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Monday, May 28, 2012 

Bad Blair day.

It was difficult to watch Tony Blair appear before the Leveson inquiry today and not see the establishment failing to hold the establishment to account. On occasion, it can manage it: Private Eye has been as establishment as it gets from the beginning and yet it still does the equivalent of sticking its finger in the eyes of the rich and the powerful.

Today, the inquisitors and Leveson let themselves down. Blair repeatedly made ridiculous statements everyone knows to be the opposite of the truth, and yet he was allowed to get away with it. He claimed to have never authorised briefing against others in the Labour party, whereas if Gordon Brown was to say the same he'd of been laughed out of the place. His becoming godfather to Rupert Murdoch's daughter was nothing to do with his relationship with the mogul while he was in power, and they had never reached a deal, formal or informal on any aspect of policy. His phone calls to Murdoch prior to the beginning of the Iraq war were not to ask him to turn the Sun on Jacques Chirac and the French, perish the thought, and the decision to hold a referendum on the EU constitution was not because Murdoch said he'd lose the Sun's support if he didn't.

The sad thing is that Blair is still held in such thrall in certain quarters. Admittedly, this is hardly surprising when both Brown and Cameron have shown themselves to be pretenders to his presentational throne, and yet it means that through the sheer force of his personality and charm he can get through encounters such as these without a paw being so much as laid on him. All the more reason to applaud David Lawley-Wakelin for interrupting the proceedings and bringing at least a semblance of reality back into the room.

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