Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Staring into the Abyss.

Tony Blair has scrapped his planned book signing at Waterstones in Piccadilly, London. The stated reason was "to avoid the inconvenience to the public it would have caused". The inconvenience being the costs entailed by travel, as well as rampant egg and shoe-shopping, to show Mr Blair just what we think of him. After the debacle in Dublin Blair quickly realised that the people, who he described as a "demonic rabble" in his book, who supported him as the "lesser evil" against John Major still hate him for the way he betrayed them. Unlike Narcissus Mr Blair decided not to stare at his own reflection until he wastes away. Instead Blair has retreated to avoid confrontation and save the public from an overstretched police force. In doing so, Blair projects his own image over the situation highlighting his "considerate" decision and not his cowardice at the possibility of the "demonic rabble" spoiling his moment in the spotlight.

The Poodle also called for "understanding" for those who were hoping to attend the event. Even though the only moral reason to attend such an event would be to pelt him with shoes and stale food. The most moral reason to even touch a copy of his emetic propaganda is to abduct it from the biography section and leave it in the crime section for a confused Mafiophile to stumble upon. Blair is leaving signed copies for the people to buy, vandalise and displace however we see fit - gee thanks T. Another "considerate" gesture towards the ungrateful herd and ignorant masses who will trample him out of spite, I suppose. Though much of Blair's behaviour is typical of a narcissistic cynicism. Cynicism is corrosive of political idealism and when combined with Blair's brand of reactionary self-love what you have is a source of rot and not just corrosion.

Instead of just leading to compromise in the Labour Party, as the cynics who preceded him had, Blair has "hollowed out" the Labour Party and deprived the British people of a progressive party that truly represents them. The Blairites are not progressives or socialists they are neoconservatives, the most vile kind of Tory. The self-portrayal of Blair as a "moderate" who is considerate to the "rabble" but strong enough to make the right decisions is a joke and not even Blair believes in this facade. The personally signed copies of his books left for consumers are a lot like the minimum wage and the fox-hunting ban, gestures made to buy the public and continue to get away with it all. But Blair showed his colours in claiming that the BNP might turn up and wreck the day, when it was the anti-war movement that were preparing to rally outside Waterstones. To insinuate that the people who opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are "fascists" is typical of Blair's character.

We the people don't fit into Blair's world, if he could go back he would undo passing the Freedom of Information act and he would have never banned fox-hunting, at best we are to be placated but not pleased by our leaders. Blair is not unique in his contempt for the working-class, he is part of a long history of elite contempt for the poor. The patronising manner in which Blair delivers his speeches - slowly, with some forced stuttering - is further evidence of his contempt for the populace. The Founding Fathers of the USA saw flaws in democracy and were opposed to dictatorship, they instead aimed to create a "moderate government", in the words of Alexander Hamilton, which is neither totally democratic nor totalitarian. The threat of democracy is that it could enable the poor to seize the property and wealth of the upper-class. The problem of democracy goes way back and there have been many proposed solutions to the problem.

Many of the Founding Fathers, most notably Madison, thought that the US should avoid the extremes of democracy, so that the rich could keep hold of a large amount of property and wealth. Whereas, Aristotle thought that the way to resolve the problem of democracy is to create a more equal society. If there is a more equal distribution of property and wealth there is less of a chance that the poor would seize the property and wealth of the elites. It could be that the enactment of the minimum wage, and other gestures of good will, were the initial way to deal with the problem of democracy. But the Blairites were also for a national DNA database, ID cards, ASBOs, the surveillance state and greater powers to the police. Not to mention the economic policies which were devoted to a lightly regulated financial system and a tax system which benefited the wealthiest of citizens. These aspects of Blairism are closer to the view that democracy should be avoided in its most "extreme form".

This is the context behind the gestures that Blair thinks make him a "progressive", as well as his displays of narcissism. It is a disgrace that such a person became the leader of the Labour Party, a disgrace to the Party's radical heritage which created the National Health Service. All of the candidates for the leadership are also an embarrassment to the likes of Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan. There is no radical candidate, only Blairites and cynics like Diane Abbott, and it seems inevitable that Blair will be succeeded by David Miliband. The contest fails to deliver in meeting the minimal standards of our political system, a party led by any of the candidates would not be a credible "lesser evil" to the Con-Dems. It would seem that the consequence of the leadership bout, no matter who wins, will be to strengthen the coalition and further alienate the public. Unless a truly radical or progressive alternative is presented, its positions properly defended and its arguments disseminated, change is unlikely.

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