Saturday, 9 July 2011

Blair-faced cheek

The reappearance of Tony Blair, slagging off Gordon Brown and the solitary mourner at the graveside of "New Labour", is a salutory reminder of why we are at the current state of political and moral bankruptcy.

For the most part, I shall forebear from continually linking My Little Tony to Murdoch, as there will be hundreds of others out there who will be happily doing just that.  Blair's real legacy is the venality and corruption that pervades politics, business and the wider society, along with the completion of Thatcher's desecration of the public realm.

Casting one's mind back to 1997, it is difficult to remember the extent to which Blair seemed like a better choice than the Tories.  There were a few solid reforms in his first term, mostly inherited from John Smith's programme of social democracy, such as devolution.  Everything else was fudged (Lords reform, electoral reform) or kicked into touch by the incredible policy of sticking to Tory spending limits.

Blair is a monster, and this became clear with his messianic zeal to promote some kind of moral crusade under the coat-tails of the USA.  Supporting Iraq, and playing the anti-European card whenever possible, placed him firmly in the neo-con camp of post-colonial gunboat diplomacy, while his fetish for privatisation by any other name means that many more of our public services are marketised, while cronies gain maximum snoutage at the expense of public service.

So for Blair to declare that the "New Labour" project died when he shuffled off to cash in his chips from the people he enriched is highly welcome.  Mister Ed is now unshackled from this appalling right-wing conspiracy and can start being genuinely radical, if he is either motivated or capable of stepping up a gear.

Labour should be capitalising on current disarray.  The government's economic policy continues Blair's regime of pandering to international capitalism, the banking sector and other non-productive cankers on society, while denying manufacturing the chance to compete.  This results in the economy bumping along the bottom, with the spectre of stagflation never far away..  The anger about the destruction of public service and the assaults on public sector workers both psychologically and financially should be harnessed.  Miliband does not need the support of the haute bourgeoisie - he needs to secure the trust of those who are disempowered and disenfranchised.

For once, Blair may have done us a favour.  Short of a suicide pact with his mentor, there is not much else that he can do to atone for his sins.

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