Blair, morally corrupt bastard

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Blair, morally corrupt bastard

Post  EarthsAngel on Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:35 am

Phone hacking: Our moral bankruptcy is Tony Blair's lasting legacy
Under Blair, moral ambiguity became the order of the day.
A pretty straight kind of guy? The New Labour years created an atmosphere of shamelessness – and now we’re living with the results
A pretty straight kind of guy? The New Labour years created an atmosphere of shamelessness – and now we’re living with the results Photo: GETTY

By Anthony Horowitz

7:00PM BST 30 Jul 2011

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The horror of Norway and the tragedy of Amy Winehouse may have diverted our thoughts from the scandals of the past few weeks, but as I pack my bags for a summer in Greece, I wonder what sort of country I’m leaving behind. All the pillars of the Establishment – the press, the police, the politicians – have toppled like oversized dominos. Greece may be just about bankrupt. Morally, I’d say the UK isn’t far behind.

How has it happened? How have we reached this bottom-of-the-barrel mentality, where Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, can boast that his “integrity is intact” despite having accepted £12,000 of free hospitality at a health spa? Where Rebekah Brooks can say she is “shocked and appalled”, but take weeks to resign? And how could anyone have actually lived with themselves, after hacking into the messages of a murdered schoolgirl?

It’s a world that even Hogarth would have found hard to portray. Adulterous celebrities chased by ruthless hacks working for over-powerful (though strangely ignorant) editors and proprietors who cosy up to hypocritical politicians who appoint corrupt or stupid police officers who dine at the Ivy with adulterous celebrities. And who is going to sort out this mess? We have precious little hope when the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, enjoying his moment in the limelight, is Keith Vaz, who knows a thing or two about scandal, having obstructed an inquiry into his connections to the billionaire Hinduja brothers, and later claimed £75,500 for a flat 12 miles from his home.

It all started, of course, with Tony Blair. He wasn’t the first prime minister to kowtow to Murdoch, but in so many ways he set the trend for what is happening now. Bernie Ecclestone. The BAE bribery inquiry dropped for national security reasons. Dodgy flats in Bristol. Free holidays with millionaire pop stars. We don’t need to rehearse all these stories, because they’ve seeped into the national consciousness.

And next to Blair there was Alastair Campbell, a man as unsuited for public office in his own way as Andy Coulson was in his. Why shouldn’t Cameron follow Blair’s example and employ an ex-tabloid journalist with a foul mouth and a reputation for bullying? After all, it wasn’t going to lead to war.

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