KEITH NEWBERY Blair's seat at Murdoch's table leaves me sick to my stomach

It's becoming clear that Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch have conducted their close personal relationship in recent years with the furtiveness of old lovers.

During his interrogation at the phone-hacking inquiry, Murdoch revealed he frequently visited Downing Street – but always chose to arrive and depart by the back door.

Anyone would think he had something to be ashamed of.

Now it emerges Blair was a godparent to one of Murdoch’s young daughters, together with superstars like Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

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Unlike them, however, his smug face was nowhere to be seen in the acres of space and dozens of photographs devoted to the ceremony in Hello! magazine.

Anyone would think he had something to be ashamed of. In fact, both men were doing what came naturally – buttering up the other for reasons of mutual advancement.

Further evidence of New Labour’s skill at brown-nosing (politicians call it ‘diplomacy’) came from secret files left behind when the British ambassador scarpered out of Tripoli as soon as the shooting started.

It can hardly be described as an ordered retreat because there were confidential documents left around everywhere – and none showed the former British government in a particularly favourable light.

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It’s clear Blair and Brown were anxious to appease Gaddafi, and their desperation is shown by the fact a meaningless piece of diplomatic fluff like Prince Andrew was to be deployed in the affection offensive.

The snivelling even extended to Blair pretending to be impressed by a dodgy thesis Gaddafi’s son Saif compiled as part of his degree course.

Nauseating though all this nonsense may be, a more sinister side to this fragile accord also surfaced.

New Labour always insisted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, was freed on humanitarian grounds and they had no part in the decision made by the Scottish government. However, it has now been revealed Gaddafi threatened to launch a ‘holy war’ if Megrahi was not returned to his homeland – and the prospect clearly spooked No.10. Pressure was obviously applied north of the border with the result Alex Salmond and his mob caved in – but nobody will admit it. Anyone would think they had something to be ashamed of.

* Free education for Scots is discriminatory

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I’m not sure whether to be impressed or annoyed by the tolerant attitude we English continue to display towards the Scottish government.

Funding their expensive little Ruritanian administration is one thing – but allowing them to rub our noses in it is quite another.

Scottish youngsters accepted into the prestigious Edinburgh University can study there for free.

However, if you happen to come from south of the border (or from Wales and Northern Ireland) you will be required to pay £9,000 a year.

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Considering we are all supposed to be part of the United Kingdom, that is racial discrimination pure and simple.

Perhaps the English can now benefit from the risible Human Rights Act instead of being continually exploited by it.