"Bully Blair Duped Us All"
Comment Rixon Stewart
What follows is an attempt to restore the BBC’s battered credibility in the wake of growing popular cynicism. In the process Tony Blair's political reputation is sacrificed on the altar of public consensus. But as Blair is nearing the end of his political sell-by-date, he will be of little further use to the powers that be, given that he is unlikely to remain in Downing Street for more than another year or so.
However, the influence of the media on public perception will still be paramount. So if the Illuminati want another war, with Iran for instance, then it must be sold via a compliant media.
Just as stories and speculation about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction prepared the way for the invasion of Iraq. So the public must be prepared for any further steps in the “War Against Terror”. But that can’t be done if people continually question what they are told by the media, hence Dyke’s accusation that his “former friend and ally” had “lied” to the BBC. Note he makes no attempt to explain why the BBC had been so gullible and bought these "lies". Nor does he explain why the Corporation did this when large segments of the population openly questioned the need for military action. And he doesn't apologise for propagating Blair's "lies" either. Instead he lays the blame entirely on “Bully” Blair.
“Time and again”, writes Simon Walters, “Dyke challenges Mr Blair's integrity”. And by doing so he focuses attention, and blame, entirely on Tony Blair and away from the media’s complicity in the whole affair. So read what follows, not as a political expose, but rather as an attempt to restore the BBC’s beleaguered credibility.
Dyke: Bully Blair duped us all over Iraq
Simon Walters – Mail on Sunday Aug 29, 2004
Tony Blair faced a new crisis over Iraq last night after he was rocked by sensational allegations against him by his former friend and ally, ex-BBC Director-General Greg Dyke.
In his bombshell memoirs, serialised in The Mail on Sunday today, Dyke lifts the lid on the bitter row between the BBC and No 10 over claims the Government 'sexed up' intelligence on Saddam's weapons.
Dyke describes a letter he received from Tony Blair the day the Iraq war started as a blatant attempt to 'bully' the BBC into gagging anti-war critics.
And he launches a series of personal attacks on the Prime Minister, saying the claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes showed he was 'either incompetent or he lied.' No senior BBC figure has ever mounted such a full-scale attack on a serving Prime Minister.
Dyke holds nothing back in his memoirs, written since he was forced to resign as DG in January after the BBC was criticised in Lord Hutton's report into the death of Ministry of Defence expert Dr David Kelly.
He describes Mr Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell as a 'deranged, vindictive bastard' and 'political thug'. And he makes a series of claims which will send shock waves through the political and intelligence establishment, including:
• Mr Blair 'surmised' months before the Hutton Report was published that he would be cleared. The PM's aide, Philip Gould, boasted: "Don't worry, we appointed the right judge."
• Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said he was told his advice to Mr Blair on the legality of the war was too weak and had to be hardened up.
Dyke echoes impeachment calls
Dyke's book, Inside Story, echoes last week's call by some MPs to impeach Mr Blair over his conduct of the war - the method used to bring down US President Nixon over Watergate.
"I was shocked by the similarities between the Nixon White House and Blair's Downing Street," says Dyke.
No10 will be enraged by Dyke's decision to reveal the contents of Blair's letter sent as British and US troops went into action in Iraq. It said the BBC 'had gone too far' and that Mr Blair was 'shocked'.
Urging Dyke to comply with Campbell's call for the BBC to change its war coverage, Mr Blair said it was mixing news and comment and went on: "It seems to me...you have not got the balance right between support and dissent..."
Dyke fired off an angry response, rejecting the accusations. And he claims BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies was later told by a No10 official that Blair regretted writing the letter and had been talked into it by Campbell.
Blair's integrity challenged
Time and again, Dyke challenges Mr Blair's integrity, including an allegation that he broke his promise not to attempt to force out either Dyke or Davies after the Hutton Report.
He quotes Davies as saying: "Blair skilfully piled the pressure on, and did nothing to discharge the promise there should be no resignations. I assume he had reneged. I saw Campbell calling us liars and demanding heads should roll. I assumed that Blair had deliberately unleashed the dogs against us."
Dyke also rounds on his BBC enemies and publicly calls on the six governors who voted to oust him to resign themselves. And he writes that he has since refused an invitation to meet the Prime Minister saying: "I no longer regard Tony Blair as someone to be trusted."
Dyke also regrets giving £5,000 towards the Blair leadership campaign in 1994 and writes:
"Tony Blair has turned out just another politician and in some ways worse than those before him. They never promised us a new sort of politics. He did.
"One by one, the reasons he gave us for going to war have been proved to be wrong." Downing Street, he says, had told "mountains of untruth".
Dyke "We were all duped"
Dyke continues: "The Prime Minister has never stood up and said to the British people, "I am sorry" There was a moment when he could have done so, and we might have forgiven him. That moment is past."
"We were all duped. History will not be on Mr Blair's side.
"It will show the whole saga is a great political scandal.'
Dyke states that Gavyn Davies was phoned by a Lib Dem peer who told him a friend had been told by the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith that "his original opinion on the legality of the war had been judged not sufficiently strong and needed to be strengthened."
It seems to me there has been a real breakdown of the separation of news and comment ... I know too that Alastair has been pressing you to ensure more reference is made to reports from inside Iraq about the restrictions under which the media operate ...
"I believe, and I am not alone in believing, that you have not got the balance right between support and dissent; between news and comment; between the voices of the Iraqi regime and the voices of Iraqi dissidents; or between the diplomatic support we have, and diplomatic opposition." Blair's letter to Greg Dyke, March 19, 2003.
Avenging Fury? Or Advance Publicity?
Last updated 01/09/2004