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The Hunt for Tony Blair imagines the left's collective dream coming true – Tony Blair on the run from a murder charge. Dan Poulton reviews the latest from the Comic Strip.

Not the mass murder of over a million in Iraq, and tens of thousands in Afghanistan, but the fictional murder of former Labour leader John Smith.

However, no self-respecting lefty could imagine that hunt being carried out by a a no-nonsense Inspector Hutton. Some fantasies are too far-fetched.

The programme tells the story of a power-hungry sociopath who'll do anything to get ahead – even killing in cold blood. So far, so much like reality. However in this comic vision, the complexities of political double-dealing are re-imagined as a cloak-and-dagger film noir potboiler.

A nonchalant, scheming Peter Mandelson – eerily recreated by a dour-faced Nigel Planer – aids the police in the manhunt. We find out how he went over to Gordon Brown's camp in exchange for 'a seat in the House of Lords and a pension.'

Meanwhile Blair bumps off a fortune teller who nervously predicts that no weapons of mass destruction exist in Iraq, and is seduced by Margaret Thatcher who chides “I won my war, you didn't.”

We venture into Blair's dark (this time fictional) past as he murders a conscience-stricken Robin Cook – “I've wanted to do this since Clause IV” says “Cookie” as he lays a blow on the New Labour sellout. Blair pushes a Marxist off a train, after quipping “If you've read my book, you'll know I'm not a socialist.”

George Bush is re-imagined as a Capone-style mafioso, Rumsfeld a threatening henchman. Bush's insistence that “I'm gonna fuck Iraq and I want you to be there to fuck 'em with me,” tells us all we need to know about the 'special relationship'.

“But what about the two million protesters on the street, what are you going to tell them?” asks a livid Robin Cook in an earlier scene, to which Blair replies “How about 'fuck 'em'?”

Not every joke is a hit, but the captivating filming, Hitchcock references and dark humour really work.

The standout line comes after Stephen Mangan's guitar-strumming, Tory-in-waiting justfies killing Ross Noble's drunken socialist (after hitting him over the head with a copy of Das Capital):

“It's sad when someone gives up his life for a cause, no matter how misguided – my decision to kill him was, I think, the right one.”

This is a former British Prime Minister, being portrayed as a nihilistic, self-interested mass-killer on mainstream television. Tony Blair: the man who got away with murder. And everybody knows it.

Dan Poulton

Dan Poulton

Dan is a writer, broadcaster and campaigner.  His most recent documentary was The New Scramble For Africa and his documentaries have appeared regularly on the Islam Channel. He is an organiser for Counterfire and a regular contributor to Counterfire site.

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