I’ve been waiting for two years for Tony Blair to get his comeuppance. So this morning, I should be filled with glee.
I’m not. I’m filled with pity.
The repudiation of Blair was all about the war. A concentrated effort will be made to reverse the obvious among the American pundocrats in the next couple of days, but the fact is that, even if we put the anti-war shift away from Blair’s Labour at around 4 percent, that missing percentile torpedoes Blair’s ability to govern – as he is used to governing.
The polls don’t get to the multiplier effect. A list of voter priorities is not a map of voter mood. Every other issue was infected by the feeling that Blair practiced blatant deceit and high-handedness in maneuvering to bring Britain into the War.
What was the point? The U.S. was going to invade with or without Britain. In the event, Britain got nothing. No say in the running of “coalition” Iraq – the English had to sit back and watch flunkouts from the Heritage Foundation destroy Iraq as a unified whole from their place in Saddam’s Palace without having the power to intervene with a firm nanny’s smack. They enabled Bush-ites to design the war as a no-sacrifice political show. Even though that didn’t completely succeed (true, nobody cares about the number of Iraqi dead sacrificed to the neocon dream, but even a country of Sleeping Beauties – the out of it America of the Bush age – has a rumbling that things haven’t been working out right, there), Britain, by providing enough troops to subdue the South, actually gave the Bush administration the leeway to do what it likes to do best – put sacrifice off until tomorrow, while posturing today. If the U.S. had had to throw in another fifty to one hundred thousand troops in Iraq, Sleeping Beauty would be halfway out of her coma. So Blair’s policy didn’t even have the minimum effect he ostensibly wanted, keeping America integrated into the circle of international interests shared by the Great Power democracies. On the contrary, Bush’s nosethumbing at civilization became a great amusement for his more yahoo followers, while the NYT set had to be content with assuring us that Colin Powell was gravely concerned.
There is a part of me that will forever be an oatmeal bread Fabian. That part of me, the part that reads Polly Toynbee and nods its head, was not wholly out of love with Blair. True, the horrible civil rights record is not good – the sucking up to the worst kind of capitalist is even worse – but Labour made those incremental improvements in the lot of the working class that Toynbee is always writing about. It seems like all commas and subclauses, this program here and that program there, but that is the way Fabian progress looks.
However, my pity is more personal than political. Blair was battered for the war very personally, his nose was held to the blood spilt – once again playing the surrogate for Bush. And Blair seems like a person who can be very hurt by being disliked. The eagerness and chipperness in trying to make himself likeable is what makes him so damned annoying, and made the lap dog comparison woundingly apt – but, insofar as his surface insincerity is truly sincere, it also makes his wounding a sad spectacle.
ps – readers have complained that LI has neglected the week’s hot story – you know the one, Paul Abdul claiming to have been kidnapped by OJ Simpson so she could avoid marrying her secret American Idol sweetheart in Duluth Georgia, while the investigation among the Duluth Georgia police department reportedly finds that nine out of ten of the finest slept with Michael Jackson while he abstained from abusing them. Some talk of “playing with the badges” has surfaced. Well, we are taking the high road on this story. We are ardent fans of the alter-American Idol show – the one in which demi-virgins from Bachlorette are sacrificed on a Gilded dollar sign altar by Pat Robertson wearing the leathermask from Texas Chain Saw massacre – which is shown on the alter-Fox station in Austin, Texas. The singing American Idol show has a little too little bloodshed and corrupt evangelists for our taste. Also, no mudwrestling. We can’t abide no mudwrestling. Kudos kudos kudos to ABC for pulling its investigative team off the totally boring 8.7 trillion dollar Medicare deficit story – directly attributable to our lovable Mr. Mission Accomplished in the White House -- to jump on this much more interesting story. Red State America deserves no less – and no more.