Monday, 6 September 2010

Blair-hatred: a hypothesis

the Normster posts excellently today on the deranged and personal hatred of Tony Blair of which we have seen evidence in recent days as he has been promoting his book A Journey: My Political Life (which I had of course pre-ordered and am reading now, it is a biggun).  I would urge everyone to read Norm's post - his hypothesis is broadly that it is psychological distress that causes people to react in this way; they cannot cope with facing their own support for bloodthirsty tyranny.  This makes sense to me.  In 2003 when That March took place I was in Glasgow and watched the march there.  I went public a day or two later in Reading, remarking on the number of Iraqi flags being carried by the marchers and saying "I never knew Saddam Hussein had so many fans".  The savagery that was turned on me then was visceral, and personal.  No-one ever tried to debate the issues with me.  No-one wanted to.  After all, I was making a statement of fact.  There were a lot of Iraqi flags carried that day.  And if you march in the public street with a flag then you are, in a way that has been understood for many centuries, showing that you support or in some way belong to the entity (Careful.  Ed.) that the flag represents.  And it was of course the Guardianistas who were the most savage.  Frivolously I might say that if I was pissing off Guardian readers I must have been doing something right.  But more thoughtfully I would say that it was the Guardian readers who felt most uncomfortable with their support for tyranny, and least willing to face up to that for what it was.  That was not the kind of person they thought they were.  So they turned on the person who showed them that that was exactly the kind of person they were being.  Reading Labour did not deselect me over Iraq - they might have tried, but as Mr Salter had by then been exposed publicly as a liar, having said he voted against the war when in fact he abstained, they would have quickly been in difficult terrain - or over any policy issue.

Read Norm on Iraq and hatred.  Please.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting Jane. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

I pre-ordered it and got the discount.

I can't bear to read it yet because I have just finished the Mandelson and feel quite ill.

I am taking a break by reading Maggie Gee's 'My Animal Life' which is about her life and not about furry animals at all. Read it - it is good.

jane said...

yes the Mandy made me feel a bit queasy too

Peter R said...

I think you have missed the point. Opposition to the war in Iraq was not based on support for Saddam, who we all know was a brutal crook. There are others of those around though - how about Burma, or North Korea? The objection was that it was an illegal war, without UN sanction. Tony Blair took the UK into it primarily as a mate of George W Bush and that seemed to me at the time to a very poor case. It still does. It gave Osamar bin Laden credibility in a country where he had none before, and made the world a much more dangerous place.

jane said...

Naturally we disagree, Peter. I did, and do, find it curious that so many chose to display the flag of Saddam Hussein's Iraq at the time. Tony Blair did not "take us" into Iraq, Parliament voted for this action, still the only time it has ever been asked to approve military action. And if the war was "illegal", which I do not believe, and on which opinion is divided, why has there never been due process? And if there was, the many countries who took and are taking part in action for Iraq are equally complicit, not just Tony Blair - if not then the matter is personal - why no call for action against the leaderships of participant countries Latvia or Mongolia? If democratic governance is a good thing, and is better than totalitarian dictatorship, and I believe it is, then are Arab people less deceiving of it than Westerners?

Augustus Carp said...

Jane, I suspect that by your lights I probably qualify as a “Blair Hater”, although I think the description is a bit strong. Sorry, but I never warmed to the man, not even in 1997, when he appeared to be able to walk on water and cure the common cold. I first met him in the late and unlamented Beaconsfield BY Election in 1982, when he (accidentally) trod on my foot and failed to apologise – tells you a lot about someone, that sort of thing!

I marched against the war in Iraq, and would do so again; not because it was an “illegal war” or anything semantic like that, but because from a political and military perspective it was so foolish and short-sighted to get involved in an artificial conflict when it was not possible to define success in any realistic way. We were always told a different story – were we there for regime change, to liberate women, to improve education, to defeat Al Quaida/the Taliban/Osama bin Laden, etc etc etc? If Britain and the US had gone in after Saddam Hussein in “hot pursuit” after the first (Kuwait) Iraq War, it would have had my wholehearted support, much like the Falklands did – militaristic dictatorships cannot invade other countries with impunity, especially if they are our allies, and getting rid of the aggressor then would have been justifiable. What was not justifiable was the mendacious attempts by the West to find some sort of pretext to go to war 10 years later, regardless of the merits or consequences.

And frankly, no, I don’t believe that we (or anyone else) should be acting as a World Policeman going around sorting out other nations’ abuses – whether that is in North Korea, the Balkans or the Middle East. I am willing to allow my Government to use our military might to protect our narrow interests or to sort out problems for which we might have some responsibility – but that is not carte blanche for worldwide military adventurism.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - he cured the common cold and walked on water, Augustus Carp. Do you know why?

Because he put the pathetic, self destructive, effective Leader-hating - hopeless Leader-loving Labour Party into Government for 13 years.

And, didn't manage to apologise for accidentally treading on your toe?

What would you like for his punishment? Tagging? 40 years inside and counting? Execution? Death by being forced to read the collected grunts of Martin Salter, ex MP?

Oh. Dear. Pretty. Perleaze!
Go to bed and start taking the tablets.


Poor Tony. No wonder he spends so much of his time on a plane.

Anonymous said...

I don't like Tony Blair, but I do wish they had found WMD.
If anyone needs to know why Saddam had to be toppled just look on the internet for Halabja.
On the subject of invasions, the Falklands could be an issue again soon now they have found oil nearby.
An easy solution - for a suitable sum sell the islands to Israel!

Sauti Ndogo said...

Jane, I supported the invasion and share your contempt for the mindless Blair-haters, while recognising that there is room for thoughtful opposition to my views from those such as Augustus Carp.

Like Thatcher's, Blair's premiership was long and multi-faceted, and any one-word assessment of it as Good or Bad is facile. His greatest achievement was perhaps already accomplished by May 1997: he had rescued Britain from being a one-party state (the same credit should also go to David Cameron).

One of Blair's worst judgments was going for a third term in 2005. He may say that he did so because he knew that Brown would be a disaster, yet he still allowed the same disaster to come to pass two years later.

I also find it hard to forgive him for allowing Clare Short anywhere near government. I knew she was a wrong 'un ever since hearing her spouting platitudes about central Africa when a shadow minister in 1996 - she clearly hadn't got a clue about the region and yet could not bear to simply stay quiet and educate herself.

dreamingspire said...

I'm with Augustus Carp on the failure to conquer Iraq at the end of the Kuwait Iraq war. The coverage by CNN at the time gave us brilliant real time evidence, and showed that we could have toppled the Iraq regime so very easily. So I go along with him on "foolish and short-sighted", although I own up to thinking at the time that we would discover WMDs.
But I have been puzzling over that 2005 election and more particularly (because I was closer to it, attending some technical Working Group meetings) about the events at the end of 2004 when Blair pulled back from significant reform of Whitehall. He had hired people such as Ian Watmore to do the planning - and now Ian is back in Cabinet Office.

Jonny said...

I've not read the book yet, but extracts, and I saw the Marr interview. The more I hear Blair now, the more I confirm my view that I almost never agreed with him on his personal view of domestic policy, but nearly always on foreign policy.