Archive for the ‘Blair’ Category

There’s Dave…

Sky News’ Jon Craig has posted an interesting piece on the latest Brown-sighting this evening. After Cameron’s highly adroit – even deft – performance in the US, it’s becoming pretty clear that, in absolute fact, Britain is far better off, both at home and abroad, now that she is finally being represented by a prime minister that isn’t either a) a hopeless attention-seeker obsessed with his own image rather than concerned with the needs of a country he laughably purported to lead or the world that he generally preferred to start wars in, or b) a socially inept weirdo with terrifying delusions of grandeur and a pathological inability to recognise, much less tell, the truth.

Jon Craig writes of the latter’s latest noises well-off performance:

So what did Gordon Brown do after his brief appearance in the House of Lords?
(See previous blog.)
Speak in the Commons during the third reading debate on the Finance Bill?
Er, no.
Pop down to Strangers’ Bar or the terrace for a few beers with old comrades?
Er, no.
The former Prime Minister, I can reveal, had already invited new Labour MPs elected for the first time on May 6 – about 70 in all – for a chat at 4pm in his grand and spacious new office on the top floor of Portcullis House.
An audience with Gordon.
Aah. So the room was packed, then?
Er, no.
Apparently, so my informant tells me, only about 10 turned up to listen to the former PM.
I’m also told that some of the bright young things turned up hoping to ask him worthy questions about the Alternative Vote referendum and other current topics.
But they were disapppointed to hear him talk at some length – no change there, then – about how the Tories kept trashing his record in power.
Oh dear.
In denial?
That’s what some Labour MPs are claiming.

Where’s Wally Gordon?

I’m quite surprised to be writing this, but Cameron is actually beginning to look great. Now that could just be because he’s normal compared to the two contemptible Labour has-beens this country and the world have been forced to tolerate for over a decade in unequal shares until very recently.

But he did look and sound great today – a real independent force. Having seen some of the clips of his performance with the latest incarnation of the US president, compared to the rather brittle-looking, slightly spiteful-sounding Barack Hussein Obama, he was, well, just great.

Hang-on, I know it’s early days, but it is possible Cameron is great – as in an unusually gifted statesman and leader (at least in the making).

One day maybe it’ll even become a famous quotation: “Andy Burnham [or whoever], you are no David Cameron! (You’re actually a bit like Tony Blair – but not quite as bad as Gordon Thingumyjig),” says someone or other who’s fairly famous in politics .

Hmm. Maybe not (yet). But he’s clearly better than Blair. And way, way, way better than the unspeakable (and nearly vanished forever anyway) Brown. We might still be in the ‘thank God for small mercies’ stage of Cameron’s premiership, but there can be no denying it: there were one or two glimpses of greatness there today.

What a contrast!

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Quite aside from all his other disastrous decisions, mainly on foreign policy, it seems perfectly fair to me that Blair be blamed for not seeing while he was Prime Minister that Britain wasn’t saddled with a successor he himself thought was unfit to govern. This is, according to Andrew Rawnsley in his extraordinarily excoriating assault on virtually the entire Labour administration, the thing for which Blair, ultimately, is most guilty. It’s a heck of a read and should be disastrous for all Labour’s leadership candidates, tainted as they are with the charge of cowardice, arch and chronic dishonesty and, simply put, self-interested misgovernance. Anyway, here’s a taste of something which, if you haven’t already read it, is well worth a look:

If Blair thought that Brown was unfit to be prime minister – and there’s now lots of evidence that this is precisely what Blair thought – he had an obligation to his party and his country to do something about it. At the very least, he should have, as he could have, ensured that there was a contest for the succession in 2007 rather than allow Brown to be crowned without proper scrutiny. It was one of Blair’s most selfish acts and a gross dereliction of duty to swan off to make his millions while leaving his party and country to cope with the consequences of a Brown premiership.

The implication from this is that by the time he had finally given in to the forces of hell unleashed by Brown in the form of Balls, Wheelan et al in 2006, Blair simply didn’t give a toss about what happened next. A more damning indictment of the man as Prime Minister is simply inconceivable, even one involving his misleading the House of Commons, the country and the world over WMDs in Iraq. It’s actually quite difficult accurately to describe a person like that, whose self-interest and vanity is only trumped by his greed and dishonesty. In some ways if one views it in the light of this unforgivable dereliction of duty, as Rawnsley rightly calls it, Blair ends up as an even worse national leader than Brown, difficult though that might be for some (like me) to swallow.

If you do accept Rawnsley’s characterisation of Blair, it is, however, perfectly possible to argue that he was worse than Brown as a man and as a leader. The only difference between the two frauds being, therefore, that Blair was a far better con man than Brown ever could be, which meant that Blair was able to trick the country into believing him and then voting for him. By contrast, Brown was just Brown: paranoid, delusional, vicious, incompetent even in disguising his many falsehoods and, ultimately, a total electoral liability and a catastrophe for the nation.

The impact of these realisations on the Labour leadership campaign as I said should be massive. All the candidates are as discredited as each other for failing to make the decision Blair couldn’t be ar*ed to make and stopping Brown once it was crystal clear he was utterly hopeless. As Rawnsley says, quite fairly and quite mildly in truth:

Andy Burnham was one of the nodding dogs who would declare to TV cameras that the cabinet had every confidence in Gordon Brown when the reverse was the case. Ed Balls ran the thuggish Brownite machine and the decade-long insurgency against Tony Blair to put his master in Number 10. Ed Miliband makes pious noises denouncing “factionalism” as if he is a saintly figure who never had anything to do with it. “The emissary from Planet Fuck” – as he was known among Blair’s aides during the civil war – was at the heart of the Brown faction.It is a bit tricky for David Miliband. He was one of the senior members of the cabinet who knew Brown was taking them to defeat and failed to act before it was too late.

So they all should be screwed – and rightly so. For all his hypocrisy, Mandelson doesn’t really matter because he’s not a leadership candidate. So, assuming (and this is a big assumption) the MSM ends its own version of Labourist dishonesty and begins to treat the rest with the contempt they should have coming to them for their pathetic behaviour in propping up Brown, the only untainted candidate in the Labour leadership race is, hilariously, Diane Abbott!

Either way, and this is essentially Rawnsley’s conclusion, Labour is truly, deservedly and royally buggered. And in the end, of course, they themselves are the ones who are to blame for it. After all, Blair only gave us Brown because he’d given up, and that’s how history will judge him. But the Milibands, Burnham and Balls (and Mandelson) are the ones who propped the disastrous loser up. That was unforgivable – and the country isn’t going to forgive them, ever.

Now, thankfully, their past seems finally to be catching up with them. Soon there’ll be nowhere left for them to hide any more and no amount of continued lying will save their collective political bacon. If the PLP is stupid enough to elect one of them, (and it’s almost certain that it is that stupid) then they should prepare to be out of power for decades, if not forever. Mind you, exactly the same thing will happen if they choose bonkers Abbott.

Catch 22 for the Labourist wreckers – and music to my ears!

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Iain Martin has provided, presumably from his sources inside the civil service, a fascinating and chilling insight into Brown’s autocratic, paranoid and hopeless (mis)management of day-to-day Prime Ministerial business. If you haven’t already read it, click through here.

It will take a lot of effort to work out just how much damage three years (or 13 years if you include his time as a diabolical, serially disloyal Chancellor) of Brown’s weirdness and chaos in Downing Street has done to this nation. The litany of disasters that can be traced directly back to Brown’s bunker door are emerging daily, of course, so the process could take less time than we think.

Quite frankly, I think how such a man was elevated to the level of the highest office in the land in the first place, without even the pretence of any form of democratic election, should also be a source of deep and urgent study. Why? Because it must never, ever be permitted to happen again and if that means radical alterations to the rules governing the way Prime Ministers are chosen, then so be it.

In the meantime we can be happy about a couple of things, and Martin alludes to these in his excellent piece: stable, reasonable, elected people are back in charge, cabinet government appears to have returned and the principles of ministerial and collective responsibility look like being rigorously reinstated.

We shall see, but after the cocksure, cowboy, sofa government years of Blair and the mentally disturbed, incoherent, mafiosi years of Brown, it certainly feels like accountability, professionalism and, crucially, normality have returned to Downing Street, Whitehall and, perhaps (just perhaps), even Westminster.

Well, you might disagree. But God help us all if I’m wrong!

Just remember, Brown’s chief hit man, Balls, is still around, waiting in the wings, shamelessly spewing his poisonous politics of propaganda, division, dishonesty and fear. He’s on This Week right now lying through his teeth about, in this case, his many crimes against Tony Blair on behalf of his boss, Brown, to whom he remains fanatically loyal. The chances of the evil Balls becoming leader even of his own party are pretty slim, I admit, (oh I do hope he wins!) but there’s still that chance, however slight, and the frailties of our system, exposed by the Brown 2007 coup d’état, mean that at that point, he would be a hell of a lot closer to Number 10 than is sanely conceivable.

If Iain Martin’s revelations reveal just how very, very, incredibly bad Brown was, just imagine what life would be like under Prime Minister Balls.

That would be a nightmare from which we might never wake up.

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I nearly missed this extraordinary piece buried in the business pages of yesterday’s Telegraph by half-decent economics commentator (and there aren’t many of those) Edmund Conway. The thrust of the piece, supported by an interesting flashback to the days when Blair was, apparently, Labour’s City spokesman, just when the ’87 bubble burst, is that a series of FoI requests have revealed that Blair knew about Brown’s mega housing bust as early as 2004, possibly before. Said Conway:

So concerned was the PM back in 2004 that the housing market was turning into a bubble that he asked the Treasury for a full briefing note (in fact he was prompted by an FT column by Martin Wolf, warning: “Nobody knows when the bust will come. But come, I believe, it will”.)

Fine, but nothing, as everyone no doubt recalls, happened. Why? I think we can guess. Conway continues:

Now, it probably isn’t a surprise to hear that the Treasury dismissed this view in its document, which PricedOut has attained under a Freedom of Information request. But I was surprised by the length of the document (eight chunky pages) and throughout its length a sheer unwillingness to countenance the possibility that the housing market would crash. It underlines the simple fact that the Treasury under Gordon Brown was blind to the possibility that things could go horribly wrong – even within the confines of Downing Street. It turns out no-one was allowed to challenge the “end to boom and bust” trope – even Tony Blair himself.

Blair’s role in this debacle simply demonstrates how weak a prime minister, and person, he actually was. And, of course, it shows how far he would go to keep the title. He knew and yet he did nothing. If he’d had a spine, he would have fired Brown when he had the chance. But he didn’t, and should be judged accordingly.

As for Brown. My God! Is it any wonder that I hate him (and I mean hate) and all he stands for? Is it really that surprising that I, and millions of others, believe he is the worst man ever to have held high office in this country? Should it really be that much of a shock that I am 100% sure that if this unelected, incompetent, vainglorious oddball is somehow given a mandate this year, the damage he will do to this country afterwards would make terrible harm he’s caused so far look like the good old days?
At least the politics are therefore very straightforward: you vote Labour in your constituency and you will get five more years of the lying economic wrecker. Vote Tory, you don’t.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a moral duty to vote Conservative this time around, and all that that implies if you don’t. That what’s at stake here. The documentary proof in Conway’s article provides the proof, as if more were needed.

And now, just for a bit of extra entertainment, and in case you can’t be bothered to click through to original article, is that video of Blair in ’87. Who’d have thought a wet-behind-the-ears political unknown, who’d never had a proper a job in his life, would one day be prime minister.

Well, so much for David Cameron. But it is interesting to see Blair back then...

…about the same as he looks now, only less suntanned and without the Yank accent.

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He’s come back to haunt support his old cabinet sparring partner, Brown, but Tony Blair can’t run away from the by now well-worn ghosts that will follow him to the grave. One such ghost, however, could be a surprisingly fresh one. It’s the eponymous novel written by Robert Harris a few years ago – and it’s coming out as a movie, just in time for the general election, and Blair’s return. What larks!

If you don’t know the book, then you should have a little dip in before watching the film, otherwise, it’ll be pretty baffling. Suffice it to say, it sails pretty close to the wind most of the time, in terms of its verisimilitude. As the Guardian review of the day said, Harris was out to get Blair, and get him good:

Most such references are almost dangerously obvious; a firm called Hallington, for instance, gets up to tricks just as sinister as those laid at the door of Haliburton. Others are designed to give Harris wriggle-room. Lang is having an affair with his personal assistant, the comely Amelia Bly, who would otherwise be a dead ringer for Blair’s Downing Street aide Anji Hunter. The long-suffering ghostwriter even gets to bed the ex-PM’s wife.

These few fantasies are all that save Harris from the charge that he is out for revenge on Blair, if not for the second sacking of his closer friend Peter Mandelson, then for Bush-dictated foreign policy that saw the author ‘give up on’ a government whose election he initially welcomed. Last year’s Middle East debacle was apparently ‘the last straw’ for the already anti-war author; but he resists milking the irony that Blair is now a Middle East envoy, preferring a bleaker end for Lang.

Well, I thought the book was brilliant, fiction or not. And it had that delicious twist that all good thrillers should have at the end. Some aspects of the real Tony Blair’s life are, in fact, stranger than the fiction, though. For instance, who would have thought that this former Labour prime minister would be worth £20 million+ after earning about 1/130th of that sum as prime minister? How did he manage that? Speaking tours?? Of course not. His rich friends in America showed him how to exploit business loopholes, while his chancellor here fuelled the property boom for as long as he could get away with it – or as long as it took for half the cabinet to become property multi-millionaires, just like Blair (and Mandelson, of course). Just these facts alone stink more than anything Harris dreamt up in his book about Blair facing charges as a war criminal.

But great book it is, and certainly worth the read. You really won’t be able to put it down. As for the film, well, judging by the trailer, it’s very faithful to the text – and Pierce Brosnan, judging by the glimpses we get, has judged the character of Tony Blair Adam Lang to perfection. Add to that the fact that it’s a Polanski flick, and you would be forgiven for thinking that it’s unmissable.

I wonder if Blair will be going to see it. I’m damn sure Brown will be – on the sly, naturally.

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Courtesy: Department of International Development (the irony)

I can’t say much about this hideous thing because I’m sort of still trying to process what I’ve just seen. But I will say this.

I find it utterly soul-destroying that these people, all of them Labour ministers either interviewed in the sting or fingering ministers still in power in one position or another (including that sickening, unblinking crook Mandelson yet again), are so much worse as people than so many people I’ve met in my lifetime and career so far. I simply cannot imagine what my father thinks of it all.

The point is that these people are so corrupt, they would sooner burn this country to the ground than be forced into a position where they must confront the twin characteristics that define them all, to a man and to a woman: vanity and greed. Vanity and greed is what defines this entire government, and this government’s vanity and greed is what has brought this country to the brink of ruin. We were safer in the Cold War than we are with these.

Just remember, prior to this devastating Blair/Brown era, governments were brought down for far, far less than this, and rightly so.

I can’t think of anything else to say just now. I’m just too depressed by the level of venality and decay this country has been brought to thanks to a desperately serious, though perhaps innocent in the case of a fair few million voters, false step that we took in 1997.

A lot of people were conned by Labour, but all are punished.

To me, though, there is some kind of hope. The Conservative Party, under Cameron, I believe has genuinely sensed the mood of the people (the people that count, that is – the vast majority of people – and not that small minority of dumb, insolent, loudmouth Labour activists who just don’t care because their obsessive political prejudices always take precedence over truth, justice and common decency).

The Conservative Party, under Cameron, really will mend our broken politics, mainly because they had bloody well better! So thank God for that, because, as this terrifying Dispatches programme shows, our politics is just about as broken as it could possibly be.

And Labour broke it.

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Blix On Blair

Hans Blix, the weapons inspector chief humiliated by Blair and Bush in the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, gives his view (largely implicitly) on Blair’s pretty chilling Chilcot grilling, during which he heavily hinted that not-only would he do it again in Iraq, with or without the WMD lies, but that he would have followed it up with an attack on Iran. While I don’t agree with some of Blix’s views, particularly on what I regard as Israel’s entirely understandable – and genuine – security fears, he talks a heck of a lot of sense about the folly of taking on Iran without international agreement and a bloody good reason (an example of which certainly does not exist, at least yet). He also gives the lie to Blair’s 2010 counterfactual pseudo-justification for the Iraq war, namely, that had there been no war then Saddam would now be locked in an arms race with Iran and Israel. Iraq would be as crippled now under Saddam as it was in 2003, Blix suggests. In other words, Blair was talking through an alternative orifice to his cakehole.

As for his point about a nuclear-armed Iran. Tell you what, I think he’s right. Iran with nukes would certainly be extremely uncomfortable, but the fact remains that with the responsibility that comes with possession of the Bomb comes a sea-change in national outlook and identity. Using it as an aggressive weapon is literally suicide, given the guaranteed swiftness and totally devastating response to such a crime. Blix implies that not even the current regime in Iran is that crazy, for all its wild words and posturing. And I agree, mainly because he’s probably right, but partly because just hearing a mollifying voice of reason after the endless propaganda and ignorant, one-eyed, ‘blood price,’ warmongering lunacy of liars like Blair is a hell of a relief.

You may disagree.

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