Free Life Commentary,
Issue Number 147
6th May 2006
Tony Blair: Let There be no Easy Way Out for Him
by Sean Gabb
I think it was Caligula who used to shout exultantly over his victims: "Ite feri ut se sentiat emori"—"strike him so that he knows he is dying". Looking at his scared, sweaty face in the newspapers this morning, I begin to suspect that some higher force is exulting in similar fashion over Tony Blair. I despise the Conservative Party. I despise it for what it has become. I also despise it for its inability to win elections on more than points: a real opposition to this Prime Minister would have won a crushing victory in the local government elections yesterday, as opposed merely to making significant gains. Even so, the Conservatives did humble him by the scale of their gains. And he has been forced to dismiss one of his most loyal Ministers and to strip another of all effective power.
I have consistently loathed Mr Blair ever since I first set eyes on him back in 1994. I knew then he represented everything low and corrupt in modern England. My loathing at times during the Iraq War reached levels I had never expected to feel. I prayed for his resignation after that war. I longed for his disgrace and even some formal punishment. But I am now content to see him still in office, still squirming and grimacing as blow after blow brings him closer to the inevitable end of his political career.
During the next few days, I have no doubt the cry will go up from Downing Street that he cannot go yet, as he has yet to add the finishing touches to what is called his political legacy. If that were the only reason for him to stay in office, I might cry out for the killing blow at once. But just look at the nature of this legacy.
He came into office talking manically about health, education and the public services. His changes in education policy have done nothing to check the growing illiteracy and philistinism of the young. His health policies have increased spending on the National Health Service without any improvement in quality as reasonably measured. Indeed, I have never in all my travels seen hospitals so dirty and so chaotic as I recently have in England. As for the public services, these have become naked job creation schemes directly and indirectly for those inclined to vote Labour. That is so for the immense number of unskilled ancillary and office workers taken on. It is so also for those in the middle classes with the right opinions or the right connections.
It might be argued that we have prospered as a nation since 1997. But we were doing that before. It was the reforms of Margaret Thatcher and John Major that enabled our economic recovery from the embarrassment of the 1970s. All the Blair Government has done is to refrain from entirely reversing those policies in a world of governments even more spendthrift and meddling than it has been. This being said, it has loaded us with new taxes and stolen our pension funds. And much of the prosperity since around 2000 has been enabled by a mass immigration that has increased total output while depressing working class incomes.
If it be for anything, Mr Blair will be remembered for two signal achievements. The first has been to complete the transformation of this country into a panopticon police state. With measures such as—though not restricted to—The Regulatory of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, The Civil Contingencies Act 2005, and The Terrorism Act 2005, plus his recent forcing through of identity card legislation, he has subjected us to levels of state intrusion never before known in this country, or perhaps in any other liberal democracy. He has employed thousands more Police to oppress us. He has placed cameras everywhere to spy on us.
His procedural changes have abolished the double jeopardy rule and allowed detention without charge and punishment without conviction, and greatly increased the inquisitorial powers of the State. Where substantive freedoms are concerned, he has enacted the modern equivalent of the sedition laws that were used to such notorious effect during the French Wars. He has thereby curbed our rights to speak and publish as we please. Leaving aside the suppression of debate on race and immigration and of defending those uses of political violence the authorities choose currently not to like, it seems to be a crime now to recite the names of our war dead beside the Cenotaph and to wear shirts with messages insulting to the Prime Minister. He has taken away our right to keep and bear arms for defence. He has subjected us to the petty but still vexatious control of officials of whom we must ask permission before we can play music in our gardens, or extend a ring main in our homes. He has created in the past nine years a thousand new criminal offences. He has made true for us our old sneer at the Germans—that whatever is not compulsory is illegal.
His one arguably liberal measure in this time has been to end the legal persecution of homosexuals. That is to be welcomed. But it has been balanced by the granting of legal privileges no less objectionable than the old persecution. In modern England, homosexual orgies are legal: heterosexual orgies are not. Worse still, anyone who calls homosexuals the Spawn of Satan—or even in the mildest way suggests they may not make the best adoptive parents—can expect a call from the Police. This is not liberalism, rightly considered. It is politically correct vote-buying. It falls into the same category as his law against making fun of Islam and his canonisation of Stephen Lawrence.
Above all, turning to his second achievement, he involved us in a war that contributed nothing to our national interest, that was based from beginning to end on lies, that has increased the price of oil, that has turned our servicemen from defenders of Queen and Country into American sepoys, and that has led directly to the death of perhaps 100,000 Iraqi civilians. It is Mr Blair who gave us a part in the blame for turning Ali Ismael Abbas from an ordinary Iraqi child first into a seared and terrified victim of "collateral damage" and now into a bloated cripple.
Let the man suffer, I say. Deny him the quick and dignified exit from office that his colleagues have been urging on him these past two years. Deny him too the mercy of an assassin's bullet. Let him continue festering away before our eyes. Perhaps he will continue, so long as he remains in office, to legislate evil into our national life. But I doubt if any of his more likely replacements would do less in that respect than he is now able to deliver. No, let him suffer in public. Let his continued political failure take from him every last hiding place for his vanity. Let his spirit fail him in the glare of public hatred and ridicule. Let his health give way. Let his home life be poisoned. Let him die reviled and alone. Let there be truth in those religions that promise eternal torments for his like. Let his name be accursed.
So let his career end in pain and humiliation—but not just yet.
© 2006 – 2017, seangabb.
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