My 2004 article on Tony Blair

by Michael Skywood Clifford

This article was published in the Socialist News in December 2004. Arthur Scargill, the editor, published the second half of it*. Scargill said it was so incisive he had considered using it as the newspaper leader. Eventually by 2016 everyone was saying the same thing about Mr. Blair.


RESIGNED TO KEEPING HIS JOB

In 1966 John Dennis Profumo resigned from the Macmillan government because he had an affair with prostitute Christine Keeler; she in turn was having a an affair with Stephen Ward, an individual with KGB connections.

Cecil Parkinson resigned over impregnating his secretary in the pre ‘Back to Basics’ days of Margaret Thatcher. The scandal here was that a seemingly respectable married MP turned out to be a bounder who had sired a child out of wedlock with his mistress. In those days one’s actions needed to be squeaky clean to hold on to a job in public life.

Politics, as far back as I can remember, has regularly been littered with seedy scandals and scams. Many other snouts-in-the-trough and Don Juans come to mind: Jonathan Aitken, Neil Hamilton, and In the 90s, the dentally challenged David Mellor who had his toes sucked by his mistress, while his wife (not at the same time) stood by him.

In 2002, Stephen Byers resigned because his secretary of spin had emailed that September the 15th was a good day to bury bad news. Jo Moore, his spin doctor, had already resigned.

In 2003, Peter Mandelson had to resign for the second time from the Blair Administration for being accused of speeding up the passport applications of the Hidjudana brothers. The first time was because he borrowed an interest-free loan from a fellow MP Jeffrey Robinson to get a mortgage on a house in London.

And more recently there was the departure of the diffident and refreshingly honest Estelle Morris and the didn’t-want-to-go but-had-to Beverley Hughes.

This is not a comprehensive list of recent scams and scandals, but a portrayal of the events that lead MPs to resign. Some misdemeanours are more serious than others, but an honourable thief knows when it’s a fair cop, m’lud, and – in public life – a team-playing MP knows that when he has become a liability he should be prepared to fall on his sword to save his colleagues and party. All of these MPs suffered punishment and shame in the public eye, making their final bow out of duty and loyalty to their party. They had either been inefficient, had mislead the public, had been caught out as hypocrites, had misused their positions or had just been downright corrupt.

*(This is the where the article started in Socialist News)

So how could an MP who was responsible for the greatest British disaster since Suez still keep his job?

Tony Blair’s administration produced a dossier that declared that Iraq was a threat to Britain and British interests. It stated that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which it could deploy them in 45 minutes. The dossier claimed at the UN in Autumn 2003 that nuclear fissile material from Naziere in Africa was being sought by Iraq, yet the Foreign Office and MI5 had decided this information was unreliable earlier in Spring that same year. The same dossier was declared to the government by its compilers, MI5, to be weak information as it was delivered to Downing Street in Autumn 2003. Downing Street nevertheless sexed it up and turned flimsy guesses about WMD and 45 minutes into hard immutable facts which they released to the 24 hours news media and newspapers, to the UN and eventually to the House of Commons.

The history of the first dossier is a well known. It became the study of the Hutton Report and the Butler Report, both reports considered to be, by the British people, the press and opposition parties, a whitewash.

Much tax payer’s money was spent on investigations into the first dossier. The second dossier, however, received little attention, apart from the humiliation it received when it was first released.

The government were thankful for that. The second dossier was produced as extra information to sway the UN to vote a resolution for war. It contained no extra incisive or compelling information. The second dossier comprised of information stolen from a student’s Phd thesis on Iraq, and was laughably cribbed off the internet. The UN was impressed by neither dossier and voted against the resolution for war.

Consequently the US, UK and allies went to war with no UN resolutions. They went to war illegally.

This is the first time since D Day that we have invaded another country – and that was a war of defence. We were not under attack. We attacked without provocation and invaded another country. Very British, eh? Well…no, not really.

So why hasn’t the man who was responsible for all these cock-ups resigned? Without the legal legitimacy of UN resolutions, he persuaded the British electorate and MPs to attack Iraq on false information. He mislead the MPs in the House of Commons and British Public with a document that was not worth the paper it was written on.

Some of the media took on the Government, and yes, then there were resignations: the director of the BBC and the editor of the Daily Mirror. However the Prime Minister remains where he is, as does all his cohorts. Neither has anyone from the MOD resigned, those who sent our troops into combat with inferior equipment, a debacle that was well publicized.

Trust me, said Tony Blair, I know there is no evidence yet, I know Hans Blitz and his team have found nothing yet, but I know best. Trust me, I am a young Churchill. And after all I used to have tea with Mrs.Thatcher.

So not long after all this, we get Rumsfeldt’s ‘Shock and Awe’ blitz which, a pay-back by the US for the mass TV coverage of the destruction of the Twin Towers. We get atrocities at Abu Ghraib jail. Continually we get the use of cluster bombs, which are considered to be illegal by international war treaties, thereby making the US and UK war criminals.

If the Montanamo Bay POW compound is indicative of the sort of democracy that the US and UK claim they are fighting for, then we should all start worrying about what exactly they mean when the say ‘democracy’.

It was stated by the CIA before the war that there was no connection between terrorist group Al-queda and Iraq. However, there undoubtedly is now. According to our British Prime Minister speaking recently, Iraq is now the ‘Chalice of Terrorism’. Iraq’s population was turned from a potentially friendly one, into a profoundly hostile one. Now who caused that?

“We were wrong about WMD,” said Tony Blair at the last Labour conference.

It seems that here we have a man who will not resign to save his own party.

If a man can’t resign after 100,000 deaths – deaths that were unwarranted, could have been avoided and have succeeded in nothing other than to stoke up a hornet’s nest of anti Western feeling – then whatever will a man resign over?

The final insult was the comment about the Black Watch. “They’ll be back before Christmas,” which the Prime Minister knew full well was a quote from the Great War. It was more than a cynical comment that implied that our troops are mere cannon fodder. The government threw the quote into the public domain, and I’m sure immediately after its release they must have regretted it and wanted to retrieved it. Yet, despite it being released, no one in the media picked up the sardonic arrogance tainted with black humour that it revealed. As I write, it has already been established that many of these soldiers will never be coming back.

The harm this man has done to Britain is colossal. The impact of his decisions and actions will rebound negatively around the world for decades.

 

 

 

 

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