Monday, May 14, 2007

Goodbye Tony. Goodbye Britain.

Tony Blair's announcement that he will be leaving office soon has been greeted with relief all across the country, more by traditional Labour supporters and those of a generally progressive mind than by Conservatives, who have always had a sneaking admiration for him.

Blair has become, thanks to the disaster in Iraq, the Margaret Thatcher or the Richard Nixon of this generation. The embodiment of everything that right-thinking people oppose. But to me that's rather unfair.

Iraq was a disaster. And it was, at least in part, Blair's Messianic tendencies that got us there. He was a man with high principles. A man with a calling. And a man (or woman) with a calling is a dangerous one to leave with his finger on the button.

But England is better for the New Labour project, which Tony Blair drove with Gordon Brown. The concept of social justice was almost unknown in the 1980s, characterised by poet Basil Bunting as "a terrible decade to have lived through". And it will vanish from the face of our society again if we let the Conservatives back in because Tony Blair, in our minds, has tainted the Labour Party forever.

Remember the Eighties, kids? Destruction of the industrial base, violent dismantling of the trade unions, persecution of gays and hippies, general dumbness and superficiality everywhere?

David Cameron is stealing Tony Blair's clothes, as Blair in his time stole Margaret Thatcher's, to pretend that he is not what we fear him to be. But what Blair was hiding from a callous public was his goodness, the positive nature of his programme. Cameron is claiming a positive programme to hide his Toryism.

I might say be conned by him at your own risk. But if you are you'll take me and the unions and the poor and the homosexuals and the immigrants and everybody else down with you. So don't be so hopelessly naive, eh?


tom said...

i see his name as come up to head the World Bank. Could be interesting job for him and he'd be more honest than the guy he's replacing.

Bruce Hodder said...

I agree. Mind you, he's had Gordon Brown doing his sums for him for ten years now...