Tony and the beast

Captain Ed was just talking about this on his podcast:

Blair attacks “feral” media he once tamed

Blair, who steps down on June 27, said he was not blaming the media for the “damaged” relationship with politicians but pointing the finger at the changing nature of modern news.

“The fear of missing out means that today’s media, more than ever before, hunts in a pack. In these modes it is like a feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits,” he said in a speech at Reuters headquarters in London.

Journalists are “increasingly and to a dangerous degree … driven by ‘impact’, and this is driving down standards and doing a disservice to the public, he said.

“The damage saps the country’s confidence and self-belief … it reduces our capacity to take the right decisions,” argued Blair.

Which is why so many of us are glad there are blogs.

The BBC has a video

Update, Wednesday 13 June:
Mark Kilmer: Tony Blair calls mainstream media, “feral beast”, and they know they’ve been nailed

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Catholic Blair? Catholic Pre-Raphaelites?

Tony Blair to become Catholic Deacon?, asks The Anchoress

There’s talk afloat that when he leaves office, Tony Blair may not simply become a Catholic, but that he may become a Permanent Deacon, as well

Athos of The Three Massketeers has an interesting new theory about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

But the most important piece of evidence that the PRB was not merely a romantic sigh for a lost Medievalism, I think, is the first point above. It was the Brotherhood’s agreement to cloak their identity in a kind of counter-Protestant Reformation mentality, artistry, and loyalty. It was just sufficiently obscure and forthright that a curious investigator could easily connect the historical “dots” but most would not.

He does raise an interesting point. Any art scholars out there?

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Sarko meets Tony

In yesterday’s podcast, one thing Siggy and I discussed was how Blair made the British people proud of being British again. Then in last night’s France2 news they showed Nicolas Sarkozy giving a speech saying he wants the French to be proud of being French again.

I find that a very refreshing idea but I’m not optimistic for its prospects. Instead of a collective show of EU hands, it’s time for individuals to take pride for their own heritage and what their nations have and can contribute. On the other hand, Sarko’s proposing a mini-treaty to replace the failed EU constitution, which would mean that people wouldn’t be able to reject it through referendums as they did the first time.

So much for the individuals.

Sarko’s EU strategy has two other points:

  • calls for Europe to “protect” its citizens from globalisation
  • ,

  • his call for an explicit statement that Turkey will never become a full member of the EU.

Sarko will take office on May 16. There’s more in the works:

  • Today he’s meeting with Tony Blair in Paris. They will discuss the EU. There’s another meeting scheduled on a different date with Angela Merkel. The emergence of leaders like Merkel and Sarcozy signals to perhaps not a new Europe, but perhaps a Europe less hostile to America. (No, anti-Americanism didn’t start with GWB. It’s been around for decades.)
  • Chirac and Sarko met with Saad Hariri, the son of slain former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, signalling continued support of the Lebanese over Syria. Will the Sarko years reflect Chirac’s customary duplicity? We’ll have to wait and see.
  • Sarko’s been criticized for taking a 2-day luxury cruise on a billionaire‘s yatch. Not only is he unapologetic – since the trip was not at taxpayers’ expense – he asserts his position that he wants rich people to remain in France and to invest in France.
    (and according to Erik, apparently he was wearing a NYPD t-shirt while jogging)

Next month’s Parliamentary elections are crucial.

Meanwhile, out on the streets, the link above states that there have been over 1,200 cars torched in France since last Sunday’s election: 730 on Sunday, 296 on Tuesday, 200 on Wednesday. I don’t know how many were torched on Monday night, but we’ll know Sarko has changed things when whatever few French automotive insurance companies are left in the country lower their rates.

In other French news, Erik Svane made it to the front page. He looks marvelous.

Update: The French Left Pitches A Fit
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For an excellent essay on how Tony Blair’s attitude towards the EU went sour, read Richard North‘s article at Pajamas Media

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On Blair’s announcement

I’ve been reading the posts listed in the Pajamas Media round-up.

In this morning’s conversation during our Blog Talk Radio podcast, Siggy and I discussed Blair’s tenure as Prime Minister.

Siggy’s position is that, in a sense, Blair is leaving in a high note, because the economy is booming, the integration into the EU was well handled, and Blair kept the pound as currency. The Blair economy influenced the boom in Ireland which in turn influenced the peace process in Northern Ireland as Northern Ireland saw how their neighbors were flourishing – and Blair is credited by both sides, for instance,

“the Prime Minister’s concerted efforts helped in ultimately securing devolution in Northern Ireland.”

Siggy feels that Blair became a great prime minister because he blurred party lines, and,

“Blair understood that there needed to be changes, and that techonology was going to change the way information moved within England… within Europe, and not just within Europe but across the globe. That was a very very important shift.

“Blair redefined British politics, and by doing so, redifined European politics.”

Blair is a man of conviction,

“You can disagree with the war, you can disagree with the politics, but no one can say that Tony Blair is not a decent guy”

which even the BBC notices

Conviction politician

He said he had “a deep respect for the British people and it’s been an honour and privilege to lead them”. But he said he had “changed” over the past 10 years. He was a “different sort of person” now, who was less concerned about being “liked”.

Blair had been hardened by a decade in office.

He had become a conviction politician – a very different character to the one that had first walked into Downing Street in 1997, guitar case in hand.

On the matter of Blair’s successor, Rick Moran speculates on the future,

The US and Great Britain have steadfastly supported each other through some of the most turbulent times in world history. The alliance has benefited each country enormously both economically and strategically. We’ve had each other’s backs for more than 100 years – World Wars, the Cold War, Viet Nam, the Falklands, and now Iraq. We’ve assisted in peace efforts in Northern Ireland as well as using Britain’s good offices on more than one occasion when our diplomacy has been stuck in a rut. There is a symbiosis, a melding of interests between the two countries that would not be easily pried apart. And any effort to do so would not only affect our two countries, but also Europe and points beyond as well.

For these reasons, I feel confident Mr. Brown will resist calls to redefine our relationship and instead, try and establish that special bond with the American President – whoever it ends up being – that has been the hallmark of this, the most remarkable partnership the modern world knows. It has benefited both nations in the past. And I see no reason why it can’t be a plus in the future.

Siggy basically concurs, but you’ll have to listen to him.

Red State asserts that Blair has taken the Jihad lightly.

Siggy and I didn’t discuss Blair and the Jihad; we’ll just have to do another podcast to discuss that.

For the time being, however, go and listen to this morning’s podcast.

Cross-posted at Heading Right
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In today’s BTR podcast: Tony Blair will stand down as prime minister on 27 June.

Blair will stand down on 27 June

Tony Blair has announced he will stand down as prime minister on 27 June.

He will remain prime minister until the Labour Party elects a new leader – expected to be Gordon Brown.

The Washington Post has details on the news,

Blair was under no legal obligation to leave office; he won reelection in 2005 and could have served until the next national election, which must be held no later than 2010. But even before the last election, in September 2004, Blair made a surprise announcement that he would not run for a fourth term. The speculation that followed came to dominate political discourse in Britain. Finally, in September 2006, battered by fading approval ratings and the resignation of eight junior members of his government who said the prime minister had lost the party’s confidence, Blair announced that he would leave office by September 2007 “in the interests of the country.”

Listen Live
SPECIAL PODCAST THIS MORNING: In this morning podcast at 10:30AM, Siggy and I will discuss the news.

Join us at 10:30 AM live TODAY

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