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Friday, 8 July 2016

The Man Who Could Have Been King

In an age littered with semi tragic political figures, you might think from the heading of this post, that I was going to talk about Boris Johnson, the coup leader and front man for the UK Brexit campaign. He of course wanted to be party leader and Prime Minister of Britain, but was knifed in the back by his erstwhile colleague Michael Gove, in a spectacular 'Et Tu Brute?' moment.

‘The World's Worst Terrorist’ - Tony Blair Defending Himself From Criticism

But no, in fact I want to talk about Tony Blair the ex Labour Leader and UK Prime Minister, who this week finally had what was left of his political and personal reputation dragged into the gutter, where it will probably remain for decades, if not forever. He was even branded by one relative of a soldier killed in Iraq, as being 'The World's Worst Terrorist’ .... you just don't survive words like that.

But it all started so differently when he gained the leadership of the Labour Party in July 1994. He promised sweeping reforms, not just to his party (where he was soon accused of abandoning Socialism and embracing Capitalism but as a winner it just bounced off him), but for the country as a whole .... 'Things could only get better' as the slogan ran.

He was politically young at age 40, and facing a very tired Conservative party regime that had run out of steam and cohesion under John Major. So it came as no surprise when in May 1997, the Labour Party, cast aside the four consecutive general election defeats it had just suffered, and won a landslide general election victory. The largest in its history, allowing Blair, to become at age 43 the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812.

This was the Brit-Pop government ... snazzy music, well cut suits, and sound bite politics; orchestrated (or rather spun by) a press machine led by Alastair Campbell. Everything looked set for a stellar political star to stay in the firmament .... all he had to fear was fear itself. But what is it they say about 'the mighty being cast down from their thrones'?

While in power, Blair was able to shrug off criticism, and the Labour Party went on to win two more elections under his leadership. In 2001 it won another landslide victory, and in 2005 it won with a reduced majority. He handed over the PM role to his long-time rival Gordon Brown in 2007 (as per the alleged Granita restaurant agreement). He was in fact the most successful Labour Party leader in its history, and his fame should have been eternal .... his star should have been ablaze in the night sky. But even as he walked from office there were dark clouds already gathering.

  • Firstly there were many people on the left of his own party, demanding an inquiry in to the conduct of the wars Mr Blair had entered Britain into ... these demands crystallised around the events leading up to and after the invasion of Iraq. This demand was acceded to by Gordon Brown, when he announced the setting up of an inquiry under Lord Chilcott, on 15 June 2009. There were even the first demands that he be tried as a war criminal ... ignored.
  • Secondly, there had been leaks that the government under Tony Blair had secretly decided to let non EU immigration rip, in order to stop Britain ever being turned back to a largely white state.
  • Finally, the Scottish devolution plan his government introduced, which had been intended to cement Scottish labour into power, was already beginning to unravel as the Scottish Nationalist Party was gaining support (before eventually sweeping all aside north of the border).

Soon a reputation that had seemed untouchable in 2007, was starting to shake as the years went by .....

Scotland, the bedrock of so much of the Labour Party's successes, crumbled and fell completely to the SNP ... Labour only holds one Westminster Scottish parliamentary seat ... it now is almost certainly not going to be able to win a national election without those 50 odd Scottish seats. Then the UK voted to exit the European Union - a result driven by the Labour heartlands in England, where 'immigration' was the primary factor in Labour seats (this being a subject suppressed by the Labour Party since the Blair years), and which now has lost them their core white vote.

Finally ... out came the Chilcott report .... better late than never some might say ... and it confirmed that the UK had rushed in to the Iraq war, with poor if non-existent intelligence proof, and barely a fig leaf of legal cover to justify it.

Mr Blair came out defending himself, putting up a tearful and 'emotional' defence of his actions by stating that he believed 'the world was a better place' for that war. But the fact is that Iraq has been destabilised, possibly terminally, and will likely never be reformed as one state. The overspill from that chaos allowed IS to set up in first Iraq and then in Syria .... millions of Muslims from those countries are heading to Europe (destabilising the EU as well) ..... Blair's legacy is likely to cast a long shadow, and change a couple of continents beyond recognition, but not as he might have hoped for way back in the heady days of 1997.

Maybe That Early Warning Poster Was Right?

His philippic was typically given by Shadow health secretary Diane Abbott, not one too hold back in her attacks on the centre and right of her own party, who said that Mr Blair had "destroyed his own reputation .... it bled to death in the sands of Iraq". 

6 comments:

  1. That's a new word for me, 'philippic', curiously niche - I can't see myself using it anytime soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Learning and Growing mate .... as the Aquabats say. I use the words that fit the job!

      Delete
    2. You certainly do. To do a job well we need the right tools and your blog is a good source of spanners. Thanks for the link.

      Delete
    3. A weird kids show which I am afraid I admit to watching if its on .....

      Delete
  2. Blair don't care. He has managed to make himself a multi millionaire since leaving office. For a socialist he's a hypocrite of the worst kind. But the he never was a socialist was he. He would have been a social democrat or liberal but they had no chance of power.

    Political sc*m.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's certainly a divisive figure.

      Delete

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A middle aged orange male ... So 'un' PC it's not true....