Yesterday [Mon 30/6] I tuned in to London’s LBC to listen to the city’s former Mayor Ken Livingstone making his debut on his new radio show. To my horror his first guest was Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former press secretary and a man who played a major role in drawing up the ‘dodgy’ dossier that Blair used to justify taking Britain to war against the Iraqi people.
In the past Livingstone has on more than one occasion described this invasion as a war crime, yet here he was all pally with one of its main architects as far as taking Britain into this war was concerned. Did he storm into Campbell, did he rip the scum bags political heart out, not at all? The two men spent a large part of the program comparing notes on just how wicked the Journalist Andrew Gilligan is, it seems both men have suffered from Mr Gilligan’s pen and regard him as the devil incarnate, never mind that they were both major political players at the time thus fair game.
Once they had finished bad mouthing Gilligan, who I hold no brief for, I thought Red Ken would get onto the Iraq war, but no, all he did was allow Campbell make a self serving statement about back then he and Blair were responding to the information before them; and people should take into account that 9/11 had just occurred. Never mind that Campbell along with his pliable pals in the security services had a hand in drafting the very documents he now uses to absolve himself with. Rather than remind him of this fact Livingstone felt it was more important to tell his listeners that he and Campbell both enjoy Jack Breil, the singer, to end the interview he allowed Campbell to reinvent himself as a charity campaigner.
In an hour long program, which is billed as a phone in, only five calls were taken from members of the public, which to my mind tells me that most callers were hostile to Campbell and LBC researchers refused to put them on air, yet one caller did get put on air to tell Kenny and Ally how she too loves the music of Mr Breil.
Now I realize some readers of Organized Rage will be feeling smug and may not be able to resist telling me “I told you that Ken was an arsehole when you wrote that Londoners should vote for him.” Whilst I do not regret doing the aforementioned I have to say I was shocked and sickened by his groveling behavior towards Campbell.
But it goes further than that, for me what the broadcast once again highlighted was the incestuous nature of the UKs political elite, when push comes to shove their loyalty seems to be towards each other not the electorate. The media plays a part here, time and again we have seen failed, rejected or corrupt politicians, after their exposure or downfall being given a birth in the media to reinvent themselves. This is just what Campbell was doing on Livinstone’s Radio show as indeed was the latter himself. Michael Portilllo was another example, sent packing by the electorate who breathed a sigh of relief that they had seen the last of him, only to find the guy is back in their living room via the TV only weeks later.
This is how the British political system works, whilst in office brown envelopes are not prevalent, politicians do favors for powerful forces when in office and the payback comes when they are out. Whether it is former Prime Ministers being given millions of pounds dressed up as a book deal, or speaking tour, or those like Campbell and Livingstone who operated further down the food chain being given the chance to reinvent themselves as broadcaster or charity workers. What ever way you look at this it looks like corruption to me all be it corruption without the brown envelopes.