Conservative Murdoch fixer, Dr Irwin Stelzer, rejects the notion he could bully British PM Tony Blair on Rupert’s behalf.
According to the UK’s left leaning quality Sunday newspaper
The Observer, 72 year-old US right wing economist Dr Irwin Stelzer, is not only
a trusted advisor to Rupert Murdoch, but presents as a high powered advisor
also to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
With little fanfare The Observer claims this is the first
press interview the suddenly talkative Stelzer has done. But that seems hardly credible for a man who
has risen so high in the esteem of the world’s most powerful media mogul, and
among other things contributes right wing columns to the Murdoch press – and
operates politically on both sides of the Atlantic?
Read the full article here.
Certainly the paper offers a compelling examination along
with his own insights, as to the high powered circles in which Stelzer moves
and operates. The Observer also raises
the issue of just how Murdoch’s influence is seen to pervade UK politics,
particularly in his relationship with Blair and his Chancellor Gordon Brown, and how
Stelzer is widely seen as playing an active role in the mix.
David Smith in the article headed
online: ‘It’s crazy to think that I’d threaten Blair’ – writes:
‘Last spring was seen as a
brutal example of who really runs Britain. Stelzer visited Blair in Downing Street. Soon after, the Prime Minister
made the biggest U-turn of his career by announcing a referendum on the
European Union constitution, a matter on which he had originally said he would
not budge. Political commentators were in no doubt: Stelzer had threatened
Blair with an ultimatum that, unless he let the people decide, the Eurosceptic
Murdoch would order the Sun and the Times to withdraw their support and back
the Tories at next year’s general election.’
Which also leads to an obvious question – if this is the
first newspaper interview the enigmatic Stelzer has done, why has he only broken
cover now so to speak to talk of his powerful friends and defend Murdoch
against bullying or manipulating Blair and Brown?
How about flogging his book Neoconservatism – a collection of right wing essays by various
neo-cons he’s gathered together and edited with his own introduction, and
published by Atlantic Books for a penny under 20 quid. Now that explains his little exclusive with
the paper and ironically but sensibly not incestuously discussing the Sun King
in one of his own publications, but more to the point is, just who really is Dr
Irwin Stelzer, and where does he fit into the Murdoch-Bush-Blair global
domination scheme of things?
The paper writes of him:
defined as Rupert Murdoch’s emissary, secret agent and representative on earth.
To some this makes him a devil incarnate. Peter Oborne, political editor of the
Spectator, wrote that Stelzer ‘stands in the same kind of relationship to
Murdoch as Suslov did to Stalin’. Chris Patten, the former EU commissioner,
remarked: ‘I wouldn’t sup with Irwin Stelzer if I had a spoon a yard long.’
his own words:
“I’ve been a friend of Mr.
Murdoch for a very long time and I’m a consultant to News International and to
News Corporation, but I do not have any formal position. I certainly don’t have
the position of formulating Mr. Murdoch’s political views and enforcing them on
the British Prime Minister. The notion that I’m an enforcer is so bizarre: I
can’t tell you how bizarre it is.”
But clearly The Observer feels the man’s influence in the UK
is being a little undersold by himself.
‘This is a man so powerful, well connected and free from self-doubt that
his reputation as Murdoch’s man, and the brickbats it attracts, seems unlikely
to keep him awake at night.’
‘I can’t make up my mind if it’s
really wonderful for me or bad for me. It’s a silly idea but I’ve learnt to
live with it. I’m never going to talk anyone out of it. It makes such a good
story that they’re going to print it – so what the hell?’
The Observer also discusses his relationship as a confidant to
the two most powerful men in British politics, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. As such he offers what the paper claims to be
‘unrivalled insight into the Blair-Brown relationship’. But attacks what the paper calls: ‘the
widespread perception that he is Murdoch’s “enforcer”, capable of bending Downing
Street to the mogul’s will’. Stelzer ridicules any suggestion that
Murdoch or himself would try to bully or threaten the British PM.
“That’s an idea that’s crazy. The Prime Minister is standing
there being threatened by 600 people almost every day in Parliament but doesn’t
cave in. They can question his job; Rupert Murdoch can’t do that.”
Also for those of us who worry about Blair’s “follow the
leader” relationship with the US president, Stelzer does nothing to calm our
fears when he claims: “Blair is a ‘more intuitive’ politician (than Brown) – who
is ‘more comfortable in the Middle England and celebrity milieu’, and has told
Stelzer that ‘George W Bush is one the most intelligent men he’s ever met’.”
Reading this it’s hard to know which is the greater worry. That Blair is in such close proximity to a
Murdoch neo conservative think tank, or Blair’s judgment as to the brain power