Wednesday, 22 October 2008


There is something almost laughable about the way the interchange among right-wing groups moves eastward across the Atlantic. I noticed it today when Tim Montgomerie (not the one who was once married to Marion Jones), who has previously graced this blog when he's been featured in the Guardian (see here) returned to the G's pages to complain that the reasons for the press' coming down on shadow chancellor George Osborne (pictured above researching foreign affairs) for his discussions about how to sell his party to Russian oligarchs and get around the fact that such actions would be against the law, not to mention his blabbing Peter Mandelson's private excoriations of Gordon Brown, when both Osborne and Mandy were soaking up Nat Rothschild's totally disinterested hospitality, were solely down to their 'hating' Osborne.

This is a tactic the Montgomeries of our world have inherited from Karl Rove and Roger Ailes, who have dealt with criticism of Bush has for eight years by dismissing it as drivel from 'haters'. That this approach can even be broached by the all-encompassing love-in of the Republican Party, the Christian right, and Fox News is funny enough. But it's even better to the people who scream 'hang Obama' complain about the 'haters' who subjected Sarah Palin to the most vicious attacks in American history.

Molly Ivins (if you dont recognise the name, click here for my obit of her) wrote about this in the Bush context, arguing that (a) there were plenty of valid reasons to actually 'hate' Bush, but far more for legitimate criticism and, more importantly, (b) where were all these complainers when Bill Clinton was being accused to murdering Vince Foster,when Hilary was accused of being a lesbian, when Clinton was being persecuted over a blowjob by an investigator supposedly looking into a land investment, well, unless you're a committed right-winger you probably remember.

Now the haters have directed their bile at George Osborne. The press coverage is funny mostly because it's tit for tat: toffee-nosed GO freeloading off a Rothschild, and cozying up with so-called 'Socialist' and legacy Mandy 'Lord' Mandelson, then spilling the beans on their private conversation. It's almost admirable the way Gnat Rothschild feels Ozzie has let the side down, not been a gentleman, and that is more important than mere party politics. Clearly Ozzie forgot the old adage that he who pays the piper calls the tune.

The press relish this opportunity to reveal Ozzie for the empty tux that he is. He's in a real bind: polls show the public has more confidence in Gordon Brown (who BTW looks and sounds more and more like Nixon every day) and his ability to handle the financial crisis, but also holds him responsible for it. Problem is, how do you make political capital out of Brown's failure to regulate the free market when you are a party who ostensibly worship, if not live for, the free market? Mostly with secret plans that cannot be revealed, it seems.

Maybe Mandy could give him some advice about what to do when the press turn on you, though in his case, he always seems to be keeping on the right side for some of the press. What I do find worrying is that about a week ago, the Guardian also ran a piece about how Mandelson was treated roughly by the press (albeit not 'hated' by them) because he is gay. Not because a spin doctor whose greatest achievement in office was calling mushy peas guacamole and building the Millennium Dome, and whose greed has seen him twice resign in disgrace, only to be rewarded as the first television researcher ever to be put in charge, with no public consultation, of economic policy for the whole of Europe, and then 'ennobled' with a double-barrelled peerage, an exercise in upper-class titular bling that should have seen him docked right then.

Ozzie clearly has a long way to go before he reaches Mandelsonian depths. Tim Montgomerie, on the other hand, is likely to find more and more 'haters' out there, who simply refuse to think Tory as they find the country crumbling around them. And that, to him, must be scary.

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