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Blair's daughter Kathryn in suicide bid

Tony Gosling | 15.06.2004 17:25

Last month it appears Tony Blair's daughter Kathryn tried to commit suicide. According to my sources the combination of pressure over father Tony's warmongering at school, parental neglect and general exam stress were behind the bid.
Various commentators have noted a shift in press reporting of Blair's chances of remaining as party leader since the news blackout on this story.

Katherine Blair with her war crime suspect dad and relatively crime free mum
Katherine Blair with her war crime suspect dad and relatively crime free mum

Tony Blair's daughter in suicide bid

On or around Thursday 13th May 2004 Tony Blair's 16 year old daughter Kathryn attempted to commit suicide. She is in the middle of exams, believed to be GCSE's, and took an overdose of unknown pills. She was rushed to hospital and a news blackout was requested by the PM's office and adhered to by the British Press.

Katherine is believed to be studying at the Sacred Heart school in Hammersmith, West London, a Roman Catholic state secondary school. News about the suicide attempt was confirmed by Alan Johnson, Labour MP for West Hull and Hessle.

So, was this a sudden pang of concience from the British tabloids over sensitive reporting of the PM's family? Or the establishment press (yes even the tabloids are owned by the establishment) kow-towing to protect the flagging public image of the most disasterous Prime Minister this country has ever seen just before local/European elections?

In a democracy, the public have a right to know about the family failings of anyone in public office - it enables them to judge whether to vote for that individual or not. When that failing family is the Prime Ministers the press have a duty to inform the public - not to protect politicians' images from public scrutiny.

More details and guidelines on suicide reporting here

If you're thinking of posting a comment please refrain from the 'I don't care' type. This is a serious issue of censorship and how a young woman's cry for help has been ignored to protect her war crimes suspect dad. [Tony G]

Tony Gosling
- e-mail:
- Homepage:


Hide the following 58 comments

Public interest?

15.06.2004 17:37

How is this relevant to anything, or anyone outside of the girl's immediate circle of family and friends? A media blackout doesn't seem unreasonable given her age, obviously fragile mental state and complete lack of involvement in politics or government. Reporting this seems to be a pretty unneccesary and unkind invasion of Kathryn Blair's privacy.



15.06.2004 17:48

Oh dear "Thora". Cat's out of the bag and you've been told to calm things down eh?


Evidence of a messed up family

15.06.2004 18:28

Amazing to see how people on a so-called open publishing website can be so against the reporting of such an important story - a story i fact that may have affected the outcome of elections.

Despite what these nasty sounding characters say we are grown up enough not to be afraid of reading and talking about suicide.

There is a word for protecting Joe Public from bad news to do with establishment figures - it's censorship and thats exactly what Indymedia is there to stop.

Well done Tony for posting this and you're quite right on the implications for press freedom of the cabinet office demanding it must not appear.

Of course you will get slagged off for posting it - by the usual suspects who troll around this website - one of the downsides to not having proper editors.

I know I am not the only person who will be genuinely shocked to hear this news and be better informed about old Blair and his ways.

mail e-mail:

Difficult... but should it really be here?

15.06.2004 20:28

I'm not comfortable with this post. But my comfort isn't important. What is important...

This wire is, I believe consensus continues, an activist resource. I am not sure how this one helps us as activists?

There is a __serious__ issue around mental health, schools and exam stresses. This article fails to highlight these issues because it names individuals. Reporting, and campaigning, must highlight the many people involved and doesn't need names.

There maybe family issues that Tony Blair is living with, and his responses to them. There maybe his children's stresses because of living with someone in his situation. I don't doubt it, however, I am not happy with speculation about these issues being on the wire as: they are probably inaccurate, and are certainly of little use to activists.

We want to change things, for the better. Lets tackle issues of mental health properly. Lets not point fingers at people without talking to them. Lets involve people in changing things.

This article doesn't deserve space on our wire.


no fences round the truth please

15.06.2004 21:06

The idea that Indymedia is an activist resource alone may be your opinion, but its certainly not a 'consensus' ekes. It is first about getting to the truth. About breaking the power of the press to ring fence and censor any story. Especially in a time of war.

At least thats why boys and girls with programming skills like me donated our time, and the last thing any of us want is for Indymedia to become an 'activist ghetto' that the wider public can't see the point in.

And who says Kathryn's mentally ill apart from ekes? Much more likely she's feeling isolated and unloved by her 'sorry, no time for you now Kathryn' parents. Is the upset and confused 16 year old daughter of a bullying world statesman not worthy of our concern?

So if this story proves to be true ekes, as it appears to be, its a big scoop for us activists against the censored press. And, unlike so many of the 'preaching to the converted' posts on the wire, will get more of joe public reading and talking about the site. Far more radicalising than you'd like maybe?

A slap for the government, the corporate press and - bless me - 'Thora' & 'Ekes' too?

Accommodation in Croatia

Wrong date? Or 2nd attempt?

15.06.2004 22:44

If you follow the link provided, there's another link to a forum ( ) where there's a discussion on her suicide attempt, which started on 23rd April. There's also a discussion on Google groups ( ) dated 29th April.

Presumably either the author got the wrong date, this is a 2nd attempt, or an old rumour is being rehashed. At the moment I'm inclined to be sceptical about the story, mainly because there isn't really anything to back it up, and anyone who uses the internet should know that whilst the internet is great as a source of open news, it can be difficult to know whether to trust information. I'd have thought that if the decision not to publish the story was voluntary, the story would easily have got out- there's a lot of fairly mainstream publications that will print anything as long as they won't get sued. If there was actually an injunction taken out, surely there would be an outcry by editors as there often has been in the past when the Government attempts to block publication of embarrassing information, and at the very least some foreign news sources would have published by now?

Then again perhaps it's only beginning to come out, in which case well done Indymedia. If anyone does have any other links I'd be interested to read them.

mail e-mail:

mental health

15.06.2004 23:29

Of course, this story really is of earth shattering political significance.

And nothing like a load of nutters gloating over it to help a fragile state of mind.


Prurient Interest

16.06.2004 00:15

The statement that a public figures family concerns are public concerns is one i would find troubling. From this side of the Irish sea we always took pride in our media being less intrusive than yours - to the extent that we lived in denial about loads of things. But when we started to publish in mainstream and then independent media different stories - there was generally a reason. I can see no reason for this story other than commerce.

IMHO Indymedia should not censor this story unless it is proved factually untrue. The reason that it was published should be an important issue - this is not the drudge report and that is not a worthwhile route into the 'mainstream'.

Offered in fraternal solidarity.

Hi ekes.



16.06.2004 01:50

Why does this need to be public knowledge? If I had attempted suicide I might not want the whole world to know just becuase my dad happened to be PM.

And don't give me that bull about censoring a 'young girl's cry for help'; if she wanted the whole bloody world to know she would've gone to the press herself, right?

BTW This story has apparently been floating around awhile now unofficially amongst journos but was not reported for obvious reasons...

I am loath to call for a censoring of it; that feels like imc is somehow towing the govt line, but there are plenty of better ways to criticise Blair than tell stories of his family, and I wouldn't have published it myself.



16.06.2004 02:19

seeking attention...

or a marylyn manson fan!

the threads above are , like Woah!
so f**kin purile...

like, Woah! cool ...

yeah Woah!

radical dude...

Tony Blair is a pig

but his daughters a child
becoming a woman...
it's a stressful time

A lot of adolescants go through this
it seems to be , like , woah! so cool
to do yourself in...

she needs care...

He needs to taken out on No. 10 , put on trial...
and found guilty of deception both of leading this country into an invasion
and for calling it a war...

not to mention the murder of innocent civilians
[that's consumers to you Mr Blaaah]

and the appropriation of intelligence for private war profiteering

as jean luc Picard once said


Captain Wardrobe

Well out of order

16.06.2004 11:25

This is well out of order, a 16 year old girl has (apparently) tried to commit suicide, the last thing she needs is a load of publicity to contribute to her already unstable mental state.


This is really fucking sick and it makes me fucking angry! Trying to make a political point out this is shit, just cos she's Tony Blair's daughter doesn't mean that her whole private life should be put through the media spotlight. Do you want to drive a girl to death? Is that what you want? Just because someone is the daughter of someone famous doesn't mean they should suffer, for all we know she hates her dad and think he's a bastard (i hated mine!).

Attack Tony Blair but leave his children out of it.

Miss Point


16.06.2004 11:36

i have hidden this article. the reasons why are stated in a post to the imc-uk-features admin list, hosted on - this is the appropriate forum to respond to with opinions on imc-uk editorial policy and the hiding/unhiding of individual articles. please note that all articles remain visible from the 'view all posts' page, linked to from the 'editorial guidelines' page.



it just might be important

19.06.2004 23:49

It might be more important that we can guess. Has anyone thought of the possibility that she might know of something coming up that is not worth living for....or through? Teenagers do see the world differently. and if she is so distraught from Daddy's job. I think it would have shown by know...

But that's just my opinion. Just remember, if it seems too bizarre to hold truth... it probably is true!


You idiots

20.06.2004 13:49

God almighty.

The reason the media (that includes both press and broadcasters, as some of you seem to forget) hasn't touched this story is NOT because we've had a crisis of conscience, nor because Tony has asked us to stay away.

IF we chose to report this (and there are those who say we should) the chances are that the poor girl would try to commit suicide again, and most likely succeed. She's had to deal with having one of the most famous and photographed men in the world as a father, problems with her weight, AS WELL AS all the problems that a child of that age has to encounter.

Various people in the press have made veiled references to the situation (look for mentions of "family problems" or of Blair choosing to "concentrate on his family") but no one will be idiotic enough to state it explicitly. Indeed, there was some discussion of the government's recent proposal to allow cameras into the daily lobby briefing, as this very topic had been dealt with my the PM's press secretary during lobby.

The story will eventually come out, but not till after Blair leaves Downing Street.

One of the problems of being a "network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues" is that by being out of the loop you occasionally don't get the point. Claiming that information on this suicide bid is in the public interest sounds a bit disingenuous - you might dislike Blair, but seeking ammo to use against him, at the expense of an emotionally-disturbed teenager, is beyond the pale.


Important fact on suicide

21.06.2004 09:35

Suicide attempts only tend to be repeated if they are ignored.


Hannah Firth


21.06.2004 11:52


Trite one-line statements on the factors influencing suicide attempts are rather silly. I doubt Blair is ignoring his daughter's suicide attempt, and I wonder at the utility of having the entire nation talking about it.

Would be nice if Mr Gosling re-entered this debate, central, as he is, to domestic journalism - secretary of the Bristol NUJ indeed.


Yes yes,

21.06.2004 16:07

Well, it was an extreme thought for extreme times. A public figure - willing to risk lives based on known lies, certainly does not and should not for the length of his/her term deserve to hide anything from public scrutiny. Because they adhere to shadow tactics that get true innocence killed does not give them the right to shout "please stay out of my life!" what a crock. Shouldn't the news reporters thereby ask every person involved in every story "listen, do you want us to print this story? We certainly won't if you ask us not to?" Right, what a joke! How many stories are there that Tony Blair or G.W. Bush ask not be printed? Reporting is reporting. But, I suppose if politicians are owned, the media (or quite a few in the media) might as well be too. Everyone's got short hairs to be led around by...


Reasons are Important

22.06.2004 00:51

I think it would be relevant because one has to wonder why a young woman would deem it necessary to commit suicide; is it because of anything her father is responsible for? If so, then we must stop and consider, if even the man's own daughter cannot be swayed by his appeals to justify war, should the common voter? If not, then it is still valuable to recognize that even such a one as the daughter of rulers has issues that are not addressed in today's world, so how much more for oneself? She is related to "fame" (or "infamy", depending on one's perspective), and she must learn to deal with ALL that "fame" entails...


Usefulness of Indy Media

22.06.2004 23:28

I think its fine that the press have not published this particular bit of news but I believe it demonstrates the usefulness of indy news as a 'soft' alternative. The story is relevant because it relects on the PM's priorities and passions. If TB was less concerned about prosecuting new world order wars against sovereign nations in pursuit of some utopian goal he may have had more time to dedicated to his family and domestic policy.

I feel sorry for his daughter, but I do feel tony is partly to blame. Stop sucking up to internationlist handlers Tony and start running this country properly!


It's not so straightforward...

26.06.2004 01:30

Blair's daughter is not a public figure so I see no good reason why anyone should air such items for all of the reasons already mentioned by others. What's more if the story is false, it could still affect her.

However in saying that Mondays Guardian had an item "FBU leader 'fingered by No 10'" that claims Downing St was spinning against FBU leader Andy Gilchrist and his family. If the assertions from the FBU are accurate (even though I object to such reporting) there would seem to be adequate intellectual and ethical justification for the Blair item.

(From Monday's Guardian)
...A FBU statement said: "The hounding of every generation of Mr Gilchrist's family in the past two years by elements of the media have contributed greatly to the problems he and his family are now facing...."

Full item here


andy gilchrist...

27.06.2004 11:46

... is a fucking tool, though. Eighty grand for FBU chief? Kier Hardie is turning in his grave.


Look at the way Tony holds his daughter's hand

30.06.2004 08:53

Look at the way Tony Blair holds his daughter's hand in the picture. Awkward - creepy - weird - as if he thinks she's some kind of rag doll. Everything about this man smells of brown stuff. He is surely the biggest traitor England has ever known.

Oh I wish the Spitfires and Hurricaines from the Battle of Britain would reappear and shoot down Blair and his treacherous cronies.

BBC emergency transmitter control - Wood Norton
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- Homepage:

Look at the way Tony holds Kathryn's hand

30.06.2004 09:13

Tony holds Kathryns hand like she is some kind of rag doll. Everything this man does smels of brown stuff.

BBC Emergency transmitter control centre - Evesham

Protect the Blair brand whatever the cost

30.06.2004 16:39

Its not about apportioning blame it's about what we are and are not allowed to know about our so called leaders families.

Religion and Family of 'the great one' are out of bounds?? Since when - and what happens when a leader the establishment don't like is implicated in a family disaster?
You got it in one - its all over the front pages.

The debate is between two competing imperitives.
1. Voters right to know.
vs. 2. Kathryn's need for anonymity.

But instead the debate isn't even happening.

My points are these - That if we can't report this suicide attempt what suicide attempts can we report?
I contend that the censorship is all about protecting the Blair brand and nothing to do with protecting Kathryn who has made a cry for help that's been virtually ignored.

Tony G

Tony G
- Homepage:

why this article was hidden

03.07.2004 11:29

This article was hidden by garcondumonde for the following 'reasons'

Which boil down to this
Because he wasn't sure it was factual - By which excuse everything in indymedia can be hidden - and because the PM's daughter is named. (which is public knowledge anyway)

Worrying isn't it - unless you're an infiltrator

[Imc-uk-features] [article:293456] infactual? and...
garcondumonde gdm at
Wed Jun 16 04:24:04 PDT 2004

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i've read through this post and all the comments (there are a number
subsequent to ekes' comment).

the majority are in favour of NOT hiding the article.

i have hidden it.

Why?? there are a number of reasons. i will post a short comment under the
article linking to this email as well....

1. firstly, i agree with the comment ekes made about mental health problems:

> There is a __serious__ issue around mental health, schools and exam
> stresses. This article fails to highlight these issues because it names
> individuals. Reporting, and campaigning, must highlight the many people
> involved and doesn't need names.

teenagers are under an enormous amount of stress that is often
unrecognised. adolescent girls are pretty much at the peak of the iceberg
in terms of numbers of attempted suicide: they do it more than anybody
else (although fortunately they are less successful than their male

2. there appears - from comments posted under the article and from surfing
various other BBs found thru - to be some variance in the
details around the story. it is not entirely clear what happened when, and
the story is merely attributed to "my sources" - hardly a descriptive
account of what role/credibility those people may have.

3. kathryn blair has already been found involved in disputes over stories
about her in the press:

"39. Blair MP v Mail on Sunday (Report 47, 1999)"

"...the Commission noted the Code's responsibility to protect vulnerable
children. In this case, it considered that Kathryn would start school at
the centre of a row over the validity of her admission and felt that the
story therefore had significantly affected her welfare at a particularly
crucial time....

it considered that the article was in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the
Code of Practice. It therefore followed that, because the article was
misleading, there could be no public interest in its contents. The breach
of Clause 1 necessarily would demonstrate a breach of Clause 6 (Children)
in that untrue allegations connected to a child would automatically harm
her welfare and obviate the public interest defence. The Commission—in
line with the precedents set out in Section 1—also noted the extent to
which Mr and Mrs Blair had gone to protect the privacy of their daughter."

i think this is an interesting reference because it, legitimately, raises
questions about press adherence to a voluntary code of conduct (please
correct me if i am wrong about any of the details: i am neither a lawyer
nor a journalist!) regarding personal privacy - including the privacy of a
child - in a public arena. there are implications for indymedia, too...

by following the logic presented in this quote (and the full reference,
which is only a few lines longer), i think that the article should be
hidden: there is not enough evidence that it is correct and i think that
the article could be more damaging.

[nb. a medical definition of childhood in the uk includes all those under
the age of 16 and those up to the age of 18 who remain in full-time

My suggestion would be that the article is perhaps re-written, anonymising
the name of the child (although i would agree that the public interest may
be served best by stating "there are rumours that one of tony blair's
children attempted suicide last month" or something similar) in order that
this important aspect of our society can be highlighted.

i note that the article is printed in full on tony gosling's own website,
The All Seeing Eye - and
i am not trying to suggest that that should be changed as i have no place
to do so. i do find, however, that it is interesting that one of the links
from the article on that website is to "Ethical guidance on the reporting
of suicide" -

from there, i quickly reached guidelines which talked about "suicide
contagion" and also raised as a concern the fact that,

"Using adolescents on TV or in print media to tell the stories of their
suicide attempts may be harmful to the adolescents themselves or may
encourage other vulnerable young people to seek attention in this way."

i finish with another quote from ekes:

> We want to change things, for the better. Lets tackle issues of mental
> health properly. Lets not point fingers at people without talking to
> them. Lets involve people in changing things.

love & solidarity,


nb. i would like to remind everyone that no article is removed from - they are all visible by following the 'view all
posts' link which can be found on the editorial guidelines page,

Tony Gosling
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

the story has appeared today on a very famous Italian "gossip" website

14.07.2004 23:01

today the story about blair's daughter has appeared on the italian website of dagospia:

this is a very much visited gossip website. Its editor, Roberto d'Agostino says that the website can be more independent than other mass media because it is financed by porn or quasi porn ads.

In any case, the news is out there.

david panizzi

david panizzi

between the devil and the deep blue sea?

28.07.2004 09:56

whilst i agree this in the interest of those wishing to fully judge the all round actions and capabilities of blair, i also respect the right of the daughter to privacy. her fathers failings should not automatically mean her actions and distress are deemed public property.



19.08.2004 14:37

What you have to ask yourself is if this was the son/daughter of a minor disposable B list celebrity would the red tops have gone to town on it? I think so.



14.09.2004 13:13

Conspiracies everywhere eh? Perhaps, just perhaps, the media blackout by responsible media organisations was because of the awfulness of Kathryn's suicide attempt coupled with the reality that she has nothing to do with politics? Its a reasonable case of self censorship, rather than big brother regulation. Lets face it, reporting her suicide attempt is in plain bad taste....


how unfair!

15.09.2004 11:15

don't you think there was a british press blackout for a reason?i dont think it will help kathryn at all to know that there is a site telling every one about it-this could make the situation worse-she will feel like evryone is looking at her-where is your conscience?
although im not a labour supporter im sure like any parent tony is doing what's best for her-keeping it quiet was one thing.

mail e-mail:

Thanks, this should be reported.

15.09.2004 12:03

If someone is prepared to attempt suicide because of the shame she feels for being from a family of murdering war-criminals of course it's news.

Even if it was just exam pressure it is relevant (maybe now we know why Tony Blair is dumbing down all the exams).

Does anyone from the sycophantic mainstream press care to comment on how this was cesored?


Celebrity is as celebrity does!!

15.09.2004 22:09

The Blairs live there lives as celebrities and expect all the little perks that go along with that celebrity - free holidays - bargain designer gear - children brought out for the cameras when it suits them - so sometimes its not as nice, like now, or when Euwen is getting up to no good or the baby does or does not have a jab or the missus gets caught out with her dodgy property deals with her bath-time buddies boyfriend. When these creepy people are out of the spotlight and they then cash in (more conspicuosly than now) on the last 10 years of slurs, lies and bad judgement I bet we will hear alot more about the ups and downs of Brand Blair.

I pity the daughter (and the other kids to be honest) but this is due to old mother Blair failing to do what other PM's partners have done - give up the limelight to ensure the home keeps an even keel.

Si Nickle


16.09.2004 10:04


If this thread is true, why should all those in 'the media' who have the education,
understanding etc. make the decision on not allowing 'us' thicko's to know about this?

Hey! its ok for the media to give us every detail of Mrs. dumbass down the road who's
kids are on the rampage or show us terrorist videos of children getting killed and abused. Can't let this story out though. Why? Cos we are deemed not capable of making our
own minds up about it.

Mind you I wondered why the Mail had big articles on student suicides recently...


mail e-mail:

Why Kathryn took an overdose

16.09.2004 19:01

Tasteless press articles about Kathryn in December 2003
Tony Gosling - 16Sep04

According to my sources one of the main reason's for Kathryn's feeling so depressed as to consider taking an overdose were press articles in December cruelly critical of her. She is clearly a sensitive child at a sensitive age who needs more support from her parents.

The article below - by Carol Midgley - refers to previous articles that week which I haven't been able to locate. If anyone can do so here that might enable us to identify

Cheap, bullying, columnists can have a cruel effect in circumstances where Kathryn's parents are not there to support her.

Lots of talk today of Lord Bragg's comments that Tony Blair considered resigning after extreme family strain - not between Cherie and the PM. Cherie denies everything - see below.



December 22, 2003

Fat lady sings her way to a fairytale ending

By Carol Midgley

SO, the fat bird won it. Well, knock me down with a feather.Is the nation
ready for such a cultural bombshell? Can we cope with the fact that for
the first time in 20 years a female pop star looks not like Geri Halliwell
but her 18-stone bouncer; that she looks like she might enjoy her
Christmas dinner, not bring it back up with the help of two fingers?

Pete Waterman, one of the Pop Idol judges, evidently cannot. He stormed
out in disgust after the size 20 former waitress was voted the audience’s
winner. Waterman probably spoke for many men when he told our Michelle
that she had “zero personality and zero charisma” (translation: “You’re a
lard-arse and I don’t fancy you”).

But for the millions of parents out there petrified that their Victoria
Beckham-fixated daughters are going to lapse into a bout of anorexia
before their 12th birthday, what a breath of fresh air La McManus must be.

She refuses to diet (she lost three stone when the contest began but is
now resolved to stick at 15 stone) declaring: “If people are going to buy
into me they have to accept me as I am.”

In a week when women newspaper columnists castigated Cherie Blair for
letting her 15-year-old daughter Kathryn appear on the family Christmas
card with “tree trunk” legs, McManus has injected some sanity into an
increasingly crazed world..........

Shock over claims PM was set to quit


Key points
• ’Family matters’ at heart of stress for Prime Minister
• ’Doubts over policies’
• Health Secretary denies Blair thought of quitting

Key quote
"And my guess is that it was domestic rather than anything else. Domestic not in any sense about him and Cherie - I have never seen a couple get on as those two, it’s not that." MELVYN BRAGG

Story in full CLAIMS by TV presenter Melvyn Bragg that his close friend Tony Blair contemplated quitting this year because he was under "colossal strain" connected with his family today rocked Westminster.

Labour peer Lord Bragg said the Prime Minister had suffered a great deal of personal and family stress and that he may have doubted whether some of the Government’s policies were working.

Suggestions that Mr Blair had considered quitting have been circulating in the House of Commons since the summer, as have rumours of personal problems.

But today Health Secretary John Reid denied that Mr Blair had considered resigning.

But he admitted that the Premier had been under stress - as he was all the time.

Yesterday, Lord Bragg told ITV News: "The considerations of his family had become very pressing."

The novelist and arts TV presenter told interviewer Alastair Stewart, who asked whether the Prime Minister had really considered resigning: "I think that he was under tremendous stress. He was being hammered in the press.

"Perhaps he had doubts about some policies, perhaps not. But in my view, the real stress was personal and family, which matters most to him.

"My guess is that the considerations of his family became very pressing and that was what made him think things over very carefully."

Lord Bragg, whose wife Cate Haste has co-authored a book about No 10 spouses with Cherie Blair, added: "What people don’t seem to get is how very, very strong he is.

"And how very determined he is to help make this country a better place, as is Gordon Brown.

"And he thinks he is on track to do that. But yes, I think he was under colossal strain, you could see it.

"And my guess is that it was domestic rather than anything else. Domestic not in any sense about him and Cherie - I have never seen a couple get on as those two, it’s not that."

Lord Bragg’s comments are the latest in a series of reports that Mr Blair considered resigning earlier this year.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that Downing Street had no idea Lord Bragg was about to comment publicly about Mr Blair and his family. "I must admit it took us a bit by surprise as much as anybody else," said the spokesman.

On the question of whether Mr Blair had considered quitting, a Downing Street spokesman said he had "nothing to add".

But Dr Reid denied that the famous summer "wobble" had brought Mr Blair to the brink of quitting.

He said: "I think I know the Prime Minister as well as anyone. These stories are simply untrue.

"At no stage did the Prime Minister indicate to me or anyone else that we was about to resign or make any pre-resignation announcement."

He said that anyone in public life was under pressures - including family, personal and social - and that those pressures were heaviest on the Prime Minister, but he refused to discuss Mr Blair’s private life.

Dr Reid said that in the summer, both in terms of domestic policy and the aftermath of the war in Iraq, Mr Blair had been under great pressure and his colleagues had gathered round and supported him.

The Cabinet Minister’s comments backed up Mr Blair’s assertion at his last Prime Ministerial press conference that he had never considered quitting.

The No 10 press office denied suggestions that Lord Bragg had consulted Mr Blair before making his comments and that it was a bid to win sympathy for the Prime Minister.

Some insiders believe that at the height of the "wobble" Mr Blair told Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown he was ready to stand down in his favour and that his decision not to do so has led to recent new tensions between Labour’s two top men.
Blair 'nearly quit over family'
By George Jones, Political Editor
(Filed: 15/09/2004)

Tony Blair came close to standing down for personal and family reasons this summer, Melvyn Bragg, the author and broadcaster and a close friend of the Blairs, said yesterday.

Although Lord Bragg did not disclose the "pressing domestic" reasons which brought Mr Blair to the brink, he is the first family friend to confirm that the Prime Minister considered quitting.

Cherie Blair is said to have persuaded her husband not to hand over the reins to Gordon Brown

The disclosure coincided with fresh whisperings at Westminster that Mr Blair told Gordon Brown and John Prescott late last year that he would stand down by the end of 2004 if they helped him over Iraq and the backbench revolt on university top-up fees.

Downing Street did not deny Lord Bragg's claim. Mr Blair's official spokesman said the Labour peer's remarks "took us by surprise as much as anybody".

According to the spokesman, Mr Blair still stood by his statement in July that he had not considered quitting as Prime Minister.

But Downing Street refused to discuss the substance of Lord Bragg's allegations or the closeness of his relationship with the Blair family.

Lord Bragg's wife, Cate Haste, is the co-author with Cherie Blair of a book about the spouses of prime ministers and their life inside No 10.

The couple were guests at Mrs Blair's 50th birthday party at Chequers last weekend, which was restricted to close family friends.

Interviewed on the ITV News channel's Alastair Stewart programme, Lord Bragg said that Mr Blair had been under "tremendous stress" this year, when he was being "hammered" in the press.

Most political commentators have attributed Mr Blair's so- called "wobble" to political reasons, suggesting that he feared he was becoming a liability to his party.

The Prime Minister's personal ratings for trust had fallen sharply over Iraq, he was deeply embarrassed by the images of prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison, and Labour feared a Tory revival under Michael Howard.

However, Lord Bragg suggested that the main reason for Mr Blair considering standing down was "personal and family" rather than political. While the Prime Minister might have had doubts about some policies, the real stress was personal, because "family" mattered most to him.

"My guess is that the considerations of his family became very pressing," Lord Bragg said. "That was what made him think things over very carefully."

While not disclosing what the family pressures were, he denied that the Blairs' marriage was in difficulty.

"Yes, he was under colossal strain. My guess is that it was domestic rather than anything else. Domestic, not in any sense about him and Cherie. I have never seen a couple get on as well as those two. It was not that."

Lord Bragg's disclosures about the pressures facing the Blairs caused surprise at Westminster last night. They have always jealously guarded the privacy of their children and sought to give them as normal a life as possible despite living in the "goldfish bowl" of Downing Street.

Labour MPs doubt that he was authorised to make the comments and believe the Blairs will be deeply embarrassed by the renewed focus on their family life.

Peter Mandelson, a European commissioner, told Channel 4 News: "I'm probably as close to the Prime Minister and his family as anyone in political life in this country and it's certainly news to me."

Despite the denials, authoritative ministerial sources confirm that Mr Blair did consider stepping down. Some ministers were so concerned about his morale - during "a long dark night of the soul" - that they went to see him to urge him to stay on.

In recent weeks, there have been further suggestions that Mr Brown - despite his long-held ambitions to become prime minister - persuaded Mr Blair not to announce in advance that he would quit, because it would create a lame-duck premiership and trigger party infighting.

The Chancellor, however, may have believed that Mr Blair still intended to leave at the end of this year. Some of Mr Brown's supporters say he feared that an orderly succession could be wrecked by a premature announcement.

But Mr Blair changed his mind over the summer and decided he wanted to lead Labour into the next election and a record third term. Mrs Blair is understood to have played a key role in persuading him to carry on and not hand over to Mr Brown.

After two health scares last year, Mr Blair's colleagues say he is now fit and has regained enthusiasm for the job.

The political outlook improved over the summer. He survived the Butler report on Iraq war intelligence, while the Tories failed to make a breakthrough.

Tony Gosling
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This explains why Kathryn took an overdose

16.09.2004 22:33

The article below refers to other articles I have not been able to locate.
According to my sources this is one of the main reasons why Kathryn took an overdose - thoughtless - cheap and cruel reporting of the Blairs' Christmas card. I can obviously see why circulating this in an insensitive way might upset Katheryn further but how are we to kurb this sort of irresponsible tabloid style reporting without cases like Kathryn's being discussed?
Suicide is a serious issue and we should take it seriously and identify the cause. Sloppy, cheap, cruel journalism.


December 22, 2003

Fat lady sings her way to a fairytale ending
By Carol Midgley
SO, the fat bird won it. Well, knock me down with a feather.Is the nation ready for such a cultural bombshell? Can we cope with the fact that for the first time in 20 years a female pop star looks not like Geri Halliwell but her 18-stone bouncer; that she looks like she might enjoy her Christmas dinner, not bring it back up with the help of two fingers?

Pete Waterman, one of the Pop Idol judges, evidently cannot. He stormed out in disgust after the size 20 former waitress was voted the audience’s winner. Waterman probably spoke for many men when he told our Michelle that she had “zero personality and zero charisma” (translation: “You’re a lard-arse and I don’t fancy you”).

But for the millions of parents out there petrified that their Victoria Beckham-fixated daughters are going to lapse into a bout of anorexia before their 12th birthday, what a breath of fresh air La McManus must be.

She refuses to diet (she lost three stone when the contest began but is now resolved to stick at 15 stone) declaring: “If people are going to buy into me they have to accept me as I am.”

In a week when women newspaper columnists castigated Cherie Blair for letting her 15-year-old daughter Kathryn appear on the family Christmas card with “tree trunk” legs, McManus has injected some sanity into an increasingly crazed world.

Tony Gosling
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Please don't devalue Indymedia

19.09.2004 23:06

This type of article, in my opinion, devalues the important work of Indymedia. There are far more important issues to deal with than the personal problems of a 16 year old girl. That she is unfortunate enough to find herself in her current situation is sad, but ultimately none of our business.


poor little lamb

21.09.2004 16:02

poor little cow, leave her alone... pick on her dad as much as you see fit, after all he ran for election and as such has put himself up for much public scrutiny but what has she done to deserve this?

billbo the gay

Blair, Clinton, etc.

24.09.2004 14:58

Well, of course, no two cases are exactly alike so we can't just say that because we deplore the way Clinton was treated because his private life didn't reflect on his competence in public life so we are obliged to also approve of protecting Blair from intrusion into his private life.

It is the rule which needs to be dispassionate and universal.

If an indidual's private life is at odds with the way it is presented (for that individuals advantage) in their public life (i.e. an apostle of 'Family Values' gets up to hanky panky) then there is an hypocrisy which is a prima facie candidate for exposure - but it is not mandatory for the Media to expose it.

If an individuals's private life indicates something of extreme relevance to their public life (i.e. a habit - such as drug dependence - or a severe medical or psychiatric condition - such as stroke or certifiable insanity - that affects their rationality) then that places in doubt their competence to continue in public life and it is mandatory on the Media to expose it.

If a close friend or relation engages in conduct or expresses opinions in a manner that is likely to cause a person in public life to change their public conduct without public explanation then it is mandatory on the Media to expose it.

No other private conduct by or private opinions of any close friend or relation of a person in public life has any relevance whatsoever to that person's public life and both the public person and - where appropriate - the close friend or relative are entitled to their privacy.

In all cases, where the acts or opinions of a minor are concerned, they are entitled to have their anonymity protected until they reach the age of 18 and at all costs even - if necessary - against their wishes. After they pass theage of 18, their acts or opinions when younger should remain private if they wish it, unless they have an overwhelming relevance to the actual conduct of the person in public life.

Gerard Mulholland
mail e-mail:

Protecting the Prime Minister's family

27.09.2004 09:22

I don't remember the press holding off when Mark Thatcher got lost in the desert or on Carol's indiscretions, nor do I remember Mrs Thatcher trying to gag the press. This government really has got the country by the balls and will not let go. Yes it is sad and terrible for Miss Blair and I am sure she needs the support and love of her family but I think that this is far more a case of being in the "public interest" not just of interest to the public than much of which we are lead to read.


No such thing as a creditable secret

27.09.2004 15:17

Just to express my gratitude to your excellent web-site and to Tony Gosling for having the courage to publish this valuable piece of information on the Internet. Of course, it's important and, of course, it should be made public; why do you think they're trying to cover it up? It is deeply discreditable to the Blairs as parents, since it shows that the atmosphere in their family is so poisonous that their daughter has been driven to attempt suicide. The fact that they take not a blind bit of notice and carry on just as before shows why she did it in the first place.

Keep up the good work.

Warmest regards, Robin Scott

Robin Scott
mail e-mail:

I just LOVE ranting conspiracy websites like this!

29.09.2004 18:56

Oh I just love you lot! And I especially love the idea that there was a news black-out to HELP "New" Labour not lose the local and Euro elections too badly. Have you never heard of a sympathy vote. There would be a lot of parents out there whose kids will have done similar things. Do you think they consider themselves "failures"? I doubt it. They'd sympathise with the PM's family as would a lot of their friends/neighbours etc. (As an aside I bet most of you lot of losers think of yourselves as "non-judgemental" - tho you seem to have no probs when it comes to heaping judging on Tony's head...Tony's evil but feckless single mothers on council estates are "victims of society"...)

And some final points. I have never ever voted for "New Labour" (tho if they keep up the good work in Iraq/Afganistan etc and keep moving towards tuition fees/foundation hospitals I might just consider it!) but you lot make me wanna spew.

Oh and you can write whatever crap you like about me cos I ain't ever coming back ot his site to read it!

Now I'll leave you to go back to crying over your Guardians.

Up yours!


Immaturity and lack of thought

04.10.2004 11:32

So having a daughter attempt suicide means your family atmosphere must be "poisonous"? To continue your job after such an event, rather than leaving it to focus on your child, increasing their sense of guilt and inadequacy in the process, is "take not a blind bit of notice"?

I'm sure Robin Scott's comments will offer solace to thousands of parents who are struggling to cope with the aftermath of suicide bids. Go on, blame yourselves, you heartless, dysfunctional scumbags!

I forget that, because Tony Blair authorised the invasion of Iraq, he forfeits all claims to consideration, as do his seed unto the seventh generation.

Fortunately, I don't suppose many parents of suicides will be reading this, as it's largely for us 20something wannabees who like to be in the loop of media gossip while dressing up their voyeurism as public interest.


what it's all about

12.10.2004 23:22

How very very interesting.
Firstly the way in which the press in Britain is manipulated to cover its own ass.
Secondly in the ridiculous way Indymedia have tried to censor this story.
Sure makes you wonder who has the power to hide and not to hide stories on this site.
This is clearly the kind of story Indymedia was designed to be maybe the only place to let it see the light of day.
Shame on tony B and well done Tony G. for persisting in making it public as well as for your sensitive and sympathetic treatment of the story despite the moronic provocation.
Of course the public are able to understand and react like adults to this sort of news. And what a bloody patronising insult to say we're not! Go get a job at the Sun garcondumonde and the rest of you miserable mean hearted elitists.
It's my pleasure to add my name to the comments here as this is the unreported story of the year!

Harry Yardley
mail e-mail:

None of our business

11.11.2004 15:25

The mental health of someone cannot be blamed or reflected on parenting. This is none of our business and shouldnt be here, how can you blame the parenting of tony blair on his 16 year old's mental stubility??if Tony Blair wasnt the prime minster people would have nothing but sympathy for his family, this doesnt affect his ability to run the country. I am by no means a supporter of the labour party, but this should never influence anyones political view point. It quite frankly shouldnt be avaliable public knowlege, if this was published in the press think of the effect it could have on his daughter. This isnt news, this is serious family issues which should be left well alone.


Blair's extended family issues

22.11.2004 11:11

I totally disagree with Blair's daughter having to bear the brunt of her father's job and reputation. However, i also disagree in control of the media by the Blairs for personal reasons which then lead to political benefit. Blair's daughter is not the only one causing difficulty for Tony - i have it on good report from several sources that his nephew Peter has been seen out and about causing trouble at all sorts of overpriced pretentious London drinking holes on the back of the Blair name. His shameless use of the family name has also landed him a role at the Raindance film festival. Apparently at the request of his father and Tony's brother Bill (notoriously private) again the press are keeping their distance. Will abuse like this ever stop?

Sam Seligman

Are the Blairs good Parents?I

06.12.2004 21:09

Of course the worse kept secret in the media. A story first leaked by my contacts in the press back in April of this year

That of Tony Blair’s daughter trying to commit suicide by a ‘drugs overdose’. So it appears that Cherie Blair has taken a back seat from her celebrity style career woman role in order to play mummy more to the children. Meanwhile Daddy just carries on with his ‘career’ in running the country.

I would confidentally figure think that neither of the Blair’s need to work anymore. With a mortgage arranged for £20 million (apparently based upon his earnings for when he does stand down from No 10)this would seem to confirm their financial security is far more secure than the rest of us mere mortgage mortals.

This tragic situation perfectly summarizes societies increasing obsession with aspiration, money, power and status over the simple ethos of creating a happy family unit, a corruptive greed that sees many parents oblivious to a children’s needs in their quest for a bigger home, more designer labels or more famous friends.

Personally in Blair’s shoes I would have stepped down and taken time out with my children at such a critical stage in their lives. After all Alan Milburn took a decisive step in this respect.

Instead here we have the two working parent family that work and play all the hours under the universe whereby a situation arises where one school age child is floundering with bottles of death pills and the other crashing out in vomit filled shop doorways clutching bottles of special brew lager.

The fact is Blair does not want to give up his career to stave off the spotlight. This puts his family under duress and the potential tragedy is that of his daughter succeeding in a future suicide attempt. I would question both the Blair’s judgment in putting aspiration over the root interests of their children.

The press may not want to publish this story because the editors are understandably in fear of losing their jobs. (A fact confirmed to me by a senior editor at one of the National Broadsheets)

However maybe the media should be brave and lift the lid and open up the greater debate of how parents and such aspiring lifestyles are damaging to our children.

Tony BLair only this week was stating 'We are not teaching our children aspiration' - a remarkable comment in the circumstances!!!!

It may be late in the day to consider the Blairs stepping down as an ‘after the event scenario’ or indeed it may not - would you want to take that chance? I as a father in his position would not.

So a question; Should Tony step down in the way Alan Milburn has in order to play dad to his kids and get the family out of the media spotlight or should he carry on as he is knowing that his daughter is 13 paracetomals away from oblivion?

Terence Beckham
mail e-mail:

Definitely a gagging order

16.12.2004 01:40

I was 100% informed by a London journalist on a daily broadsheet at the time, that the reason the press didn't break the story is because a gagging order was placed on them forcing them not to break it, not because of any moral self regulation issues. Maybe they are waiting til May 2005?

I've often seen teenage suicides reported in the papers so am unsure why this one is different. I totally agree that morally it is NOT in the public interest. HOWEVER David Kelly's suicide directly caused by Blairs cover up of the truth that later came out was widely reported, what about his family? What about the soldier who's flac jacket was taken and he was subsequently shot dead, what about his family. I can think of 5 suicides I knew directly before I reached age 20, and only a few months ago a guy I knew really really well, my best m8's cousin. It shouldn't be a taboo subject.

I feel sorry for Blair, I did and still do support the Iraqi liberation (morally, not financially). My dislike of Blairs New Labour is purely down to this communist state secrecy, control and misinformation we now endure. They lie their arses off, and simply don't care. Blair is the most dishonest politician we've ever had. They bandy the parliament act around to force through any legislation they like. They spin, lie, cheat. Britain is heading for disaster under their low moral guidance and lack of crime prevention, violent crime up 400%. They have stealth taxed people to make living and working in Britain with expensive houses and rents a sweat shop. People work to survive, many realise they'd be better off not working, unemployment is down to 1 million, yet we have 4 million on disability allowance... it's a joke, but if truths like Blairs daughter are hushed up, now we have Blunketts resignation what's next. I reckon the tory press will run the story days before the next election, the spin being on the cover-up gagging order angle, not the suicide angle, maybe in revenge for greg dyke and piers morgan as well as david kelly and hutton. Obviously we may well see a sensitive martin-basheer type interview staged with Blair 6 weeks pre election where he 'reveals' this, saying it couldn't be revealed at the time to not upset Kathryn and so turns it to his advantage for the sympathy vote, further exploiting his family. New Labour are a ruthless, morally bankrupt bunch of charlatansm, their methodologies know no depths IMHO

mail e-mail: Burke

Special treatment?

21.12.2004 15:25

Many of the contributors to this discussion have suggested that there was a special, and unusual, gagging order on this story.

But I'm really not sure that's true. The better British media, even in the mainstream, has a generally sensitive attitude to mental health, especially suicide, and in the vast majority of cases limits its reporting of suicides and attempted suicides, as it has been asked to do by mental health and journalism ethics bodies.


I would agree there is much to discuss about whether the advised ethical line is correct in all circumstances and, indeed, whether it is folowed by all media, but my point is that the treatment of Kathryn Blair has not been different from that of thousands of other adolescents who sadly attempt suicide each year.

Mainstream media person, Bristol

Protect innocent

10.01.2005 00:35

It is not anyone's business about this. Suicide is horrific thing, and to try an have scum bags in the media and scum bag comedians having that to play around with would be horrifying. It is right this should be kept secret. You say you care about Iraqis, well isnlt that because you are meant care about innocent human lives. Are some lives expendable for your political views.
Ofcourse we should know about immoral actions of politicans such as if they have an affair, or if they committ child abuse or bully, or committ a criminal offence. But Victimhood is private though and we should not have the right to know for instance if a polticans wife or husband has had an affair, or been attacked, or had an illness or a suicide attempt.
It is about time me had more of an apprerciation in this society of the difference between a victim and an abuser. We should now absuive actions of polticians but we dont have a right to know of painful victimhood momments of politcians.

Tony McRush
- Homepage:

Bullies cause suicide

10.01.2005 00:52

I take great offence at the claim that a suicide attempt is evidence of a meshed up family. I was depressed at school due to cruel and hurtful bullies who regarded, other as their sadiostic pleasyure toy, and these bullies were sosadistic and dangerous that they would laugh when they heard of a girl trying to kill herself. They were dangerous bullies who caused depression in victims. I sympathise with the blairs which is what all decent guys would do. But lots of sick bullying morons will talk drviel opn this website, well that shows something pretty sick and dangerous about hem.
Victims should have rights but not abusers. If insulting a 16 year old school girl makes some sick prick feel proud then piss off you sadistic sickoe.

Tony McRush
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Sympathy and help for victims not abuse

10.01.2005 01:09

Shut up up to the bullying thugs who insult the Blairs for their daughter having depression. The fact is she was probably bullied by snobby bullying thugs. Thta is what the vast majority of school depression is due to. It is the bullies who are scikl and evil not the victims of such evil abuse. I was bullied at school bvy snobby thugs. And they take enrmous saditic pleasure in causing pain while at the same time when thye get their victory ion causing mental breakdowns in their victims the bullies then proclaim themslves as the voice of common sense. Well piss off. The guys who bullied me were sadisitc evil terrfiying scum, as simple as that, and i do feel traumastised but whose fault is that the scum who did the abuse in the first place.
Who was more of a voice ocommon sense victims of the holcaust, or the shits who did the murders in the first place. Stop seeing abusers as the voice of common sense.

We need to shine a light on abusive scum doing abuse not victims to goad and mock us who need help to cope with problems.
I have problems with Blairs policies but that is not his daughters fault. Well done Brittish media, now shine a light on rapists, bullies and wife beaters not the victims.

Tony McRush
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03.02.2005 21:20

For a man who promotes Christian teachings, I would have thought Mr Gosling would have remembered the "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" line. Either that or he is without sin!


very balanced article on this subject

17.05.2005 00:56

Tony Blair Vs The British Media

Traditionally, the British media like to think that anyone and everyone is fair game when it comes to finding stories that'll sell their product. But British Prime Minister Tony Blair has ruled his family off-limits. And where one story is concerned this year, Blair seems to be winning this battle of the wills.

When Tony Blair came to power in 1997, pictures of the Blair family posing outside 10 Downing St filled the front pages. Three years later, when he became the first serving Prime Minister in 150 years to have fathered a child, pictures of the doting father and the adorable baby Leo again filled the front pages. But having started off as a Prime Minister who wanted to show how much of a regular guy he was, Blair is now in a situation where his children receive almost as much protection from the British media as the Princes William and Harry received following the death of Diana.

In 2000, before the Blairs adopted a get-tough policy with the British media and their coverage of the Blair brood, the British media had something of a field day, reporting with glee the news that Tony Blair's eldest son, Euan, had been found vomiting in Leicester Square after drinking too much in celebration of his GCSE results. Two years earlier, the media had similarly celebrated when the son of Home Secretary Jack Straw was entrapped by a Daily Mirror reporter, Dawn Alford, into selling her cannabis. Attempts to hush that story up failed when, despite the English media being injuncted, Scottish media ran with the story.

But the timing of the Euan story couldn't have been more propitious for the British media even if they'd staged it themselves by plying the child with alcohol. Only days before, Blair had proposed on-the-spot fines for drunken and yobbish behaviour, painting a picture of police officers leading bladdered-up youths to cash points in order to pay their fines.

Protecting his family from the glare of the British media is now so important for Blair that any company or individual providing services to the Blairs is required to sign a confidentiality agreement. In 2000, when the Mail on Sunday obtained a draft of a book written by former Blair nanny Ros Mark - which, in recognition of the confidentiality clause in her contract, she had not intended publishing without the permission of the Blairs - and sought to publish an article about it, the Blairs obtained a High Court injunction forbidding further publication of the Mail on Sunday article even though early editions of the paper had already hit the streets with the story in them.

Some believe that the Blair's are applying a double standard with regard to their family privacy and this has been a regular bugbear for the British media over the last few years. In 2002, then Tory leader Ian Duncan Smith accused Blair of exploiting his children for political purposes: "I think Tony Blair uses his children ruthlessly. Once you open the doors to your children it just gives the press an excuse for intrusion."

In December of last year, the British media's frustration with this apparent double standard erupted on the front pages, with stories concerning the family's 2003 Christmas card. The card had featured a photo of the Blair family outside Downing Street. This card was meant for circulation only to close friends and family, while the official Christmas card featured a picture of just Tony and Cherie. However, the London Evening Standard decided to publish the family card, claiming that its circulation went well beyond family and close friends.

Coming as it did just weeks after the Blairs had sought to block publication of a photograph of Jacques Chirac holding up a signed picture of baby Leo, the Standard felt that the Blairs were being hypocritical in regard to their much vaunted family privacy. In their own inimitable way though, the British media only reinforced the Blairs' case for family privacy, arguing not about whether Blair was being hypocritical on the matter of his family's privacy, but instead choosing to condemn Cherie for allowing what they described as Kathryn Blair's "tree trunk" legs to be photographed in such a fashion.

Kathryn has been the subject of media attention before last year. In 1999, the Blairs successfully fought an action against the Mail on Sunday, which had published a story about her acceptance by a local Catholic school. This year though, the British media have avoided one story concerning Kathryn which has been circulating on the internet since April, the main substance of which is the sixteen year old daughter of the Prime Minster had attempted to commit suicide.

The story of Blair's family difficulties almost broke into the mainstream British media in September, when Melvynn Bragg let slip about a Blair family secret when, in an interview with ITV's Alastair Stewart, he suggested that Blair had considered reigning earlier this year over domestic reasons. With those few words, Bragg gave credence to a story which, by now, has been circulating internationally, as well as on the web. Papers in Australia discussed the story of the domestic difficulties without referring to them, merely pointing their readers to the internet to find out.

Bragg's words also helped to explain to those not familiar with the internet rumours the rash of media speculation concerning Blair's future in May and June, when reports claimed that family as well as political problems would force him to resign. For all that the British media were ignoring the story, their knowledge of its existence was fuelling their speculation concerning Blair's future as British PM.

Blair's imminent retirement had been front page news in January and February, when he faced the double-whammy of the Hutton Report and a threatened backbench revolt over university top-up fees. When he survived both scares, most people assumed that the media would stop crying wolf over his departure. But by April the stories had returned, even louder than before and it wasn't just a seven year itch fuelling them. Most tried to hang their speculation on some new, looming crisis, but most all also claimed that personal reasons would hasten his departure.

When it wants to, the British media can avoid a story. But eventually one paper breaks ranks and the others are all forced to follow in the ratings race. For a long time, the news of an affair between British Home Secretary David Blunkett and Spectator publisher Kimberly Fortier had been one of Whitehall's most closely guarded secrets, known by many but unreported by anyone. Until, that is, the News of the World chose to break ranks earlier this year and print the story.

For now though, the British media are holding the line where the Blair children are concerned and keeping a safe distance. But with Christmas only around the corner and another Blair family Christmas card already in production the question really is which paper will break ranks first and print the story which, for internet users, is already old news.
Feargal Mc Kay
November 2004

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Blair daughter censorship

02.09.2005 13:30

There is a clear public interest in the Blair daughter attempted suicide.

The public is entitled to know anything which might seriously affect the perfomance of the prime minister. Moreover, censoring the story leaves Blair open to blackmail.

More generally, no politician has a right to a private life because they are of necessity professional moralisers through their decsions about how the rest of us should live, Consequently, we are entitled to know how they conduct their own affairs because it is reasonable to compare their behaviour and that of their family's with the behaviour they demand of the population at large.

Robert Henderson

Robert Henderson
mail e-mail:

Blair daughter censorship

02.09.2005 13:30

There is a clear public interest in the Blair daughter attempted suicide.

The public is entitled to know anything which might seriously affect the perfomance of the prime minister. Moreover, censoring the story leaves Blair open to blackmail.

More generally, no politician has a right to a private life because they are of necessity professional moralisers through their decsions about how the rest of us should live, Consequently, we are entitled to know how they conduct their own affairs because it is reasonable to compare their behaviour and that of their family's with the behaviour they demand of the population at large.

Robert Henderson

Robert Henderson
mail e-mail:

Blair's daughter

14.09.2005 11:14

Normally, I would endorse privacy for a family when such a worrying event happens. But in the case of the Blairs, when daddy Tone bangs on about families, responsibility etc. etc., then all bets are off. Blair and his grabby wife are hardly role models for good parenting - hell, they're hardly ever here, but grandstanding around the world.

I suggest Blair might spend a bit more time here, addressing the problems of his own sad daughter, the problems of his own messed-up country rather than posturing as a world statesman - he isn't one, just a saddo who's legacy will be as probably the worst Prime Minister ever.

A. Mikolaichek
mail e-mail:

Kathryn Blair facts.

24.11.2005 15:56

Kathryn Blair was also upset at pictures taken of her on holiday/outside 10 Downing Street that showed her to be overweight. She was found face down in the bath by her mother and her heart stopped three times on the way to hospital.

James Nye
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