Surely the tip of the iceberg
"You just mocked our party. That was political agitation. Surely the tip of the iceberg. I'm going to report this to the minister's office."
Seven years on, it’s gone well beyond the original wound, and we’re at the stage where many folk twist the knife in their own scar to keep it bleeding.David Aaronovitch (for me, that column will keep on giving, although not perhaps as Dave intended).
I blame Mike Power. If he hadn't tweeted this, I wouldn't have known that John Rentoul was on twitter and hence would not have seen
Germans subsidise Blair-hating movie http://bit.ly/a9PMXz
As I don't entirely trust url shortening sites (how do they make money? why should they continue to exist?) that link goes to Germans subsidise Blair-hating movie which links to Rentoul's "friend Julie's" blog post How Germany's taxpayers paid for Harris' settlement with Blair.
"Oh, I like a good financial scandal," you say, rubbing cupidinous hands with glee. ('Cupidinous hands' - have you tried decaffeinated? And I don't trust you with glee, you said it didn't contain any calories, remember? - Ed.) How much was this subsidy? €200.000,00 or about £130K. I think the IMDb explains this largesse rather well here: 'The Ghost Writer' was filmed in Berlin, Germany, Sylt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and Usedom, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. I think the German taxpayer will have made more that €200K back in taxes, and benefits not paid to extras, minor actors, and film crew - all of whom work intermittently. Never mind the stimulus to the economy in accommodation, catering, etc, and German film making is probably enhanced by the opportunity for lighting men, assistant directors, etc to work with a master craftsman like Polanski. Yes, he's a rapist, and he should have spent time in prison for that, but The Pianist was utterly brilliant. Besides, this is art which takes place beyond good and evil, and people who probe books and films for political subtexts are despicable philistines.
Finally, I can't speak for the film, which I haven't seen yet, but "Blair-hating" may be a misinterpretation. Robert Harris interviewed by the Guardian (via Harris's Wikipedia entry).
Rentoul calls 'The Ghost Writer':
A film directed by a man facing extradition to face sentence, about a man whose guilt exists only in the minds of the haters.
To which I really want to add, "Adapted from a book by a former BBC journalist and Observer political editor, who has met Blair and studied him closely" but that would ruin the innuendo.
Who is twisting the knife here? Harris and Polanski - or the self-pitying Julia and John? (Why oh why can't I find Pete Townshend's splendid song about Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill, "Jools and Jim", on YouTube?) And who are the "haters" - those who think Blair is culpable or those calling everyone they don't like "Shortists and jihadists"?
Sorry for ranting, but this really annoyed me last night and I'm still annoyed this morning. I saw The Shaughraun at the National Theatre in the 80s - ie under Thatcher - when it starred Stephen Rea. The story is about clever Fenians and bumbling policemen; the baddie, a police informer, dies at the end. "Rea was married to former Provisional Irish Republican Army member and hunger striker Dolours Price from 1983 to 2003." Oh, I don't think there was anything 'political' in that. Taps nose. The British taxpayer subsidised that, and quite right too. New Labour aren't just like the Tories, they're more the Stasi every day.
 Added later, for clarity. I don't think it was clear who said that before.