Gordon regrets…

From the Indy, as the drama Mo is about to be aired:

Gordon said he was deeply sorry about Mo’s condition, but he went much further. He said she could have achieved so much more if circumstances had not conspired against her. He also made it clear that he regretted the frostiness that had developed between them. It was surprising; not the sort of thing you would normally expect from Gordon.”

He said something similar about his long feud with Robin Cook but that was in his funeral oration.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • joeCanuck

    There has been a fair amount of talk about gagging orders. Now, before someone can apply for such an order they need to know that something is about to be published. How would they know? Is there any legal requirement for a publisher to give advance notice to someone that they are about to publish salacious material?
    Also, do D notices still exist?

  • percy

    amazing timing this programme, so far its all about parades.

  • Scaramoosh

    They made Gerry look like old Nick – was it casting by John O’C …

  • joeCanuck @ 09:45 PM:

    They do indeed. Since the Major Government got into a couple of tizzes, they were renamed “Defence Advisory Notices”. This makes it clear that a DA-notice is a piece of “advice” to editors, rather than a specific “order”. They are issued by the “Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee”. The full (official) explanation, and the minutes of the committee are on line.

    As far as I know, the last one was issued when Asst Commissioner Quick did his PC Plod act, inadvertently showing his secret document to Downing Street photographers.

  • joeCanuck @ 09:45 PM:

    I am happy to be corrected on the following:

    As for “salacious material”, it seems usual, accompanied by photographer, to doorstep the victim. Ideally this is done just in time to get a response in print, but late enough to make it difficult to stop. 5 pm, Saturday, used to be the psychological moment. That is why every “star” name had a specialist solicitor’s ‘phone number instantly to hand, why those same solicitor firms worked late up to the News of the Screws reaching the streets, and why a judge was on-call to hear the solicitor’s request for a staying-order.

    I think the norm now is, when there is the faintest doubt, the judge issues the order, and the story is held over. By the middle of the following week, the story is all over the internet, so further restraint becomes irrelevant: the dailies trump the Sunday’s story. That does not improve relationships at News International.

    I think you’ll find, too, that even now the victim’s problems differ between “stories” and photographs.

    The joy was that an English order did not apply in Scotland, unless a Scottish judge had issued a parallel order. However, since Scottish editions circulate in places like Berwick-on-Tweed (and King’s Cross Station), neither the London or the Glasgow editor was off the hook.

  • Drumlins Rock

    only saw the last hour there, quite moving.
    Did they show the melting ice cream story?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I think it was a pretty blatant attempt to get a BAFTA for Julie Walters. Getting an award for playing Mowlam should be easy as the womans reputation as a saint is so believed that it would seem like some kind of sacrelige to give an award to anyone else.
    The clue in these dramas is the cast. Lovable Jlie Walters is Mo. Davig Haig from Thin Blue Line just had to look like a nice guy.
    One of the downsides of the Peace Process is that our local actors can no longer get work in Troubles based dramas so nice to see Adrian Dunbar and John Lynch.
    John Lynch was only required to grow a beard and not actually speak.
    And Adrian Dunbar invested David Trimble with a degree of charm…that I did not know the real Trimble possessed.

    Particuarly enjoyed Mos chat with Brendan McKenna in the Carpet Factory in Portadown.
    And her visit to Michael Stone and Johnny Adair in Long Kesh……inspired casting to give Matt Lucas from Little Britain the role of Mad Dog.

  • Excellent acting by Walters with the warring Paddies providing an interesting backdrop.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Re; Gordon Brown being nice/saying nice things about Mo and Robin Cook.

    Well it a bit easier when they are seriously ill or dead but at least its better than having nothing good to say ever.

  • Mary Ann Evans

    From a human perspective, after such a moving dramatisation of Mo’s last years, this statement may seem understandable.

    Brown had ample opportunity to repair fences with Mo before she died. I hope he did so and that this statement isn’t a cynical ploy to court public favour.

    It’s a pity Mo was removed from NI where she’d achieved so much but – in hindsight – it made her reputation. Had she stayed she would likely have been referee to NI’s intransigence that still has the GFA gasping for life. I doubt she could have steered it on a different course.

    Her removal did firm up Mandelson’s reputation for being a conniving prick.

  • Mary Ann Evans

    MU – sorry if your feelings are hurt by a portayal of Mo as a woman. If you see that as stereotyping NI – yes – I can see that. But the drama was about Mo and didn’t / couldn’t go in to the details of how hard she worked on the problems she had to deal with here.

    Such a programme would require more than 2 hours – more like 400 years. We’ve plenty of ham actors who are more than able to keep that drama alive – they’re local MLAs and MPs and Democracy Live has them on the screen every week. Sometimes they make the news – but never for having achieved anything (unless you count Trimble & Paisley dancing on the Garvaghy Road).

    The part of the programme that I thought most moving was when Mo couldn’t distinguish between what was her and what was the cancer. It described something I’d not thought of before – that cancer can rob you of more than physical life.

    I think – cancer or no – Mo was instrumental in achieving the GFA. Some here will curse her for it.

    For myself, I can remember the referendum and Mo’s position that I look to the future. I remember thinking “this offends my sense of right and wrong” – but voted “yes” because she’d empowered me to choose – to choose to take an opportunity for a peace that my children could benefit from.

    Now, I’m less disturbed about having done so – my children are now adults living in a peaceful NI. Personally, I still struggle with letting murderers out of jail – but my kids aren’t interested. They’ve Catholic and Protestant friends, they’re enjoying life and can enjoy an orange march and the West Belfast Festival – though they much prefer the Festival.

    My transition was influenced by Mo – but more by the GFA that local politicians endorsed as something they’d lead. They have utterly failed to do so – so – I guess Mo deserves her place in NIs history.

  • MEV,

    “sorry if your feelings are hurt by a portayal of Mo as a woman”

    Not in the least, it was a great piece of drama and the Paddywhackery was quite enjoyable.

    The interesting elements for me had nothing to do with Northern Ireland as such but as mentioned by you above concerned her attitude to Mandelson and the impact of her illness (and that might apply to many other illnesses as well) on her personality and her trying to come to terms with that. Arguably rather than impacting negatively on her ability to do her job her illness as reflected in her lack of inhibition, actually helped her to carry it out better.

    I though the program was quite balanced in letting the viewer decide whether Blair was operating in the greater good when dealing with Mo or whether he was threatened by her somewhat egocentric appoach.

    …and of course it was nice to see the cuddly side of Mr Stone.

  • Framer

    Half an hour too long but Walters got the walk.

  • Jaggers

    I wonder if it was a dramatisation or true when Mo receives a call from Ian Sr whilst the negotiations are ongoing in Castle Buildings:

    Ian Paisley “says there are terrorists in the building and at least one homosexual”

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I suppose there was some dramatic licence although the “babe” thing is true enough. Frankly I found Mowlam a nasty vulgar lttle woman. I am not one of those who feel priveleged to have touched the hem of her garment.

    A friend tells me that he was in a lift/elevator when Mo and her entourage got in and she looked straight at him and said “did you f***”? (break wind) and of course Mo and the entourage thought this was hilarious.

    Yet I strongly suspect he would have faced some kind of disciplinary hearing if he had said that to Mo.

    Vulgar hypocrite.