I read this piece by Mark Ferguson, posted on LabourList tonight:
Tomorrow Tony Blair is making a major speech on Europe, which I’ll be attending. Ahead of the speech, I received a press release entitled “Blair for EU President campaign starts tomorrow: Join us!”
Ferguson goes on to tell us:
According to the press release,
Tomorrow (November 28) Tony Blair will kick-start his campaign to become the EU’s president. We will be there to support him between 9-9.30am…Members of the London office of the Blair for President Preparatory Committee will be waiting to greet Tony with colourful campaign posters carrying the slogan: Tony Blair for EU President – Integrity in Action
We then get an intriguing bit of investigative legwork, worth reading in full, which comes to the following conclusion:
They’ve also held at least one joint event with The Bruges Group, who describe themselves as “A neoliberal think tank which researches and publishes against European federation and against British participation in a single European state.” Sound like Blair fans to you? Or a group that would want any EU President? No, it rather sounds like a bunch of rightwingers running a false flag operation to me.
Finally, onto this update, aimed at clarifying the matter:
Update: The People’s Pledge contacted us with the following statement:
“Marc has set up, in his own time, what is clearly a spoof campaign, to highlight the importance of the EU presidency. The Democracy Movement has a long history of spoof campaigns to highlight certain issues on which they campaign.”
Take a look at the website for yourself and see if you think it’s clearly a spoof…
Now in the grander scheme of things, with disabled, sick, unemployed and poor people getting the very worst treatment in recent history from the government of this once fair nation, you might think that Ferguson is playing the navel-gazing Westminster Village just one too many times.
But, on reflection, I really do not think he is wasting his – or our – time on this matter.
I think, in fact, he may be on to much more than even he believes.
All through the calvary of the last two years or so, as the austerity drum has been savagely beaten by our leaders and as the rich and wealthy have acquired more riches and wealth, I’ve found it really really difficult to understand the hatred the Tories would appear to manifest for the disadvantaged constituencies mentioned above.
As a driver to do further ill, I can understand the psychological fear that treating millions of people harshly might engender in those who impose such policies. But hatred of the poor doesn’t seem at all the kind of motivation which – in itself – sustains, by itself, such a continuous and permanently unpleasant race against equality.
In so many cases, too, it’s almost as if the government’s yardstick for policy selection has been as follows: “Choose something – anything – which a) hasn’t yet been done and b) no one else wants!” It doesn’t matter that there is no evidence to support the utility of a policy in particular; it doesn’t even matter that so many professionals, freely offering their advice, suggest that disaster will accompany its implementation. No. The important thing, the key thing, the guiding light for this current government, seems to be as I suggest: “Do it – whatever it is – as long as no one else wants it done.”
Hating the poor, the sick and the disabled? No. I don’t think this is enough to explain these behaviours. For this government also hates doctors, lawyers, teachers and a whole host of other educated and fairly wealthy souls.
You know what? I think this has so very much more to do with Blair and his legacy than any of us could quite have imagined. Much more, in fact, to do with Blair himself; much less to do with New Labour as an entity. This is personal. This is painful. This is upper middle-aged white men who spent most of their political lives in the wilderness of Blair’s shadow. They hate the poor, the sick and the disabled – but they also hate the lawyers, doctors and teachers.
Don’t you see it? They actually hate the intelligentsia! That’s who they really despise. Those, who with their intelligence and evidence, defend a permanent reworking of Darwinian capitalism.
I do really wonder if what’s at the bottom of this Coalition project, what’s really driving it mightily along at an entirely visceral and gut-wrenching level, is a vigorous and unceasing hatred of a powerful figure like Blair’s clearly was; even, perhaps, a vigorous and unceasing desire to excise him altogether from recent political relevance.
In a phrase, a pretty terrifying desire to undo his achievements entirely; to destroy all national recognition; to airbrush his presence and personal weight.
Essentially, to take him out – to take him out of the British body politic forever.
A Soviet-style rewriting of recent history? Perhaps this is, indeed, what’s now driving this terrible terrible flock of silly politicians. It’s not us they hate exactly you see. It’s the “us” that Blair made us who they simply can’t abide. The “us” that strove, however imperfectly, to create a new Jerusalem in a kingdom of the united.
A man who attempted the impossible and failed quite miserably abroad.
And yet not altogether – not quite when back at home.
The sick, poor and disabled who now fight for their rights; the doctors, lawyers, teachers and other members of the intelligentsia who will not lie down meekly and capitulate … they are his legacy far more than anything else we thought he intended.
And all this so reminds me of other Eastern bloc countries which operated in other awful times. When history ends up in the hands of the obsessed and bitter, the unprofessional and the demagogue, it becomes a sour weapon which can destroy us all.
Which brings me to my final thought: if these dreadful Coalition politicians are so full of a Blair-driven spite as I imagine, isn’t there something we should see and salvage from all that Blair managed to leave us? And aren’t the battles the disadvantaged are now waging against the intellectual impoverishment of the Tory Party exactly that sign of lasting achievement which – quite justly – Tony Blair will be able to take to his political grave?
Even as we, his unwilling sons and daughters, end up object of the worst kind of collateral damage this country has ever seen.