7 thoughts on “Blair in Baghdad

  • writeon

    Listening to Blair's speech in Baghdad made me aware, once more, of just how stunningly superficial his world view really is. With Blair it's all words, words, words; just words and he has an uncanny ability to suck the content and meaning out of them like a vampire.

    The big problem with Blair is, that he's just plain wrong, wrong Big Time about what we're doing in the Middle East and how one fights terrorism in particular. I wonder if Britain's had a worse PM than Blair for half a century? His incompetence and lack of understanding are always disguised by his falicity with words, not the content or meaning of words, but their sound, the sound of words strung together.

    I personally worry about the longterm effect of the cult of personality on our political culture. Politics and ideology are increasingly replaced by personality. One can see this happening everywhere, not just in Britain.

    What happens if a handsome, charming, articulate, charismatic, personable and bright, fascist leader turns up sometime in the future? Will we even have the institutions to recognize and confront such a threat? Will the electrate even care, as long as he seems like a nice guy, with a nice smile?

  • johnf

    >I personally worry about the longterm effect of the cult of personality on our political culture. Politics and ideology are increasingly replaced by personality. One can see this happening everywhere, not just in Britain.

    I suspect that, after nearly thirty years of Thatcher/Blair, the British people have had a belly full of megalomaniacs with enormous majorities backed by the Murdoch press.

    Somehow I think the chances of a hung parliament after the next election are very high, and will put a premium on pragmatic politicians keener on delivery than rhetoric.

  • Mike

    'Will we even have the institutions to recognize and confront such a threat? Will the electrate even care, as long as he seems like a nice guy, with a nice smile?'

    No.

    Next question?

  • writeon

    Two apparently opposing views! I'm personally also worried about the slide or surge towards totalitarianism in our political life. Do we still live in a "democracy"? Is parliament representative anymore? I realize people on the militant left have never had much time for "liberal democracy", but let's put that aside and assume we've lived in a democracy, warts and all, and now we're moving away from that system towards something else.

    I've thought for a long time that western democracy was a reaction to the growth of socialism and the threat of revolution. Put very briefly, the alternative to workers power and revolution, was the creation of the welfare state. The welfare state was first developed as a political strategy in Germany and its father was Bismark! He, and other enlightened capitalists, realized that unless they did something to improve the living conditions of the working-class social revolution could indeed occure. Bismark's strategy worked and was copied by the ruling elites in many other countries, but not Russia. Paradoxically, it was the threat of the Russian revolution that really pushed the welfare state along.

    Now, with the threat of socialist revolution gone, the welfare state is irrelevant, very expensive and not really needed. So maybe it'll just wither away along with socialism?

    Not only that, perhaps social democracy can be seen as the political answer to the threat of a worker's revolution? Maybe social democracy with go the way of the welfare state?

    Perhaps were returning to the type of society that existed a century ago? Economically and socially we seem to have raced back down the decades.

    Looking at parliament one can see the smallest number of leftist or socialist MP's for decades. I think that, roughly, the lower house has about 600 conservative members of various hues, but the important point is, the massive conservative/liberal majority. Does this huge group really represent the British people in any meaningful way? Perhaps we've left the democratic era behind us and we're moving rapidly towards something else?

    Personally I believe were are entering a new age of material scarcity, mainly because we're rapidly running out of cheap energy. This will will turn our world upside down and bring about the end of the consumer society for most of us. How will the ruling elite react to this new world? As there is no effective oppostion anymore, it should be relatively easy to impose new-style totalitarianism on all of us!

  • Craig

    You may be surprised to hear that I think there was much admirable about Bismarck. I may blog about it some day.

    Meanwhile, I thought Carter's comments were superb.

  • writeon

    I too am a sort of "fan" of Bismarck. He was a complicated individual living in complicated times. I look forward to reading your thoughts about him. Also I've always had a soft spot for the Austro-Hungarian empire as an alternative form of state, as opposed to the idea that every ethnic/national group just has to have its own country and damn the consequences. The destabilization and eventual collapse of Austria-Hungary, it could be argued, led to something far worse taking its place; a tidal wave of blood.

  • writeon

    Oh, I forgot, welcome back Craig! I think Carter's comments about Blair were right on target too. Listening to Blair repeat that he was right and would do it all over again, and that he did what he thought was right for his country, was sickening. The man is so self-centered. Not a word about the price in material and human terms of getting rid of Saddam! The collosal cost on the other side of the scale. He seems totally unaware that as a leader one has to balance the benifits of a course of action against the costs. This is probably because he personally hasn't suffered like the average Iraqi has. Listening to him stand there and "justify" a disaster of such historic proportions, makes one wonder if Blair is normal. He appears to lack a moral compass, and if he's a Christian, how does he reconcile Christ's teachings with the shedding of so much innocent blood in Iraq?

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