamentals of Labour’s claim to govern again next time. Number one – colour it white – the sound economy, without which nothing else. Then follows a long list of all Labour has done, mostly impressive and true. But not always the only truth.

Independent – Blair pays tribute to ‘the most successful Chancellor since war’: Tony Blair took steps to heal his rift with Gordon Brown yesterday by accepting the Chancellor’s criticism that the Labour government had not fulfilled the hopes the nation had when it came to power in 1997. In a speech launching Labour’s “long campaign” for a 5 May general election, the Prime Minister lavished praise on Mr Brown, who he called “the most successful British post-war Chancellor”. He vowed to fight the election on an “unremittingly New Labour” ticket and put the economy at the heart of the campaign. “Everything we do must be for this one central purpose: increased personal prosperity and well-being for all,” he said.


Here’s an extract from a comment I made on Boris Johnson’s site the other day: So the rift is healed (or not a rift at all) and the economy is central to election strategy. Fair enough. It worked in the US and in Australia. Everyone’s making money, and the other guys will make you poor. Or quite possibly dead.

And here’s an interesting rumour that popped up on Usenet, posted to the same comments thread: Essentially, the Brown Camp within Labour do not want a huge majority at the next election; a result that would strengthen Tony Blair in the immediate aftermath. They believe that there are real ideological issues between the two men that would translate into different government agendas under either of the two leaders. That being the case, they would expect a third Labour landslide to be followed by a purge of their man and themselves, unless there wasn’t a landslide.

Caveat: This is supposed to come from a “highly placed and well-informed” Tory… but I’ve also heard it refuted privately by more than one person in the Labour Party.

But if Blair does come through with a strong victory based on values that are “unremittingly New Labour” (here we make a petty remark about Bush’s – *snigger* – mandate), I think we can expect to see – at the very least – a lot of Brownies left out in the cold.

For those who are wondering about my role in the upcoming election… yes, I was teasing you when I posted this. Kind of.

In 2001, only 59% of the population voted. This was the lowest turnout since 1918 (and that was probably due to a lot of the electorate being underground at the time).

I’m going to be targeting those who see Blair’s win to be inevitable and the alternatives to be less-than-ideal. I want to show these people that there is a point to voting and (hopefully) encourage them to vote pragmatically and/or strategically.

I also want others to see through the barrage of bullshit that’s bound to come our way via mainstream media. To do this, I need to position myself in a way that allows me to subvert not only Blair’s campaign message, but also Howard’s and Kennedy’s where necessary.

The primary purpose of this activity will be to combat bullshit in general and reduce Blair’s majority in order to ensure that there is a strong and effective opposition – that knows that they too are answerable to the public.

The posters have been designed and a test-run of t-shirts is due early next week. The site is 75% ready, banners and buttons are completed. Ground-work has already begin to ensure that we take control of major search terms relating to the election and possibly key issues/candidates. Proxy-bloggers, you especially need to prepare yourselves for battle on this front.

A nifty Flash show (of the fun variety) has been waiting in the wings for weeks and last night I fell upon the ideal soundtrack for a follow-up (of the awesome variety).

If you think you’re going to just sit out this election and make up your mind on the day… think again. I want you on our side and I want you active in the coming weeks and months.

This will mean – at the very least – some time and real estate on your weblog, but I will also be asking you to reach into your pockets and get off your arse and do stuff.

The major parties have cash and mainstream media on their side, and armies of people that collectively will have a greater impact than you if they’re willing to do what you’re not and simply get out on the streets.

So… is it going to be big? Well, that’s up to you.

Is it going to be clever? Well, I certainly hope so.

The one thing I can guarantee is this: it’s going to be fun.

Democracy is choice. You heard it here first.

UPDATE – Blair and Brown: Fiend explains it all!

Oh, and Gina Snowdoll reports that Alastair Campbell has been smiling at strange women on Victoria Road. Of course, this is nowhere *near* as intersting as Margot Wallstrom starting a weblog, but I’m sure you’ll get over it.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 4, 2005

Category: Tony 'King Blair

50,000 files opened as act sweeps away 30-year rule

Of course, in the interests of job national security, some things must remain secret.

I’m thinking of a few interesting things to do with this. If you are too, then the following guide may be useful:

BBC Guide: How to get information from public bodies

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 23, 2004

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Guardian – Beith condemns Whitehall email destruction plan: The Cabinet Office has instructed staff to delete all unimportant emails after three months, insisting the move is just “good computer maintenance” and the timing a coincidence.

Independent – Shredded: Hundreds of thousands of government documents: Hundreds of thousands of secret Whitehall files are being shredded before the public gains the right to see them under the Freedom of Information Act on 1 January.

Guardian – FOI reports and resources is likely to be extremely useful if you’re thinking about making a request for any scraps that will be left come January.

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 22, 2004

Category: Tony 'King Blair

BBC – Calls for fresh Blunkett inquiry: The Tories and the Lib Dems are calling for a second inquiry into the fast-tracking of a visa application for David Blunkett’s ex-lover’s nanny. Sir Alan Budd found a “chain of events” linked Mr Blunkett to Leoncia Casalme’s indefinite leave to remain application, but he could not say exactly how. Tory leader Michael Howard said “many questions” were left unanswered.

Mixed interpretations of Budd inquiry

Guardian – Worm in the Budd: The Home Office is either a poorly run department or else a department run by people with poor memories. These seem the only conclusions to be drawn from Sir Alan Budd’s primly titled “inquiry into an application for indefinite leave to remain” – aka the David Blunkett affair – which was published yesterday.

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 20, 2004

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Independent – Civil servants are ordered to delete millions of emails: Tony Blair was savaged over his commitment to new freedom of information laws yesterday as it emerged that civil servants are being ordered to destroy millions of emails less than a fortnight before they will become publicly accessible.


Can you say ‘memory hole’, boys and girls? You can? How joyful. Welcome to my world of wooly thinking.

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 16, 2004

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

Please note the pig-tailed innocenceAhahahahahahahahaha! I knew it… I knew it!

Today, Page 3 lovely Katie (19, from Liverpool) gets her funbags out to express how utterly devastated she was to hear that David Blunkett had quit. She says: “I think it’s terrible that a man who has done so much for the country has felt it necessary to leave public office. Blunkett was one of the few Home Secretaries prepaed to get tough on issues that matter to ordinary people – asylum, terrorism and law and order.”

I agree. It’s a great tragedy. Surely Tony Blair has established that it’s not a resigning matter to inadvertently or (ahem) subconsciously influence civil servants and accidentally get the desired result.

No matter. The Sun is already busy building the rep of “crime-fighter Clarke” as they go about the messy business of the autopsy. The results of which are as follows:

David Blunkett was a man who cared too much. Loved too much. He was also a brilliant home secretary who tackled The Issues that matter most to Rupert Murdoch the public. Sadly, he had struggled through adversity only to be brought down in flames. Not because of any impropriety on his part, oh no… but all because of the vindictiveness of a bitter and twisted woman. One can’t help but draw parallels to the story of the biblical hero Samson etc. etc. etc.

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 15, 2004

Category: Tony 'King Blair

It seems such a shame after such a well-managed outing, but things don’t look good for our loved-up (and beloved) home secretary.

Guardian – Blunkett tells how love affair ‘went very badly wrong’: David Blunkett yesterday broke his public silence on the affair that threatens his political career as concern grew among Labour colleagues that his short-term survival in office may be overshadowed by long-term damage to his reputation for sound judgment.

Independent – Blunkett is unbalanced and should quit, says Labour MP: David Blunkett appears “quite seriously unbalanced” and should resign as Home Secretary, a Labour MP said today. The call followed reports that under-pressure Mr Blunkett stunned Labour MPs by singing Fred Astaire’s Pick Yourself Up at a Christmas party. Bob Marshall-Andrews joined fellow backbenchers in urging the Home Secretary to go after claims a second visa for his ex-lover’s nanny was “fast-tracked”.

(Cheers to Joe for the latter link.)

BBC – Blunkett sings of starting over: And veteran backbencher Gwyneth Dunwoody suggested the home secretary might ask if he was doing the job he was paid for properly… The pressure is certainly building on Mr Blunkett on a number of fronts… There is now widespread speculation in Westminster that next week might, one way or another, be crunch time for the home secretary.

1. I’ll field that last one. I quote: “When a man loves a woman (he) can’t keep his mind on nothing else.”
(This is, of course, a double negative… so technically – in the view of Percy Sledge at least – Mr Blunkett isn’t unable to keep his mind on the job.)

2. I’ll save Private Eye the trouble: “To fast-track one visa may be regarded as a misfortune… but to fast-track two seems like carelessness.”

3. This is all very strange. People who are on Blair’s team aren’t normally fitted up for a jacket with buttons in back. That treatment is reserved for people who leave his team. Like the ‘somewhat peculiar’ Robin Cook and that ‘rather unstable’ woman, Clare Short.

Are we watching Mr Blunkett implode before our very eyes… or have the liberal journalist scum learned a trick or two from our Great Leader?

UPDATE – Stick a pitchfork in him. He’s done…

BBC – Blunkett quits as home secretary

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