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The watchdog that bites hard

The media’s hate, hate attitude towards ‘erring’ politicians has been claimed as the major factor in preservation of ‘the purest form of democracy’ in Britain. Vijay Dutt reports.

world Updated: May 04, 2009 00:49 IST
Vijay Dutt

“Bye, I won’t miss you” were the words Cherie Blair, wife of Tony Blair, said walking up to scores of journalists watching the Blairs finally vacating 10, Downing Street for newly-elected Prime Minister Gordon Brown to move in.

This was her repartee to their saying “Miss it, will you?...We’ll miss you!”.

Her words still sting them.

British media have never been able to get over this parting shot from one they revelled calling a ‘Wicked Witch’ for years.

Not that it has deferred them from using even worse descriptions of dominant figures in the government.

Gustave Flaubert words — “It is splendid to be a great writer you put men in frying pans of your words and make them pop like chestnuts” — was quoted by a journalist, grinning broadly. Talk to any one of them and they say smugly, “We hate profligates in public life.”

Gordon Brown is their favourite punching bag these days. “If Gordon was a dog, he’d be put down,” was the headline of the column by Richard Littlejohn.

He elaborated, “Bizarre YouTube video on MPs’ expenses convinced me that Gordon Brown had gone stark, staring bonkers.”

Earlier, Tony Blair was accused of being George Bush’s “poodle”. Melanie Phillips commented the Blair administration was characterised by “chaos and venality”.

But Blair is history, Brown is the present. Peter Oborne, in his On Politics and Power, asked, “So, who’ll hand him (Brown) the loaded revolver and bottle of whisky?”

He named Peter Mandelson for the job, as he and Brown “have been close friends and bitter enemies, warm allies and bitter enemies” for more than 25 years.

Another commentator said, “The backbenches have given up on him, and his Cabinet underlings are jockeying for position until he is led away, dribbling and howling at the moon.”

This hate, hate attitude of the media towards “erring” politicians has been claimed as the major factor in preservation of “the purest form of democracy in this country, keeping it clean by exorcising the system of the immoral, corrupt and violators of political ethics”.