The Sun may be shining on Blair, but he can’t rely on consistency

It is, of course, one thing for another male columnist to have my mug shot inflicted upon him. But when my female fellow writer, Maggie Brown, has my physiog decorating her column, I think apologies are required.

It is, of course, one thing for another male columnist to

have my mug shot inflicted upon him. But when my female fellow

writer, Maggie Brown, has my physiog decorating her column, I

think apologies are required.



Sorry, Maggie. No offence intended. Mistakes do happen.



I found my first newspaper, the Hebden Bridge Times, still

blushing with shame over an edition years earlier in which, I was

told, the wedding and recipe types got mixed up and the happy

couple ended up ’stewing in their own juices for two hours’.



Mind you, it might matter less if this newspaper’s picture of me

were flattering. Instead - and I’ve been dying to say this for

years - it is out of the top drawer of modern photo-journalism

which requires a picture to fit the subject’s image. So for years

I have been staring out at you as if I had a boil on my

bottom.



Which brings me effortlessly to the Sun newspaper. It used to

swoon over Maggie (Thatcher, not Brown) and is now ’putting its

trust’ in Labour leader Tony Blair who has the ’face that fits’.

Ludicrously, legend has it that, as No 10 press secretary, I

assiduously cultivated the Sun and even dictated its leaders. In

fact, I treated all newspapers alike, including the Communist

Morning Star, in the dissemination of news. What Gordon Reece and

Tim Bell got up to with the Sun on behalf of the Prime Minister

is another matter - and frankly still a mystery.



But I did not spend my time wondering how I could next curry

favour with Larry Lamb, the Sun’s editor. In any case, I have my

serious doubts as to the effect of the media on voters,

especially as half the Sun’s readers seem to have consistently

voted Labour. In the 1980s, the Sun’s chief value - apart from

making my life easier by not opposing Mrs T - was in complaining

that she was not going far enough. This was rather useful to the

boss as a weapon against the waterlogged.



And it raises the question as to whether the Sun’s real value to

Mr Blair, especially as it has ’reservations about some of New

Labour’s policies’, will be in office rather than getting him

there, if he makes it. He would need every ally he could find

when the Left had its hands on the public purse and the unions on

the levers of power.



He could, presumably, expect no help from the Guardian since it

is dedicated to rooting out ’sleaze’ in public life, if not in

journalism. Or could he? Can anyone explain why the Guardian is

so unmoved by the cesspit of Labour-dominated local government -

unless it be that, like the Sun, it does not know the meaning of

the word consistency?



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