With enemies like this, who needs friends?
You know that Tony Blair is on the ropes when a story in the London Times online, which by British media standards has been relatively pro-Blair, leads off with:
Tony Blair has not gone "potty" the Prime Minister's official spokesman insisted today.
Nor, the spokesman continued, is he a "psychopath." These denials were prompted by a stunt story from the left-wing New Statesman magazine, which got some shrinks to analyse Tony's behaviour. Now, Tony made a choice to sink or swim with Dubya on the Iraq war so he deserves whatever fallout comes from that decision. But the more we read about the New Statesman story, the less it said about Blair and the more it said about the long shelf life of certain spin points. The story itself requires a subscription but the Times has some key quotes:
One view [from the expert shrinks] emerged strongly: there appears to be something worryingly adrift in the mind of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, a man who doesn't really know who or what he is.
More technically, he is diagnosed as a psychopath capable of reinventing himself with remarkable dexterity, like an actor.
Now, anyone who was following the 2000 Presidential election will recognise the key phrases here: doesn't know who he is, reinventing himself -- exactly the favoured pundit narrative to describe Al Gore. We can think of a number of different explanations for the overlap, the most likely being that the Gore spin points were just a convenient bit of amateur psychobabble put into the ether by Karl Rove, and, as Daily Howler would say, pundits who were deeply troubled by Al Gore's personality rushed to type up this pleasing diagnosis of his problems.
So at the minimum, the New Statesman was dealing with very lazy shrinks, who either pulled their diagnosis straight from wherever Rove got his Gore points, or perhaps worse still, the shrinks still had the Gore points living somewhere in their subconscious and just dragged them back out to "explain' Blair. We almost feel sorry for him. Almost.