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Sunday, September 25, 2005

BLIAR BLIAR, PANTS ON FIRE: Thoughts on Blair, Neo Labour, and The War Against Terrorism (T.W.A.T)

As I sit reading the Sunday papers I am hit smack between the eyes with the first paragraph of the front-page lead article in the Independent. “Tony Blair will signal this week that Labour should abandon ‘urban intellectuals’ who deserted it over the Iraq war”. This brings two things to my mind; one is Labour’s (or should I say Blair’s) desire for power, no matter what the cost and to hell with ideology; the other is Blair’s own personal war in which, again, he does not seem to care what the country thinks.

Lets look at the issue of ‘Neo Labour’ first. The labour party was set up at the turn of the 19th/20th century to represent thin interests of the working classes. It never really did that, but it was certainly not as bad as the Tories. Fast forward to the 1980s (this is a blog not a bloody essay). The years in the wilderness for the Labour Party led the likes of Kinnock (now a lord for f*ck’s sake!) to come to the conclusion that the only way to win an election was to be more Tory than the Tories. The end result of this train of thought was Tory Bliar and his ‘New Labour’ project, which saw a Labour Party, now purged of Clause 4 and any remains of its ‘socialist’ roots, take on a shiny new persona; a slick, media wise, neo-liberal persona. With this new image, they managed to win a landslide victory in 1987. “This is how to win elections,” they thought to themselves, “to be more Tory than the Tories!” With this success under their belts they went on a rampage, taking on policies of privatisation even the Tories would not have dared to.. cos that’s where the votes are! This eagerness for power saw any sort of principles ditched.

Labour had previously had an image of being the party of the ‘worker’, all ‘cloth cap and whippets’ and ‘beer and sandwiches at number ten with the trade unions.’ Bliar was more interested in winning over the old Tory voter, the ‘Chattering Classes’, ‘Middle England’ and… yes… ‘urban intellectuals’. And win them over he did. Did he win them over because he out Tory’d the Tories, or were they just fed up with the Tories and wanted a change? I think many just wanted a change. Whatever it was that won them over, Bliar was convinced that this was a green light to move even further to the right.

Fast-forward again to 2003, and we come to the second issue. We are off to war again (Bliar has taken us to war more times than any other prime minister in history). This time it is the big one, it is Iraq (again) but this time it is for…. Erm… now this is where it gets confusing. It might have been about the weapons of mass destruction that Bliar knew Saddam did not have; it might have been about UN resolutions, despite the fact that our buttys Israel were in breach of three times as many as Iraq; it might have been about human rights, despite the fact that UN sanctions were the biggest threat to the Iraqi people and despite the fact that many of his neighbours (like our friends the Saudis) have appalling human rights records and despite the fact that when Saddam was really going to town Gassing the Kurds with weapons we gave him we sat back in silence; it might have been about the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001, despite the fact that there were no links between Iraq and Bin Laden, in fact they hated each other, and despite the fact that all the terrorists involved in September 11th were all Saudis; it might have been about changing the regime, despite the fact that the CIA had put Saddam in power in the first place and the west had supported him in his war against those Koran reading Iranians who dare to worship a different god from Tony and George; it might have been about bringing peace democracy to the country. Or, it might have been about oil.

Three years on I have totally lost the plot and cannot remember why it was we went to war… no matter, Big Toe can’t remember either.

So Bliar lied to parliament, went to several lawyers till he found one that would say that the war was legal (surely the UN lawyers are the ones that should have the final say, it was after all UN law he was quoting, and the UN said it was illegal!), he went against a huge number of back benchers in his own party and massive opinion within the country, and followed his mate George W Bush to war. As a result tens of thousands of innocent lives have been lost, Iraq is in total chaos, the British army are now fighting with the Iraqi Police, the country is now a hot bed of terrorism and we are basically, to all intents and purposes, in a ‘Vietnam Situation’.

So what does Bliar do? Does he try to resolve the situation by admitting his mistakes and plan a withdrawal of troops? Does he do the decent thing and resign? No, he decides now is the time to abandon ‘urban intellectuals’ who deserted him over the war, those very intellectuals who he courted to get to power in the first place. That is the trouble with ‘intellectuals’; they tend to be so damned intelligent.

Photo taken by me on 15th February 2003 in London during the 2,000,000 strong march against the forthcoming war on Iraq


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