Kevin Maguire: Blair has undermined trust in politics - Press Gazette

Kevin Maguire: Blair has undermined trust in politics

“I thought the sourness [of the speech] undermined the legitimate point about the competitiveness of the media in a 24/7 era. We must remember he misled Britain and took Britain to war on dodgy dossiers. He’s done more to undermine trust in politics and politicians that any newspaper, radio station or TV channel. He lived by spin he died by spin, he created a media manipulation machine.

“He might say he’s not whingeing but it sounds like a whinge to me. At times individual journalists and newspaper send blood and go in for the kill, that’s true, but that is something his government often encouraged when it was against its opponents. Maybe he now pretends he doesn’t know what was going on, but I know what was going on within the labour party and Downing Street. He was quite happy when other people were the victims but he didn’t want to become the victim himself. If he’s got specific examples he should raise them. If he’s got complaint against certain newspapers or journalists he should raise them. But I thought at this point, given that he used to go down on bended knee to Murdoch and fly around the world to pay homage to him, for him now to moan and whinge like that is a bit of a sick joke.

“I think he should be more worried about the relationship between politicians and the electorate, he lost 3 or 4 million votes over several elections and he managed get turn out down to its lowest levels since the first world war. As the media we’ve got to critically examine what we do. We don’t get things right all the time, but I’m afraid he’s got to come down from his ivory tower and accept his share of the responsibility, which he kind of touched on but it sounded pretty unconvincing. It sounded like a line that had just been inserted at the end.

“I think Brown will get a fresh start and everybody’s got to see it. He’ll get a chance from not all, but most of the media and we’ll have to see how it goes there.

“I think that speech is about Blair and Blair going. That famous memo that was leaked to the Mirror last September where he wants to go with the crowd wanting more of the rock star that refused to play that final encore. It’s not turned out like that though has it?

“Brown needs to be honest and straightforward. He’s got to deal in facts. I think there’s a big chance, the appointment of Mike Elemer (check) is a good start, as his official spokesman and a straightforward civil servant. It can all go wrong very quickly, there’s no doubt about that, it’s a fragile relationship and that’s how it should be in a democracy.

“I think it’s more of a settling scores speech than clearing the air.”