Shocker: the Guardian’s ‘balanced’ panel of right-wing Blair-haters…hates Tony Blair

The politics of the four participants is well-known but left out by the liberal newspaper

Tony Blair


In assembling an election panel or ‘focused group’ to share its thoughts on Tony Blair’s speech on Europe yesterday, the Guardian newspaper appears to have hand-picked a group of right-wingers of various kinds, all of whom were likely to hate the former Labour prime minister.

Worse still, each participant was introduced merely as ‘author’ or ‘broadcaster’ instead of clearly stating their party loyalties – a very significant omission given the politics of the contributors. So let’s take a look at the panel.

First up is crime author Val McDermid, the most sympathetic of the group to Blair’s speech. McDermid is a supporter of the Scottish Nationalist Party, not just on last year’s independence referendum, but on its policies and record in office, citing ‘free prescriptions, no student tuition fees, social care for elderly people’.

She starts her response to Tony Blair’s speech like this: “When Tony Blair speaks these days, I grit my teeth. His legacy taints everything he says.” Not a fan then. Still, it’s nice to see she supports unity in Europe at least.

It’s worth noting also that despite the pose, the SNP is not a progressive force. As Left Foot Forward editor James Bloodworth wrote last year: ‘Nationalism isn’t progressive; it‘s nationalism.’

Then there’s ‘Kirsty Allsopp, broadcaster’. Allsopp, host of Location, Location, is the daughter of Charles Allsopp, 6th Baron Hidlip, a former peer in the House of Lords and ex-chairman of Christie’s auction house. Ms Allsopp describes herself as socially liberal but economically conservative, is a fan of David Cameron and Prince Charles, was mooted for a Tory peerage in 2010, and advised the Conservative party on housing in the last election.

In an interview in 2013, Ms Allsopp said:

I didn’t vote for Blair because he didn’t convince me that he had changed the core of Labour. And as long as the unions control the party, then I could never vote Labour.

A Tory foe of the only Labour leader to defeat the Tories in three consecutive elections. Who would have thought?

Then we have ‘Mike Reed, broadcaster’, a radio DJ and former Tory, who wrote a Calypso song in October to literally sing the praises of UKIP and Nigel Farage, in what he imagined was a Carribean accent. The second line of the song, which saw Reed accused of racism, went like this:

“Leaders committed a cardinal sin, open the borders let them all come in, illegal immigrants in every town, stand up and be counted Blair and Brown.

Right. Moving on.

Last up is ‘Salma Yaqoob, psychotherapist’. Yaqoob was until 2012 the chair of the Respect Party, which she co-founded in 2004, and for which she was a councillor in Birmingham, though no mention is made of this in the Guardian feature.

The Respect party, lest we forget, is led by George Galloway, friend and employee of dictators and fascists, and was built on an alliance with Islamic fundamentalists. Ms Yaqoob used her position as spokeswoman for the Birmingham Central Mosque to urge its worshippers to vote Respect in 2004. Is it really a surprise that the reactionary chair of a party set up in opposition to Tony Blair should be critical of his latest speech?

So much for the Guardian’s focused group: a nationalist, a Tory, a Kipper and a religious demagogue. Stocking a panel with people like this to respond to Blair’s speech is like asking a panel of dogs what they think of the cat.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

97 Responses to “Shocker: the Guardian’s ‘balanced’ panel of right-wing Blair-haters…hates Tony Blair”

  1. Guest

    Keep blaming all Islam for your views.

  2. Guest

    And as I didn’t repeat your ignorance, that’s great! There is of COURSE no conspiracy, which makes your clear belief in one even sillier.

    Chomsky, right. You ain’t fooling me, Putinite.

  3. Leon Wolfeson

    Ah yes, conspiracy theories. Get together with Ian, really.

  4. Guest

    PS, please send your thugs to 79 Paine’s Lane, Pinner HA5 3BX and don’t forget to tell them your name and why you’re sending them!

  5. Ian

    Islamic extremists never bombed us til after we invaded Iraq, did they? Saudi is a fine example of Islamic extremism but we don’t bomb their cities or slaughter their civilian, do we?

    We gave Saddam the nod and wink to invade Kuwait, iirc, then when we turfed him out we let him continue as dictator of Iraq. So much for morals, freedom and democracy, eh? Blair was a fig leaf because Dubya was a complete embarrassment, linking Iraq to the 9/11 thing. Blair, with his liberal surface sheen looked comparitively normal when Bush looked like what he was – a gung ho idiot, hell bent on war. You need to read up on he Project for a New American Century…

    We can *need* oil all we want but it not ours to take if the rightful owners won’t sell it to us. If you’re right that’s the more reason to switch to renewables. The technology is there, just no will. Personally, I think there’s too much profit in war for it to be stopped. See Haliburton f’rinstance.

    Morality isn’t an issue? Lol. Spoken like the true psychopath you seem to be.

  6. Ian

    Quote me saying anything about Hamas, George Galloway, separatism, borders or saying anything in support of Saddam Hussein killing people.

    I await your obfuscatory bilge without interest.

  7. Ian

    Vote LibDem, in that case. Blair was never in a million years a Labour man.


    Since when has morality ever been an issue in world politics? Or Great Britain for that matter!
    Britain has always paid the going rate for oil. The dictators in the Gulf are not sharing the wealth with their people. Not our problem. So as well as being a blawhard Ian you are a psychologist.

  9. Ian

    Good fucking grief. Again making shit up. One more reply then I’ll decide you’re trolling and leave you to it.

    Let me get ths straight, you think we *did* invade Iraq for the benefit of Iraqis? Evidence?

    America didn’t even consider the peace which goes to show they weren’t even slightly concerned about the civilians. I do not have a clue what you mean by ‘screwed up by overthrowing the war’. Where did I say I approved of Putin? Quote me.

    I said you should support dictators?? Again, quote me.

    You didn’t mention anti Israel terrorism.

    You rally haven’t got the slightest idea of the truth. In fact, you’re almost hasbara-like in your reliance on obfuscating, bluster and childish straw man technique.


    I will not blame Islam for all my views.

  11. Ian

    Stop being so boring. Give me an argument or bugger off. Amateur.

  12. Guest

    Thanks for signing your post appropriately.

    And I’m not here to amuse or argue with Putinities, as you want me censored for not playing to your prejudices and discussing the truth again.

  13. Guest

    In fact, Islamic extemists attacked Russia well before 9/11.

    …Russia did indeed give a not to Saddam, unlike the West.
    …Keep serving up your conspiracy theories, straight out of Putin’s little book.

    You’re just defending your Fatherland’s oil supplies, of course. And you wants you more war, I get it, just the right sort where you get to sell arms.

    Keep blaming others for your issues.

  14. Guest

    So then you go and do it again.

    It’s as if you told the average Christian on the street he was a member of the Inquisition.

  15. Guest

    So you wait for something which isn’t there, but you whine anyway.

    And of course you want to waste my time quoting you without pay, right. Nope, payment up-front for Putinities, or are you considering yourself entitled?

    But as you say, you don’t read prole posts, so…

  16. Guest

    “Never in a million years is the truth allowable” – Ian.

    He is and was, and he’s still to the left of Labour at present.

  17. Ian

    Which conspiracy do I believe in? Back it up with direct quotes.


  18. Ian

    Which conspiracy do I believe in? Back it up with direct quotes.


  19. Guest

    Yes, you are, griefer. Run away now, run along, trot back to master!

    As you take bad planning as a sign that magically something unrelated happened, right. And your posts keep backing Putin, you’re clearly one of his agents, etc.

    And right, I don’t share your conspiracy theories, as you start the Anti-Semetic screaming abour your hash bars, showing your membership in the hard right, and blaming me for your tactics.

    PS, no sign of your buddies at the police station. You’re empty bluster.

  20. Ian

    Which Ian said that? Blair is not to the left of Labour,
    the difference is very small.

  21. Ian

    Saddam was our placeman, you gimp. Do better or bugger off.

    More straw men? Lol

  22. Ian

    We very often support those dictators, though. That tends to piss off those affected by it. Interesting to note ‘we’ tend to be fine with the behaviour of our oil-rich allies in the middle east but as soon as a country with oil has a legit left wing government who use their oil for the betterment of the people – Venezuela – then we’re all over them, slandering, plotting coups…


    I do not know what an average christian is. Do not know many christians. I have read about the Inquisition and the Crusades. What is an average christian?

  24. Guest

    Russia’s placeman? Yes. Look at his weapons – Russian made.

    And I see it’s not straw men you’re burning, as you demand I be silent for contracting you and not being pro-Russian like you.

  25. Guest

    Aww, you’re backing down. And making excuses.

    You can dish it out, but not take it.

  26. Guest

    “Quote all my entire posts in the thread back to me” – An entitled rich man.

    No, payment up-front.
    “Tar”, from your smoking…


    Now Ian you should know that Venezuelan Oil is really US Oil. I note Cuba is now slowly joining the USA fold. Big Macs on the way. Havana Cigars all round chaps. Castro is confined to the dustbin of history. Good effort from him though.

  28. Ian

    You know he was the west’s man, troll.

  29. Ian

    Quote me.

  30. Ian

    Bore. Mental bore. Mental bore with cognitive difficulties. And a strikingly similar name to a former stock car racer from many years ago.


    .Chomsky, now that is a man who makes money from Capitalism.


    I read Chomsky over 40 yrs ago and had the English dictionary on my knee, then I got tired went to bed. Had to get up for work in the morning. Must be nice being a full time Stalinist.

  33. Guest

    You are? I’m sorry to hear that.

  34. Guest

    “Cognitive difficulties”

    I’m sorry to hear of your illness. Explains a lot.

  35. Guest

    “I control what you think”

    I know you’re Putin’s man, paid troll.

  36. Keith M

    What is the Guardian thinking of using these people? The sooner the Labour Party distances itself from Blair and his acolytes the better. We want a social democratic party – if the Blairies don’t like this let them join their true friends the Tories.

  37. Guest

    You’re making excuses.

  38. Guest

    And there we see your short, off the cuff, accurate-to-your-ideology views. Right.


    For what?

  40. Ian

    Thought not.

  41. Ian

    American governments seem to have that attitude.

  42. Ian

    I wasn’t aware anarchists didn’t need to at.

    You learn something new every day.

  43. Ian

    Stalinist? Lol. Okay.

  44. guidofawkes

    Right-wing bias at The Guardian? LOL

  45. Guest

    Well no, of course you didn’t think. Er…what does that have to do with posts, again? Pay up now!

  46. Leon Wolfeson

    You’re talking about Labour though, a lost cause.

  47. Faerieson

    To concentrate on Blair might be something of a shot in the foot. The man betrayed the roots of the Labour movement, almost certainly lied to the nation, regarding WMD, and pretty much wasted three Labour terms in office. The NHS certainly didn’t benefit from the proliferation PFIs that his premiership ushered in, and Blunkett almost immediately alienated the teachers, traditionally heavily supportive of the Labour movement.

    The Guardian might seem to have slipped slightly, regarding this article, but the paper wouldn’t have needed to search out ‘just’ right-wingers in order to find Blair haters. The nation’s left-wingers would be chomping at the bit to have a pop at this traitor.

    Incidentally, I regard myself as listing heavily to port.

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