Boris on Tony's Feral Beasts

... now how's that for a mental image in a post title? Boris Johnson, both an MP and a journalist, writes on Blair's recent 'Feral Beasts' speech on the state of the media.

He wrote that:

It wasn't the press that undermined confidence in government: it was the horror of discovering that the Prime Minister's spokesman - Alastair Campbell - could in effect order the intelligence services to buff up the evidence, to change the mood of verbs from the conditional to the indicative, in order to make Saddam's weaponry sound more scary and the case for war more convincing.

It is the government deceit that is resented - at least by most people - and not the "feral beasts" of the media who uncovered it.

That is why Blair's speech to the Reuters Institute was so hypocritical; and it was insulting to the intelligence of the public because he really seems to believe that everybody reads the press in the way that politicians read the press.

and he wrote:

Our judgments are mocked, our non sequiturs are skewered. Journalists - these feral characters that Blair claims to fear - are increasingly accountable, increasingly vulnerable to the pithy rejoinders of the man or woman on the net.

And this is the key point: it is not so much that politics and journalism are increasingly tawdry or despised. It is the growing media literacy of the public - the understanding of soundbites and vox pops and two-ways and blogs - that allows everyone to participate in activities once reserved for the journalistico-political complex.

That is a wonderful thing, and I would much rather have cyberspace regulated by public scorn than by Tony Blair, who should depart as soon as possible to complete his farewell tour in an open-top submarine.

A good article, one point: An open topped submarine? isn't that otherwise known as a 'boat', Boris?