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February 19, 2014

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Alex

Die Zeit did a great supplement with profiles of various Germans of 1914 recently, including Kessler. He was in London in July 1914 and travelled as far as Paris in the same compartment as Auguste Rodin, who apparently thought it would all blow over, as he invited Kessler to a party in a week's time. Kessler said his goodbyes and changed trains, pausing only (per diary) to buy a new raincoat, boots, and revolver (because there were no more Brownings to be had).

Alex

Meanwhile, you'll have seen this, but Tony Blair advises Rebekah Brooks to hold a "Hutton-style inquiry that will clear you":

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/feb/19/tony-blair-rebekah-brooks-phone-hacking

Summer of 2011 only gets to be a more seismic political event with time, no?

jamie

Yeah, in a confirming what we knew all along sort of way. Funny how the Beeb was a sort of early victim in the establishment civil war fully precipitated by the Leveson process.

Also reflects on Milibands effectiveness. He's quietly both broken the politics - police - murdoch nexus and stopped reflexive interventionism dead in its tracks. That's after stabbing his brother in the front. And the press are still going hurhur he looks like Gromit's sidekick.

Alex

Also, I'm beginning to feel surprised that none of Blair's kids has actually married into the Murdoch family.

ajay

Also, I'm beginning to feel surprised that none of Blair's kids has actually married into the Murdoch family.

Wrong ages. Murdoch's kids are either too old (the first litter are all in their forties, and married to boot) or too young (his second litter are both under ten) for any of Blair's kids to marry.

Dan Hardie

'Also reflects on Milibands effectiveness. He's quietly both broken the politics - police - murdoch nexus and stopped reflexive interventionism dead in its tracks.'

Hmmm- when you hear someone retailing the Great Man Theory of History, it's time to get sceptical. And in this case, I think the scepticism is justified. Defeating the ridiculously timorous David Miliband in an election strikes me as being a rather small achievement.

Both the Murdoch/police/politics case and Syrian intervention were harder and a lot more consequential. But in both, there were a lot of causal factors operating, and I can't see (particularly re Murdoch) that Miliband was the single most important factor.

Miliband deserves high marks for asking for an inquiry (and demanding that Cameron block the NI-News Corp merger) as the first details of the Millie Dowler case came out. But the hard yards on uncovering what Murdoch's people had been up to had been made by Nick Davies, which was only possible because Alan Rusbridger backed him to the hilt. And a lot of other people, notably Tom Watson and Chris Bryant, did a great deal to bring the nasty stuff to light.

It was important- probably more important than in the Murdoch case- that Miliband stood up in the House and announced that he wasn't, on reflection, going with the Syrian intervention motion. But even that came at the end of a long chain of other things.

Much of the Parliamentary Labour Party just wasn't going to put up with another intervention, at least not on the case that Cameron was presenting. The Labour vote mattered because the Tory backbenches were also, in large part, rebelling against the motion, and so Cameron needed Opposition votes. The Tories were rebelling partly because Cameron was too much of a fool to make sure he had a majority before calling for his vote.

Most importantly, both Tory and Labour rebels were not prepared to back the Syrian intervention because of their own, and their constituents', feelings about what had happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. The no vote on Syria had something to do with Ed M, but as much or more to do with ten years of history, a Tory rebellion, an incipient Labour rebellion, and Cameron's ineptitude.

It doesn't do anyone any favours to stare with awe at the man when he's just a guy who's made some good calls and some bad ones. In particular, he seems to have no clue at all about how to make sure Labour goes into the next election decently funded, and he could hardly have made a bigger cock-up of Falkirk.

Alex

"I seem to remember sometimes I would write things down to myself. Obviously it's a letter and I probably woke up the next morning and thought better of it," she said of the letter, which was discovered by police when they searched her Chelsea home following her arrest in 2011.

(http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/feb/21/rebekah-brooks-affair-andy-coulson-phone-hacking-trial)

This seems to happen a lot to people around News International, doesn't it? Strange combination of constantly spying on all sorts of people, and an almost militant lack of security consciousness. I guess it's entitlement.

nick s

Wrong ages. Murdoch's kids are either too old (the first litter are all in their forties, and married to boot) or too young (his second litter are both under ten) for any of Blair's kids to marry.

If anyone were to bring back the old dynastic child-marriage, it'd be the Blairdochs.

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