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Blair appears in online love story

It's Tony. Actually

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It is billed by the Prime Minister's Office as a "rare glimpse into his world"; and so it is because rarely nowadays are the cameras so kind to Tony Blair.

The latest in a line of propaganda films produced by Two Four Group, a corporate and TV film maker, for the British government, is a three minute short of platitudes from the Prime Minister.

Supposedly a day in the life, it is rather a collection of highlights from a prime minister's year - the prime cuts, you might say, with the gristle, the organs and the bones left on the abattoir floor.

With publically-funded coverage of government activities already covered quite competently by the BBC, you have to wonder why the Prime Minister's Office need produce its own films.

The reason would be clear to anyone who thinks press criticism of the government, and particularly the gurning Prime Minister, unfair.

This is Tony's chance to set the record straight, to let you know how unsympathetic the public eye can be: "Everything you say is on the record and then subject to the most minute scrutiny," he says in the film.

He makes the point, between fawning footage of state visits and other PR stunts, that he works hard; which undoubtedly he does. He is portrayed as a nice chap trying to do the best he can in the job; which undoubtedly he is.

That is not the whole story, of course, but maintaining a total suspension of disblief while you consider what the government does in your name can be a heart-warming experience.

If you get into the spirit of it it, it can be almost as heartwarming as watching Hugh Grant's portrayal of a well-meaning but bumbling Prime Minister in Richard Curtis's feelgood movie, Love, Actually.

The only other way to achieve the same effect would be to undergo a lobotomy of your critical faculties. As that clearly is a preposterous idea, be thankful you can achieve the same with a one-sided, soft-focus portrayal of a prime ministerial pampering.

The tone of the film is set by the claim, made by the Prime Minister's Office, that the film provides "exclusive access" to a Cabinet Committee meeting at Number 10. You'll be lucky to spot it.

Fans of party political broadcasts will be pleased they do not have to wait until the next round of elections to see more television of this calibre.

Anyone who does sincerely doubt the objectivity of the alternative presented by the press in independent television broadcasts covering government business might prefer to make their own minds up by watching unadulterated coverage presented by Parliament TV

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