Thursday, March 29, 2007
Charles Clarke tells us that at a meeting in Tony Blair's house in 1994 Blair asserted that the 'central factor' in determining the success of his campaign to become party leader would be the attitude of the media. It was, says Clarke, surprising at the time, though thanks to the success of Blair's mediacentric vision, it seems unremarkable now. Mediacentrism, combined with the Blair-Brown feud, has been the determinant of British political history for the last decade. It is the main reason why I struggle to take any interest at all in Westminster affairs, dominated as they are by cretinous manipulations and endless phony inishyativs. In the last couple of weeks I have even found it impossible to read our political bloggers. These are arguments about arguments, debates about nothing. Brown, of course, has been as mediacentric as Blair, but, latterly, more effectively so. His quiet editor-schmoozing continues to earn him far more friendly coverage than he deserves. Clarke, who is running the stop-Brown campaign, calls for an end to mediacentrism after a decade of what he calls 'media pomp'. He is right. The newspapers have been bloated with the power given to them by Blair's 'project'. But can it be done? This is, in its way, the only serious question for the next election. Put another way: can we be governed by wise, independent minds or must we be governed by sleazy PR and marketing apparatchiks?
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:50 am