What's in It for Blair???

Martin Spellman mspellman at cix.co.uk
Tue Mar 11 06:27:20 MST 2003

	Blair is part of the so-called 'New Generation' project of New Labour
types, who are supportive of US imperialism. There are a large number of
them who have either been to US universities or over on 'jollies' organised
by US business foundations and all that kind of thing. 'Lobster' magazine
has done articles on who they are and what they have been up to. Then there
is the 'special relationship' thing, which even the old Tory PM, Ted Heath,
says 'no one in America believes' i.e. that it is a one-sided illusion
fostered in British circles. Then there is the understanding that Britain
can no longer stand alone so must ally itself to the USA to preserve its
place in imperial politics.

	He has tried to present himself as a force of moderation on Bush, for
action through the UN, when it is clear that for the pair of them war was
the only outcome they wanted. Here the media are presenting the issue as if
Britain and the US are the majority and it's only the pesky French,
Russians, Germans... who are out of step. They hope to get the war over
quickly (blitzkrieg) and thus put the horrors into memory and emerge
triumphant. I don't think the people will let them get away with it. As you
say he is unpopular now -- after a war he would be unbearable.

	The Labour Party has been on the downslide, membership-wise, since the
Wilson Government of the 1960s. Things really went down hill when Kinnock
beat Benn for the leadership, around 1983. Kinnock did a lot to demoralise
and hollow out the Labour Party, apart from being a safe opposition for Mrs
Thatcher. So by the time Blair made his move in the 1990s there was not much
to stand in his way. He has changed Labour's constitution and structure to
prevent democratic control and accountability. For those who want to fight
from within I ask: Where's the fight? To those who want to change New Labour
back to what it was I ask: How are you going to do it? It would require a
root and branch change not just passing resolutions. The problem is now that
there is no alternative within the Party itself. The Government is composed
of compliant toadies and the 'left' is ineffective and leaderless.

	But that's just the Party. In government Blair has created a kind of
Presidential status for himself. He only attends the House of Commons on
rare and necessary occasions (such as Prime Minister's Questions PMQs) and
the Cabinet has been transformed into a formal body. Mo Mowlam, a former
Cabinet member, who is no left-winger, said that all that happens is the PM,
Chancellor, Home and Foreign Secretaries make reports of what they are
doing. There may be a few inconsequential questions and that's it -- all
over in about two and a half hours. So he is operating beyond control.
Yesterday much was made of Clare Short's (Minister for Overseas Development
and member of the Cabinet) criticism of him as being 'reckless' but Short is
still in the Cabinet and calling Blair reckless is not being against the

	To show how bad it has got: part of the PM's schedule is a weekly audience
with the Queen, which I think takes place on Thursday evenings. Not that
people on this list would be worried about the monarchy, but Blair even
started making excuses about being too busy to see HM. She apparently had to
remind him that it was she who gave the audience not him.

	Blair has always been on the right and has never been a democrat. Some of
his saddest moments must have been in places like Neil Kinnock's Shadow
Cabinet: all those long meetings and arguments that used to take place.

	The reality that Blair is a Thatcherite has taken a long time to sink in.
He actually said of her "I admire her conviction but not her politics". From
the popularity he had when elected in 1997, when any Labour leader would
have been, he is now greeted by boos wherever he goes. Most recently on one
of those 'PM meets and invited studio audience' programmes. He got a slow
handclap! We have a Prime Minister who is a liar and has changed his
position on Iraq about 6 or 7 times. The first one to become unpopular
before a war has even started. The first to face the greatest peace
demonstration of all time.

	He must go and his government with him. It's not just Blair and the war but
New Labour and health, public transport, PFI -- you name it. If there were
an election the result would be very interesting. I don't think the Tories
would be back -- they are in worse problems than Blair is. The Lib Dem vote
might pick up as they are against the war and there could well be local,
independent candidates. The Scots and Welsh nationalists might come on too
as might the SSP. The Socialist Alliance or any of the other left parties
would be wasting their time as far as I can see.

Martin Spellman

> It makes sense that the Bush junta believed it's in their interest to
> invade Iraq, thought and still think that they can get away with it,
> and believe that they can't back down now without losing
> "credibility."
> What doesn't make sense at all is Blair's continuing devotion to the
> Bush project -- especially at this point when it's become clear that
> it's the most unpopular war in history and he's facing revolts from
> his party and cabinet even.  What's in it for Blair???
> Without the UN SC mandate for the war, Blair has nothing to gain by
> going along with Bush and probably a lot to lose given UK public
> opinions, _even if_ the coalition of the willy-nilly manage to go to
> war without the UN and conquer all of Iraq relatively quickly.
> --
> Yoshie

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list