Magazine article The Spectator

Since 11 September the Sun Has Become the Official Organ of British and American Power

Magazine article The Spectator

Since 11 September the Sun Has Become the Official Organ of British and American Power

Article excerpt

The Sun has gone mad - there is no other word for it. Day after day it tells us how lucky were are to have the heroic Tony Blair as our war leader. Day after day it assures us that Islam preaches peace, and that all Muslims, with the exception of Osama bin Laden and the Taleban, are our brothers. On Wednesday the paper lashed out at poor Hugo Young, the Guardian columnist, for daring to suggest that there may be inherent flaws in both Islam and America. Lucky for Hugo that he did not throw the blessed Tony Blair into the pot, or the Sun would have sent round some special forces to flush him out.

When the Sun first reminded us on 13 September that `Islam is not an evil religion', I thought to myself that this was a civilised and proper thing to say when some of the paper's wilder readers might possibly have been winding up to embark on a little jihad of their own. But it began to bang on about the perfect nature of Islam a little too often. On 17 September we were told that `this is not a war on Islam', and a week later urged us to smile at every Muslim. I have lost count of the number of times it has repeated that Islam is a peaceful religion. It was at it on Tuesday, and again on Wednesday, when it got heavy with poor Hugo for suggesting that not every single Muslim in the world was necessarily peace-loving.

Does this remind you of anything? What the Sun says about Islam could come from the mouth of Tony Blair. I am sure that it does - at any rate via the mouth of his press secretary, Alastair Campbell. Since 11 September the paper has become an organ of government. Even the normally scabrous Richard Littlejohn has become soft on our Prime Minister. Trevor Kavanagh, the Sun's acerbic political editor, gazes in wonder on Mr Blair. The editorials have to be read to be believed. On the same day that the paper had a go at Hugo Young, on its front page it also called for the sacking of Kate Adie, the BBC's chief news correspondent. Ms Adie had inadvertently let slip that Our Great Leader was on his way to Oman, thus supposedly putting him in peril. This was nonsense, of course. Mr Blair is probably a lot safer in and around Oman, which is bristling with British warships, tanks, aircraft and artillery, than he is in London.

Mr Blair is doing all right, and he needs our support, but it is barmy after only four weeks to compare him with Churchill, as did

Irwin Stelzer in Tuesday's Sun. Mr Stelzer is usually described as a `close confidant' of the paper's proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, whose own views must be largely driving the Sun. Mr Murdoch is, after all, an American, and America is the centre of his business empire. New York, as it happens, is the city where he has lived much of his adult life. David Yelland, the paper's editor, is also an extreme Americophile, and has in print described the United States as a freer country than Britain. Since 11 September the Sun has become an essentially American paper, which is to say that it is incapable of foreseeing any conceivable divergence between American and British interests. Alastair Campbell could see that he was pushing on an open door, and that the paper would eagerly lap up all of Mr Blair's questionable generalisations about the uniformly peaceful nature of Islam.

The Sun is not alone, and its sister paper, the Times, follows close behind. So does the Daily Telegraph, which last week celebrated Tony Blair's Labour party conference speech in terms Pravda might have once employed to extol the proceedings of the Politburo. …

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