Leading article: Blair the lobbyist?

Share
Related Topics
ENFIN, un chef de gouvernment anglais qui parle le francais! Mais rappellez-vous, nos chers francais, ce que le petit caporal nous a appelles une nation de commercants. Ce matin nous nous demandons: ce M Blair, est- il vraiment notre premier ministre ou - deguise - un espece de negociant, un agent d'influence etrangere, le delegue d'une societe privee, l'enterprise internationale geree par Rupert Murdoch.

Yet it's not the French who need to beware but the Italians. The Euro- lines buzz with reports that the British prime minister has been lobbying Romano Prodi on behalf of Murdoch Enterprises Inc. Could it be that Mr Blair is moonlighting as a lobbyist? There will be those, especially in France, who will say: this is what British membership of the European Union amounts to. It confirms that Charles de Gaulle was right all along and all we are is a kind of Trojan Horse for American interests.

Downing Street denies there is anything in the story that Mr Blair wooed Mr Prodi. Media ownership is a touchy subject in modern Italian politics and there can be few who think substituting Murdoch for Berlusconi would constitute an increase in pluralism. The Prodi government has enough on its hands, what with getting Italy fit for EMU, without having to counter allegations that it is permitting foreign meddling.

As for Mr Blair, let us hope that, if Murdoch asked him to intervene, he had the good sense to say no. To sit on his hands while Rupert Murdoch pursues a predatory pricing policy in newspaper markets in this country is one thing. But for the prime minister of the United Kingdom to tout on Murdoch's behalf abroad would be of a shockingly different order of magnitude.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - West Yorkshire - Ashdown Group - FTC 2017

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car allowance (£5.5k)+ benefits: Ashdown Group: Ma...

Opilio Recruitment: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£15k - 18k per year + Benefits & OTE: Opilio Recruitment: Digital Media, Mob...

Recruitment Genius: Sales People & Team Managers - UK Wide

£67200 - £96000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Self-employed Sales People and ...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - IT Outsourcing - £70,000 OTE

£30000 - £40000 per annum + £70,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Sou...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tony Blair speaks on stage at the 2nd Annual Save The Children Illumination Gala  

Tony Blair's award from Save the Children raises an important question: are they joking?

Chris Maume
 

Lee Rigby report: What’s the use of spotting terrorist activity if you don’t tell anyone?

Jane Merrick
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital