The going of Blair has permitted not the coming to power of Brown as expected, but curiously it now seems, the resurrection of Thatcher or rather her -ism.
A generation has grown up hearing her vilified on the BBC from dawn til dusk, while Brown’s been praised to the rafters. They now know that the stuff about Brown being a genius was almost total bowlooks all along, and people are all of a sudden ready to re-examine Thatcher.
Propaganda has a shelf life, it seems – a long one it is true – but eventually the public, with a little help, start to see through media ‘bias’.
The BBC are now in a quandary. They’ve spent 10 years eulogising Brown, and longer than that slating Thatcher. They have allowed themselves to voice their own opinions as fact for over a decade, licking Blair’s boots (apart from Andrew Gilligan, of course), and have damaged their reputation in the process – probably permanently. It was during the John Redwood Policy Review week that the BBC really started to look off the mark, and somehow it was clear then for the first time that the old game, without Blair to front it, wasn’t working any more.
The spin that says that people like paying high rates of tax was exposed by Redwood, and in that week, Brown’s lead, pre the Labour conference, slumped. Interestingly, it was the same emphasis on cutting tax by Osborne a month later which finally buried Brown, and swung the game heavily the Conservative way.
With Brown going down the pan, the alleged John The Baptist of spin who couldn’t actually do it in practice, honesty and conviction become the inevitable future. For the politician who grasps the new possibilities, not to act like Blair, who was in reality the servant of the media, only acting as if its master, there is now a vast opening, left in the void of Brown’s collapse.
Brown’s problem is that he didn’t realise Blair was an act. Blair acted the leader, but in fact gave everyone powerful that he had to deal with exactly what they asked him for, if he could – Clinton, Bush, the EU, the BBC, Chirac – even Gordon Brown! Brown got the power relationships all wrong – and tried saying no to Bush. He lost Murdoch and the Americans in five minutes. Without wall-to-wall media protection, untruths or bias become exposed very quickly.
Blair’s system for holding power began to fall to pieces over Iraq. He had to decide which one of two powerful entities to displease – the Americans or the BBC. He chose to dump on the BBC, and join the war. If the blogosphere had been active in 2003, I wonder if Blair/Campbell would have got away with crippling the BBC so easily. As it was, the Iraq episode allowed Gordon Brown back into the political game, as Blair lost the BBC from then on. For getting rid of Blair, dismantling Blair’s highly effective political game of power and keeping Britain out of the Euro, Brown had his uses.
But Brown while able to dismantle Blair and Campbell, clearly did not understand the way the system worked well enough to be able to benefit from it himself.
In the context of international power, the Americans have probably decided they’ve had enough of the EU, Gordon Brown and all – and they want to see a strong independent Britain as a longterm ally. It’s taken the Americans a long time to see through it all, as Blair mesmerised them too. Blair’s going has freed up Murdoch at last to back the anti-EU cause and move away from New Labour. It is quite comical that the moment Murdoch has chosen to abandon the EU-New Labour game, Dacre at The Mail and now the Daily Telegraph have chosen to move into it.
Apart from at The Mail and The Telegraph, the penny is finally dropping. The end of New labour could in time be the end of Britain in Europe, and the start of a new confident more independent phase in our history, long overdue. Whichever political leader sees that and prepares to go with the tide, will win power and hold it.
Labour should be in a good position to dump on Europe and dump Brown and move with the times, but they are too caught up in the corruption. The Blairites are finished, and like all those who recently lost power, cannot see how the game has changed. Cameron seems close to pulling the Conservative Party into place, and should win the race.
With the media influence of America, and public opinion swinging together against the EU and high tax, Thatcherism phase two could be about to break out. No wonder everyone wants to shake the old lady’s hand. Who knows? Maybe the BBC will recant next?