Britain moves to stop diplomat tell-alls 6


By SUE LEEMAN in Seattlepi.com

LONDON – Britain issued new rules for diplomats Wednesday to stop the publishing of tell-all memoirs such as a recent portrayal of Prime Minister Tony Blair as starstruck and senior ministers as “political pygmies.”

Ministers were chagrined in November when former ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer published his explosive “D.C. Confidential.” Meyer depicted Blair as starstruck and failing to stand up for Britain in the run-up to the Iraq war, and he described senior Cabinet members as “political pygmies.”

In the memoir, Meyer also told how, as a Downing Street press secretary, he would brief former Conservative Prime Minister John Major as the premier washed and dressed in the morning, sometimes while Major’s wife, Norma, lay in bed.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who has accused Meyer of breaking a trust, published new guidelines Wednesday which specifically prevent Foreign Office staff from “writing anything that would damage the confidential relationship between ministers, or between ministers and officials.” Meyer’s book was submitted to the Cabinet Office which also consulted the Foreign Office before it was published.

Britain’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has published documents he says prove that Britain knowingly received intelligence extracted under torture from prisoners in the former Soviet state. Murray was sacked over the allegations.

The revised guidelines advise that “the good conduct of government requires ministers to have confidence that they can have full and frank discussions with officials, without concern that these may then appear in the public domain.”


6 thoughts on “Britain moves to stop diplomat tell-alls

  • Richard II

    "Britain's former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has published documents he says prove that Britain knowingly received intelligence extracted under torture from prisoners in the former Soviet state. Murray was sacked over the allegations."

    Craig Murray doesn't have to publish his book. It's pretty obvious government ministers are complicit in these crimes. Lie after lie after lie is all we've had from them.

    Shame on the British public for allowing Tony Blair, a psychopath, to get away with bullshitting the public.

    Blair, the Christian? "God" advising him? How can anyone be so stupid as to believe such crap? Blair should have been kicked out of the Parkinson studio, and told to go right to hell. How dare he insult the public's intelligence like this.

    First, Blair condemns religious extremism, then he says "God" told me to invade Iraq. In other words, he participated in bombing another nation not for a rational, legal, and moral reason; rather, he did so, blindly, on "God's" advice.

    Didn't someone assassinate a former Israeli Prime Minister on "God's" advice?

    Blair, by his own admission, is a religious extremist, and by his own definition, that makes him part of the cause of terrorism, and therefore a threat to the world.

    For 18 long years the British kept the Tories in power. And for 18 long years, the British will keep Labour in power.

    No wonder government ministers spit on the British people, on human rights, and on democracy.

  • Chuck Unsworth

    This latest series of rulings is entirely for the benefit of Ministers. There's no equivalent ruling to stop Ministers from 'leaking'. It's evident that some Ministers seem to regard it as their duty to leak.

    Damage to 'confidential relationships' goes on all the time the world over. So what? The 'important' thing (as those clowns in Downing Street so often say) is the National Interests. And in this respect it's clear that New Labour lost the plot many years ago.

    I do not think that Meyer's book was much more than an entertaining read. His 'revelations' were pretty superficial – although quite amusing. That people like Straw or Blair get embarrassed by this sort of gossip is a measure of them, rather than the authors.

    Men of greater stature would merely laugh and shrug it off, but these pygmies take umbrage at anything which might indicate their own human failings. How pathetic. They need to get out a bit more.

  • Richard II

    Chuck wrote: "The 'important' thing (as those clowns in Downing Street so often say) is the National Interests. And in this respect it's clear that New Labour lost the plot many years ago."

    What does "national interests" mean?

    It seems to be a term that has no clear definition; it means different things to different people; it has the kind of ambiguity politicians love.

    Does it mean what's in the public's interest? What's in the interest of transnational corporations? What's in the interest of society's privileged classes? Or, perhaps, it's just something that's convenient for politicians to say.

    If Blair doesn't want to give a proper explanation for something (that's most of the time!), he can just say it's being done in the national interest.

    Example 1: Want to keep Britain out of the Euro? Blair says it "would be a betrayal of our national interests".

    Thank God that's cleared up!

    Example 2: Want a country that doesn't hold on to America's coattails? According to Blair, Britain's role as a U.S. ally (read "handmaiden") is in its "national interests".

    Glad that's sorted.

    The term ought to be dropped.

    Fathers say to their "recalcitrant" children: "You will do it because I SAY SO!"

    Blair says to a "disobedient" British nation: "You must support me, because IT'S IN THE NATIONAL INTERESTS!"

    WOOOOO! Blair, you're scaring us.

    According to Blair, it's also in our "national interests" to support corporate globalization. In other words, the public should defend U.S. corporations like Betchel (with British corporations working under them) taking over Bolivia's water supply (just one example), hiking the prices, and when the Bolivian people, who live on $960 a year (equivalent to a U.S. income of $2700), balk, and decide to use rain water instead (which, naturally, they think is free), we should support Betchel turning around and saying, sorry, but that's a criminal offence – you can't touch the rain water without OUR permission!

    After many protests and not one or two injuries and deaths later, the Bolivian people finally got their water supply back.

    But things still look pretty bleak for them. And they'll start to look pretty bleak for us, too, if we keep on listening to Blair and his cohorts' murderous talk.

  • Richard II

    I wrote: "After many protests and not one or two injuries and deaths later, the Bolivian people finally got their water supply back."

    I should have written:

    "After many protests, and not one or two injuries and deaths later, BUT MANY, the Bolivian people finally got their water supply back."

    That's what happens when you make a post at 6:25 in the morning.

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Well, some will understand the term 'National Interests' and some will not. Maybe that understanding also depends on a perception of Britain as an entity – as opposed to a loose conglomeration on English, Scots, Welsh, Irish etc, or any other random groupings which one may choose.

    The fact that Blair and others have chosen to distort or nuance the meanings of commonly accepted terms in their political utterances is regrettable if not unexpected. However, for many people the English Language remains relatively clear and unambiguous. I count myself as one of them.

    But, to take Richard's (early morning) point and given the current levels of credibility, perhaps we should ask our politicians to explain precisely why or how any course of action they propose may benefit the British people when they declare that something is in the 'National Interests'.

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