Guardian Comment upon Tony Blair's Observer email exchange

Yesterday, we saw an exchange between Tony Blair and Henry Porter printed in the Observer.

Today, there is a rather good comment piece in The Guardian on this exchange.

Blair's genius, here as so often, is to present ends that we would all find desirable, while implying that his methods are the only means of getting there. Anyone who criticises those methods, whether a judge, journalist or citizen, can thus be presented as an opponent who cannot deliver what he is seeking: a just and free society. His emotional appeal is undeniable. His logic is flawed, indefensible and dangerous.

Bang on the mark, this sums it up so nicely.

On the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill the article has this to say:

It is always impossible to know whether the prime minister is being disingenuous, or whether he is genuinely ignorant. Take his defence of the truly alarming legislative and regulatory reform bill currently going through parliament. This was blandly trailed last year as a measure to cut red tape. When it was published, civil servants were astonished to find it was nothing of the sort. It gave ministers the unprecedented power to change laws by order, rather than going through parliamentary procedures. They could, in theory, use it for almost any purpose, including ending jury trials, sacking judges, or making political protest illegal.

The government resolutely refused to limit the bill while it was in committee. It was only 10 days ago, in the face of media criticism and internal Labour unease, that the government finally conceded that they would restrict some of its powers. Yet no one knows whether this is a major climbdown or a minor tactical concession, since the details haven't been published. You would know nothing of this from Blair, who simply misrepresented the bill as something that would not interfere with basic rights. He dismissed anxieties about it as "more than far-fetched".

The Save Parliament Committee have not been able to comment on the concessions yet as nobody knows what they are.

Jenni Russell's article is well worth a read - and I encourage you to head over to have a look at the full piece.

This piece also appears on the 'Comment is Free' pages, where you can read the piece and then comment.

See also: The Independent's summary. The Sun typically takes a view which most charitably be described as 'sympathetic' to Blair. (Note the perjorative language, e.g. 'bleats'.)