Here in America, many of us can't quite understand why friendship has flourished between George W. Bush and Tony Blair. Blair, for all his faults, seems sincere, overeager, earnest, and genuinely concerned (if delusionally) with issues of right and wrong, unlike the cynical, nasty, mean-spirited Bush, whose talk of morality always seems phony. But I guess in Britain they don't see Blair quite the way we do. This is from The Scotsman:
...the kind of brutality which led Dr Kelly to take his own life is a very close relative of the kind of brutality which has characterised Tony Blair’s years in power.
Throughout his time in office, political opponents within Labour have been discredited. Dirty tricks have been deployed. Those not prepared to toe the party line have been bullied. Those who might compromise the government have been hung out to dry. Lies have been repeatedly told. The victims have been left badly bruised - though never before dead. The hardest ministers, such as John Reid, have thrived in this administration. The most humane, such as Estelle Morris, have languished.
Politics has always been a dirty business, but it has rarely been this filthy. John Major’s regime may have been mired in sleaze and hypocrisy, but even those wallowing in that particular quagmire would have quailed at the techniques used by Blair’s henchmen. Charlie Whelan, the former government spin doctor, told me that he used to make intimidating phone calls to journalists in the middle of the night. He admitted to "doing-in Cabinet ministers" and talked cheerfully of "putting the boot into the bastards".
In ten days’ time, Blair will become the longest-serving Labour prime minister in British history, and it could be argued that these bully-boy techniques have allowed him to stay at the top for so long. They may yet, however, be the cause of his demise.
Now it starts to make sense.