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Tony Bliar

Tony Blair, right now, is cornered.
At the party conference he admitted the evidence of WMDs turned out to be wrong. He offered in his defence:
(a) “The rest of the international community also believed it” – well, that’s a surprise, considering they ‘believed’ it based on your dossier and political pressure from the US. In other words, this doesn’t absolve you – it’s another thing you must apologise for.
(b) “I believed it to be true.” Suuuuuure you did. Tony, we who opposed the war mostly thought you believed it. We were protesting because you were an idiot to believe it. It was a colossal failure of judgement. Sorry, mate.
(c) “I won’t apologise for removing Saddam.” That’s right. Because the entirety of the Iraq issue is WMDs and removing Saddam.
Tony never believed he was going to war for WMDs. He lied about that. Determinedly and baldly lied.
(That’s a fact, by the way. It came out in the Hutton report, waaaay back in January, that Downing Street had desperately sought to strengthen the dossier before its release. The process of logic leads from this fact inexorably and inevitably to the conclusion that the UK government were, contrary to their claims, not going to war on the basis of WMDs.
I wrote about this back then, and I still haven’t seen it mentioned by anyone but me. The content of the report was of course buried under the spin it got on the left and right in the UK and the US.)
We who opposed the war – also known as “the side that has been proved right”, you’ll note – had doubts about the WMD intelligence from the start. This led us to to look for the real reason for war. Well, we were right about that as well.
Tony Blair lied to the UK and led this country into the current disaster in Iraq, not to mention adding inestimably to the diplomatic legitimacy of George Bush’s squalid little junta. Now he’s dissembling and waffling and hiding and confounding and doing everything he possibly can to avoid dealing with what he did.
He’s stuck in a corner, slowly and carefully performing a PR-structured focus-grouped media-tested step-by-step U-turn, on a schedule that will get him out of this whole situation in time for a general election next year.
In his situation, he has to lie. If he’s honest about Iraq, his whole presidency – whoops! I mean prime ministership – comes crashing down around his ears.
But that’s what he deserves: to fall from grace, spectacularly, hugely, humiliatingly, with all his self-delusions laid bare.
He doesn’t deserve his position as Prime Minister. He has failed the people of the United Kingdom. Worse than that, he has betrayed them.
I have no sympathy for him. I hope the horrible stress he is under now tears his soul apart.
————
Of course, he’s going to get re-elected. There is no credible alternative.
That’s the saddest thing of all.

{ 10 } Comments

  1. el Rache | September 30, 2004 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Yep. What he said.

  2. el Rache | September 30, 2004 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I am not stalking you I just like adding a comment and then seeing it appear instantly in the recent comments list.
    I need to get out more.

  3. billy | October 1, 2004 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Notwithstanding Blair’s acts of perfidy*, I found the speech interesting, lurid pink background and all.
    He was talking to an audience of the faithful. NOw I don’t know enough about the internal state of Britain, and I figure the figures were favourably massaged (noticed a couple of fun lacks of specificity and cases of relying on future events in his statistics demonstrating change), but it sounded good. It sounded like they’ve done some good things for Britain; that they want to do good things for Britain.
    He represents people who want to believe these things, who do believe these things. And gradually, it’s dawning on me that while it is easy to get furious with those we perceive passsionate differences with, this will not create progress towards anything we desire.
    Events exist on different scales. Different events have a different “us” and “them”.
    In amongst the lies was a great deal of truth.
    No matter how crazy it seems.
    Hmm. I suspect these thoughts need to percolate a while longer before I can communicate what it is I think I understand.

    *Actually, to speak for a second of how he handled the WMD thing: by standing up and saying he was wrong – something I don’t think he’d done before –
    *in the way that he did*, when communicating to people with a different underlying metaphor of reality, _is good enough_. (Again Moral Politics by Gordon Lakoff proves great predictive and explanatory power.) In another language, that non apology was everything it had to be.

  4. cal | October 1, 2004 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I think we need to stop convincing ourselves that there is no credible alternative to Labour or to Blair. There are definatly some alternatives that would be worse – like UKIP, but there are some other parties that could have a pretty good shot at providing a stable government, with good policies that aren’t based on one persons moral beliefs. I think parties like the Lib Dems deserve some backing. Instead of saying “there are no credible alternatives” – which is what labour would love to have us all believe, we should be saying which is the other party that could do the job the way we want, if we give them our support.

  5. Matt | October 1, 2004 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    He lied.
    So what? Politicians do it all the time and get away with it. I’d have thought that the primary skills a politician needs are : Lies well, lies well in the fact of the facts, about turns and ignores or denounces their previosu position whilst seeming credible, sells out to public opinion with no moral qualms, oh and did I mention is a good liar.
    I mean look at western democracy. Policy is built on spin and lies, where are the facts, buried under public opinion and the desire for votes. Sure I’d rather western democracy more than any *other* from of government if only because it is so dominated by the spectre of bad polls and ill public opinion.
    The whole thing is a sham.
    I mean, really, where do you get off hassling him for lying? He lied to get into office? He has lied numerous times in office (like every other prime minister and president in libving and dead memory).
    So he lied. So lots of people suffered because of the lie. It’s only to be expected. At least he didn’t embezzle money (whihc seems to be the *only* impeachable offence I can see soemone actually hassled for).
    Sorry fdor being cynical, but really, he lied. What else can we expect from our politicians when the whole system is set up so that only liars with good spin doictars can get anywhere.

  6. Simon | October 1, 2004 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    One thing my father said to me really sticks in my mind. He bemoaned the fact that nowadays people expect politicians to lie and how when he was a growing up this wasn’t the case.
    I wonder what that was like.
    One thing I hate about the current state of politics is the “Well it’s done now” culture. Where by they do someinthg bad, against publicprotest, then once it’s done and turns out to be bad they go. “Ooops, oh well it’s done now stop whining. Look to the future.”
    The Skye bridge springs to mind on this one as well.

  7. Matt | October 1, 2004 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Yeah – I should moderate what I said with the fact that I hate that he lied. I hate that Bush lies. I hate that Helen Clark lies.
    I have on rare occasions even thought about going into politics myself for various reasons.
    But then I come to my senses and realise that I couldn’t live with myself.
    I see politicians as *inherently* corrupt. In order to get elected one necessarily needs to sell out to public opinion. You must appease the majority.
    Sometimes I think the majority a brain dead couch potates who like to eat lies as they think they are nutritious and healthy.
    I do hate that they lie and they get away with it. And then they sound indignant when they are accuessed of lying.
    Grrr.
    Politicians! They are bad for my blood pressure.

  8. Gregor Hutton | October 1, 2004 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Bliar is a flake who lost the plot a long time ago. He is a liar, and his lies have ruined many, many lives. He says he wishes to be judged by history. Well, the judgement on Blair will be damning.
    A hung parliament and a Labour coup is what we can all hope for.

  9. Pearce | October 3, 2004 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Re: the “Well it’s done now” culture – that’s pretty pervasive. I encountered it many times in my last job, during our takeover by Australian agents of corporate evil. The feeling in management about any issues that I raised seemed to be that once they were raised, they were resolved. So if the issue continued and I raised it again (say, if my immediate manager refused to ever speak to me and then, after my complaining of this to HIS manager, continued to refuse to ever speak to me even during my redundancy – this really happened, he NEVER spoke to me while he was my manager), I was told “We’re not going backwards on this, it’s in the past.”
    Because, like, things that happened in the past don’t impact on the future. Do they?

  10. grimjack | October 4, 2004 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    Right on, Matt!
    It’s all aout a lack of responsibility.
    The two current leaders of the US and the UK would have been forced to resign by their own pepole if they had acted as they have done prior to the 1980’s.
    I think the public perception that those running the country (whatever country) do not have our best interests at heart, while it may now be accurate, is to some extent a self-fulfilling perception.
    Treated as if they are scum, politicians, like used-car salesmen, lawyers, and gang-members, see no reason not to act like scum.
    Richard Nixon has a lot to answer for, for I believe it was his undisguised contempt for the American people during the 1970’s that has led to the current state of affairs.
    Prior to Watergate, although there was undoubtedly dirty tricks still going on, as soon as there was a whiff of scandal pepole would generally resign rather than tarnish the image of the government, and take responsibility for doing wrong, many times even if there was really nothing to the scandal in the first place.
    Of course, back then the media also wouldn’t report every little foible.
    And all of the above means that those who _should_ be leading us don’t want to, the few honest and upstanding citizens who dare to enter politics are either corrupted by it, or leave in disgust, and we are left only with those who _want_ to lead us, and as someone somewhere once said, you should never give power to someone who wants it.
    Bring back heriditary monarchy! At least then we woiuld have the _chance_ to be ruled by someone who saw it as a privilege, and honour, and a duty, and had been trained for the job from birth.
    Rather than someone who has won a beauty contest by backstabbing all the other contestants, in a system designed to quickly eliminate any decent person from it.