One of The Knife’s favourite themes, beginning with the very first post on this blog, is that Tony Blair knows that he has cocked up dreadfully, not only in terms of flagrantly wasted opportunities, destroying the economy via the obsessions of Gordon Brown, committing us to EU madness, and wrecking the social fabric of Britain in all sorts of ways (not least unfettered immigration), but also in acts that could fairly be described as evil, whether by intent, default or a mix of the two. The big one there is obviously lying to the electorate to force the country into a pointless, unwinnable and almost wholly negative war. That really is pretty bad, and it doesn’t look better over time.
Like many other bloggers and writers though, I possibly come across as a little obsessive. After all, it’s now SIX years this month (the 27th) since Tone stepped down as Prime Minister.
The trouble is, he won’t shut up. None of them will really, Campbell with his lousy neutered memoirs, Mandelson telling us where Mili-E is going wrong (not a tricky question), but it’s more annoying when it’s Blair himself. Perhaps supporting my view that Tone knows he’s cocked up, is this accurate claim :
There is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology which is a strain within Islam…We have to put it on the table and be honest about it. Of course there are Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu ones. But I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies’
Nicely put, Tony, though we could have told you that. The fact that the Washington Post disagrees with you suggests that you’re actually right, for once. However, lots of commenters have pointed out that, being honest, Tone is really part of the problem. He goes on:
At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the world view goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So by and large we don’t admit it. This has two effects. First, those with that view think we are weak and that gives them strength. Second, those within Islam – and the good news is there are many – who actually know this problem exists and want to do something about it, lose heart. All over the Middle East and beyond there is a struggle being played out.
I emphasised “we don’t admit it” as that’s the problem, WE do admit it. Tony and his successors didn’t, until now. Interestingly, in the same article, allegedly written by Blair himself, he goes on to state that Saddam Hussein was “responsible for two major wars”, by which I take it he means Gulf 1 (invading Kuwait) and the Iran-Iraq bloodbath. Which raises the obvious question, is he blaming himself for starting Gulf 2?
Anyway, perhaps we should welcome the penitent sinner, if that’s what he is, but there’s another, related, problem.
One year in, the Labour government in 1998 passed the Human Rights Act. This enshrined the theoretically admirable European Convention on Human Rights in British law. Two years later, Tone’s wife Cherie teamed up with some legal buddies to found Matrix Chambers, by a remarkable coincidence just before the new law came into being. Matrix specialise in ECHR cases, and as they put it themselves:
Matrix is proud to be recognised as the “go-to set” for “cases which really push the boundaries of the law.” Our strengths lie in our commitment to providing “a progressive, forward-thinking service which caters to the needs of the modern-day client”…..With a strong history of innovation and commitment to our Core Values, Matrix continues to work in a modern environment where diversity and accessibility are widely championed, and out-dated practice is challenged.
All of which has helped make Cherie a millionaire, before Tony got there, and to become one of the “go-to set” of hypocritical bossy lawyers who decide what we should do, say and think.
“Displaying these publications in workplaces, and/or requiring staff to handle them in the course of their jobs, may amount to sex discrimination and sexual harassment contrary to the Equality Act 2010. Similarly, exposing customers to these publications in the process of displaying them is capable of giving rise to breaches of the Equality Act.”
To be fair, it’s not just Matrix who are agitating here, Abu Qatada’s wealthy lawyers are also co-signatories of this blatant attempt to drum up business over a non-crime. Even the New Statesman thought it was barmy. As Toby Young accurately remarked:
…this campaign has nothing to do with defending the rights of those less fortunate than themselves. If it was, they’d be campaigning to stop the widespread abuse of women in the Middle East or against female genital mutilation in this country. No, this is simply about preventing men – predominantly working-class men – from buying magazines that they consider vulgar and in poor taste
I realise that this is a slightly disjointed post, but it’s really to point out that as Blair publicly agonises and begins to acknowledge, rather obliquely, the damage that he’s done, his real tangible legacy here in the UK is seen most typically in the ignoble pursuit by lawyers of taxpayers’ money, using issues of no importance.
The Iraq War, and bullying newsagents. Good work everyone.