Is Cameron cosying up to Murdoch with his BBC bashing?
Earlier disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act have confirmed that Blair had three telephone conversations with Murdoch in March 2003 in the lead-up to the Iraq War. After spending four years blocking the release of the details the government finally backed down the day after Blair resigned in July 2007.
All told, Blair had taken part in a total of six telephone discussions with Murdoch over a twenty month period. The three calls before the start of the American-led attack on Iraq took place within the space of nine days at a time when the Sun was unstinting in its support of Bush and Blair, praising the “courage and resilience” of the British Prime Minister. (Sun 20.3.2003). Despite the unpopularity in Britain of Blair’s support for George Bush in the war against Iraq, The Sun remained steadfast in its support of the Prime Minister and all four of the Murdoch newspapers urged readers to vote Labour in the 2005 general election.
Two front pages illustrate the closeness of that relationship. On the eve of the general election The Sun declared that it had got “deep down and personal with the Blairs” and the front-page headline, “Why Size Matters” (4.5.2005) led on to an inside spread which showed a tanned Prime Minister alongside some intimate quotes from his wife Cherie. In return for granting this titillating interview, The Sun repaid the compliment on polling day with a front page that urged readers to “Vote Labour Today” (5.5.2005). It showed the Prime Minister and the Chancellor dressed in red strips like Manchester United footballers and the headline said it all: “Come On You Reds” with Blair in the No.10 shirt and Gordon Brown as the No.11. Where The Sun’s support was so critical has been over the Iraq war and its consistent support for “Our Boys” or “The Lions of Basra” (4.9.2007) as they tended to be dubbed in Sun-speak.