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Crikey Says

Feb 20, 2014

Crikey says: Blair the crisis management consultant

The department screwed up, now Scott Morrison himself puts asylum seekers at risk. The crass commercialisation of the Anzac centenary. Critics rally around financial adviser reforms. A $1 billion federal budget saving: UK pensioners. Fairfax reports, and a Melbourne media merger. Plus Helen Razer on the public blame game.

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Former Labor frontbencher Greg Combet is reportedly offering expert advice for a hefty $400 an hour. Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, hands his out for free.

Of course, he’d never think of charging Rebekah Brooks, James Murdoch and other News Corporation lieutenants he considers mates. He was only too happy to help them dodge the ongoing fallout around systemic phone hacking and corruption at Rupert Murdoch’s gutter newsrooms. After all, it was The Sun that put Blair in Downing Street and rallied support for his most controversial decision, to follow the United States into Iraq. This was the least Blair could do.

The phone hacking trial threw up a juicy email from Brooks overnight, with Blair apparently advising her during an hour-long phone chat — six days before Brooks was arrested — to launch an internal probe to help clear her name.

“It will pass,” the caring ex-PM said, advising her to lay off the sleeping pills to “have clear heads”.

The most damning evidence to emerge from this saga won’t be the dodgy practices of Murdoch’s journalists and hired investigators — that we could have guessed. It’s the revolting relationships between the company and the most powerful people in Britain.

You can begin to imagine some of the relationships that might be in place between Murdoch’s men and Tony Abbott’s government here.

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