Brown’s Speech: Stand up, stand up for Jesus … and me!

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29th September,

PARTY NIL – THE PRESS WON

Yes, the meeja was the clear victor in Labour’s ‘conference’ at Bournemouth. You wouldn’t know it, because THEY haven’t really noticed. They are so far up their own business that the collective printed media haven’t quite realised that they have at a stroke got Labour to change its foreign policy in at least one and probably more important areas.

Whether it’s just to upstage the Unutterable One (Blair) in case he gets too big for his statesman’s boots and actually DOES something useful in the Middle Easy – (causing the rest of us to wonder if perhaps he was doing something useful here too) – I haven’t yet worked out. It could be that, or the election, or something else entirely. Goodness … they might even MEAN it.

But Labour’s weak-kneed apology for their (Blair’s) mistakes over foreign policy are to my mind, a disgrace. Suddenly, now the boss has retired, they can say what they REALLY thought of him all along. Him and his ideas! Dreadful! UnSPEAKable!

And this policy apology is clearly for the benefit of the press, the voters and the party conference goers. I’m yet to be convinced it is thought through. Is it really for the benefit of the country?

DEFENCE SECRETARY HOISTS THE WHITE FLAG

The Defence Secretary Des Browne, seems to be repositioning Labour to the left of the trade unions. It’s clear the white flag went up at his speech at conference, when he said that we will need to speak to the Taleban, because they ‘are not going away’. The white flag went up to the media – victors all!

I don’t throw up my hands in horror (well, not both hands anyway) at the thought of negotiating with terrorists. We’ve had that experience here in Northern Ireland, and it took Blair 10 years to sort it out where refuseniks had failed for decades.

But SAYING that we need to negotiate with the Taleban because they are ‘not going away’ is WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

It is opening the door to other terrorists to keep on killing us – as Bin Laden promised in his recent video. They have seen the colour of our blood, and without Blair, it’s not red any more.

So, unless agreed with all parties involved, it is not an announcement for the UK to make, unless it is trying to upset an apple cart along the way.

Having said that, the Afghan leader President Hamid Karzai says that he is prepared to go and talk to Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and other rebel leaders, and to even invite them into his government. Yes – invite them into government!

So you might say that Browne is on the ball.

Or off his head.

And what do the Americans say about this? Who knows? Who cares? Brown, Miliband and Browne – tough guys all? Or ‘see no evil, etc …’

The Conservatives could be jumping all over them next week for such blatant backtracking. But somehow, I don’t think they will. They know which side their newspaper is greased on.

27th September, 2007

LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE OVER

“Who’d have thought it?” said a cabinet member to Nick Robinson at the end of the “most boring conference in years”. Well, Labour presumably, or they wouldn’t have crowned their man so determinedly.

And the reason that Brown has done so well? Probably many and complex, including Blair’s demise, and general contentment with Blair’s policies. Confused? Well, there we are then. But it must have something to do with the Tories’ perceived weakness at present.

Mr Cameron has the job of his life next week.

And as for ‘airbrushing Blair out of Labour’s history’ – just let them try.

TONY’S FRIEND TONY STICKS IT IN TOO

In the last few weeks of Blair’s premiership I used to quite admire Tony McNulty. He seemed to have some empathy with the position of the then PM. But now he’s turned out to be as unprincipled as the rest of the cronies. The criticism of Blair & Reid’s “civil liberties” clampdown – [where? - when? - nobody's clamped me down] – is typical of the pre-electioneering going on amongst the erstwhile.

ANOTHER ‘BLAME BLAIRER’ ON THE MAKE

On another note – Melanie Phillips – who often talks good British sense – stamps heavily on at least one of those taken in and just maybe, cashing in, on the ‘blame Blair’ hysteria over Lebanon last summer. Robert Harris, writer of ‘The Ghost’, another erstwhile, who fell out with Blair over Iraq and Mandelson – (though interestingly Mandelson didn’t fall out with Blair) – has ‘ghosted’ Blair right through his new book. The fictional ex-PM was up to all sorts of tricks, it seems.

No?

Blair, (what do you mean it WASN’T a nod to Blair?), if this is a sideways swipe look, becomes more and more interesting as time passes.

The political point Harris makes about Lebanon is what upsets Melanie Phillips, as it should. But it just might be that those who buy Harris’s book are wondering, hoping that there might be a tale of marital infidelity to transfer to real life.

Melanie Phillips says:

‘Groan. Here we go again. Leave aside the issue of Iraq — Harris appears to have swallowed wholesale the Big Lie of last year’s Lebanon war. Let’s recap, briefly.

What prompted Israel’s military action in Lebanon was not comparable to terrorism in Northern Ireland.

Next, there was no ‘massive loss of civilian life’ — quite the contrary. [...] But the British media nevertheless viciously misrepresented the whole thing, inducing a national hysteria and madness — which was what drove Tony Blair from office earlier than he had intended. It was one of the most disgraceful episodes in contemporary British history. Patently false Hezbollah propaganda claims were uncritically regurgitated by the British media as fact, which I commented upon here.

And Harris is depending on Blair’s indifference, and seeing “the joke”!

‘And I think that if he read it he would both see the joke, in a way, and I think he would be quite indifferent to it. It’s that quality of indifference that makes him such a formidable politician. I don’t think he holds any kind of grudge – I think he can completely absorb things, and that’s one of his most impressive qualities.” A niggle of worry raises its head again. “I may be totally wrong. The day this appears a writ might come through the door. But I would doubt it, knowing him.” ‘

Good joke, eh? Wonder if Mrs Blair is quite so water-off-a-duck’s-back about it?

And Lebanon – when will these grudge-mongers get it? We didn’t matter as far as saying/criticising/moaning in that conflict. Saying is not doing. Thank the powers that be were, that Blair would not be held hostage to the Guardianistos and the like.

Btw, got a good lawyer Mr Harris?

The Daily Mail, which, in its search for balance and freedom, have NEVER printed a comment of mine, including this short one today “Yeah, me”, have their take on the book. Surprise, surprise!

On Harris:

‘Meanwhile, he is alternating between laughter and horror at the attempts of the media cavalcade to turn his thriller into a literal roman a clef. “Peter Mandelson has phoned to say: ‘Would it help if I denounced it?'” he giggles. Not if Cherie gets there first.’

26th September, 2007

MILIBAND DISOWNS IRAQ

“Sorry, Tony. Nothing personal.”

When the boy David, Miliband not Cameron, meets Blair today at the U.N. I don’t expect there will be much said about Miliband’s comments over the “mistakes over Iraq” and the alienation of “millions of muslims”. After all, they agree on both those points.

It is also the case that millions of non-muslims have been alienated over islamist terrorism (‘muslims’) attacking the west before and after Iraq.

But of course Brown has already worked his ‘son of the manse’ stuff on the British clan of non-muslims, especially the marginal seat voters in the south of England. And now Miliband is having a go at bringing back into the fold the distanced muslims in the inner cities. [The Tories will never win them over - but watch those Lib Dems!]

MEANWHILE – WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US?

Of course David & Gordon HAVE TO do this. It’s election time – and Labour needs all of them onside – until after November, anyway. Hopefully then New, New Labour can clamp down with a heavy hand on the mosques up and down the country that are still encouraging fundamentalist radicalism and action against the rest of us ‘unbelievers’.

Sorry to sound cynical, but there we are.

And Mr Blair will understand this Foreign Secretary and PM/GB tactic, from these, his erstwhile closest lieutenants. The scars on his back are toughened now, if not completely healed.

24th September, 2007

BROWN’S NON-JAW-DROPPING SPEECH

Have you noticed that Brown has stopped doing the fish gawp? Only now have I realised this. But then, as I may have mentioned before, I can’t warm to GB/PM, so don’t watch him a lot. I must be one of those British people (Scottish too) whose values, rights and responsibilities preclude me, oddly, from jumping on the Brown bandwagon. [Wonder what Alastair Campbell & Peter Mandelson, seated in the hall, REALLY thought!]

Read The Scotsman’s thoughts on the Brown speech

STANDING UP FOR GOD AND BROWN

Just a thought – ‘GB/PM’ – stands for Great Britain/British/Briton! That’s why he kept mentioning it.

One thing I noticed GB/PM had in common with Menzies Campbell last week was the heavy hint to his audience that it was time they got to their feet for him! Ming Campbell did it last week by waving his arms upwards to the assembled faithful at the end. GB/PM did it by saying he “would always stand up for you“! After he’d told us Jesus stood up for ALL the children.

Don’t think Tony Blair EVER had to encourage a standing ovation. That decision he left to others.

And I’m still standing (after all this time).

The Scotsman’s angle on the Great Scot – Brit’s speech to conference.

2009 for Election

So after Brown’s speech it seems the bookies still say that 2009 is the favourite for the next election. I still think he may go at the beginning of November if Cameron does badly in the polls after his conference next week.

ANALYSIS – NICK’S & MINE [IN A SOUNDBITE OR TWO]

  • The BBC’s Nick Robinson’s quick analysis of the speech was pretty much in tune with mine.
  • Doing ‘God’ was unheard of by any previous prime minister or leader. Even the deeply religious Mr Blair never did it! How risky in this secular country. Did Alastair Campbell squirm?
  • Saying ‘Britain’ and/or ‘British’ 71 times (some say over 80 – I can’t be bothered counting) is interesting. Appealing to the right.
  • ‘Rights and responsiblities’ – noteworthy, I think. Hardly novel.
  • Values. Blair’s BIG word.
  • Standing up for the country and its people (what ELSE would he do?)
  • And a lot of other Blairite stuff.
  • Something about ‘parliament deciding on going to war’ – which presumably is meant to refer to dropping the royal prerogative, (by recent tradition in the hands of the PM.) But, Blair DID NOT USE this prerogative. He ALWAYS went to parliament and won parliamentary consent. Don’t try to mislead the gullible by half-truths and innuendo, Mr GB/PM! God would not approve!
  • So, very little about Iraq or international policies. Just … wait for it … mention of our “responsibilities” a few dozen times. [In parentheses this is meant to infer, 'I am a responsible person, as are all of you great Britons and so I will be obligated to maintain our forces in Iraq. But you understand I would prefer it if the other guy hadn't gone in in the first place, although at the time I went along with him and voted for it as did all the other members of the cabinet, bar one who resigned. And if you wanted rid of Blair and to have me because of Iraq, SORRY to disappoint you- but that's life and international politics in this day of rights and responsibilities. You have the right to complain, but I have the responsibility.'] And if it’s a question of caring about YOUR rights. Well, I don’t care, and you’re not right!
  • And of course there was the rather confused business about a meritocracy for ALL the people! What? A contradiction in terms? I thought a meritocracy meant you got to the top through merit, and not as part of a great plan (social engineering?)
  • And … and …

WHERE WAS BLAIR?

I don’t mean ‘literally’. He was never going to be present as he is attending the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in his role as international Middle East peace envoy for the Quartet. But, after winning three elections for Labour – UNHEARD OF previously, moving Labour to the centre of British politics, and making the Tories now resemble a fringe party, surely courtesy itself should have produced more than a word of thanks in reference to Northern Ireland and the new Envoy post?

Nick Robinson also noticed this, not just we arch-Blairites. Tony Blair, the prime minister responsible for implementing the ‘great progress’ already made in the country and within Labour, had but a quick mention. A sentence or two, after 40 minutes or so into the GB/PM speech, and only with reference to his Middle East quest and his Northern Ireland success.

Maybe he didn’t want to remind us of what we were missing.

I know the British public are supposed to be now asking, “Tony Who”, though I don’t accept that, but c’mon, Labour party! Disgraceful omission! HE put you lot where you are now. No ifs, no buts, no alsos.

‘Courtesy’ might have been a useful word to include in Brown’s lexicon of ‘good’ words today.

And, by the way, Mr GB/PM, how exactly do we deport people who supply guns and drugs when it is clear that EU obligations forbid it? Like the wool you tried to pull over our eyes over Blair’s ‘abuse’ of the Royal Prerogative, you should be thoroughly ashamed of this attempt at deceit or diversion. Don’t forget to ask for forgiveness tonight as you say your prayers.

So, in the end, a lot of populist stuff but nothing inspirational. But did we ever really expect to be inspired after Blair?

The days of inspiration are long gone. Workmanlike is the best that could be said for GB/PM. Though I AM glad he’s stopped resembling a fish gasping for oxygen.

Wonder if Mr Cameron feels a bit like that today?

23rd September, 2007

HAPPINESS – HAPPINESS, THE GREATEST GIFT THAT I POSSESS

Well, isn’t Brown a happy bunny today?

No, really! I have never seen him smile so much and look so relaxed as today at his party conference. Perhaps something to do with not having another guy on your shoulder trying to subtly kill you off (figuratively, of course).

Anyway – my advice to GB/PM – sorry I admit to being in complete denial – the words “Prime Minister” attached to GB/PM haven’t soaked into my skin yet – my advice is to go for an election when and if you get a lead of around 10% – 12% after an opinion poll following the Tories’ conference next week. This is what I suggested before GB got the job, and nothing has changed, as far as I can see.

The Tories need to have poll leads of at least 10% to win even a tiny majority, such are the constituency boundary layout at present. But we should remember that GB/PM only has to keep his eye on a handful of constituencies, notably in the south of England. If Labour is still holding up in Kent and other such regions, well, he has a win in the bag.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LEADER

I really don’t think GB/PM is going to remain as popular as he seems to be at the moment. It’s been a busy and testing summer already, although blame for most the issues have not attached to the government. But, if it is the economy, sweetheart, there may be more bad news in the pipeline.

Although, having said that, how on earth would Cameron and his teenage chancellor cope with that!?

At least the present prime minister and chancellor look like mature adults.

And on the back-burner – the unions! Still dreaming that GB/PM will take them back pre-1997.

No chance!

13th September, 2007

BROWN AT TUC – “MOST BORING SPEECH IN YEARS”

Last year it was heart-breaking to watch Blair being lampooned by the TUC, as RMT members walked out on him, over … er… something or other, Iraq, I expect. And all that after he had just been deposed, more or less, by his own party. All I remember is an ungrateful crowd of wasters attacking the man who brought their party (I expect they were mostly Labour) three historic election victories.

Now, I just can’t bring myself to watch GB/PM. He bores and irritates me. And if I wanted another dose of Shakespearian tragedy, I’d go to Stratford. So I don’t really know what he was like, but it seems it was the most boring speech for years! This might tell you something. OK, so the ‘enemy of my enemy’ thing again!

It comes to something when the TUC is missing Blair. Can’t wait for the Labour Party conference.

“NOT FLASH, JUST GORDON” !?

UnFlash Gordon! And they pay good money for this? Saatchi & Saatchi (yes, they of the Thatcher “Labour’s not Working” fame) won Labour’s advertising contract for the above catchy phrase. If they use it, I think it may end up catching THEM!

I KID YOU NOT

I could have done better. I mean – doesn’t Labour’s election machine get it? They may be attempting a double whammy here, in that we are supposed to dismiss two opponents in one go – Cameron & Blair – but they also fix in our minds that we are stuck with Brown and remind us TOO much perhaps, of Blair!

Apart from that Flash Gordon is a comic strip character more associated with Brown’s childhood than today’s young voters. That’s a reminder of his age – older than the youthful Blair.

And the original Flash Gordon was tasked with fighting the Red Sword invaders. Now, if UnFlash is NOT up to that, WHO the hell is, now that we have our very own Red Sword invaders to fight?

MY SUGGESTIONS

What about “Not Colourful, just Brown” OR “Not Interesting, just Boring” OR “Not New, just Old”.

I don’t know; perhaps I’m missing something. Or perhaps I’m in the wrong business. I’m sure I could have done better than S & S, playing with words on the battles of the Brothers B. Make no mistake, that comparison – BvB – as much as with contrasting Brown with ‘flashy’ Cameron, is what it’s all about.

The first comparison that leapt straight into MY mind, on reading the “Not Flash, Just Gordon” phrase, was that of Brown v Blair and not Brown v Cameron. And perhaps that’s to be expected since in my opinion Blair’s enemies stood next to him; while his opponents sat opposite.

  • So in a ‘flash’ Brown has reminded us that we used to have Blair in Number 10, a winner if ever Labour had one.
  • He has re-opened Labour’s wounds, reminding them of betrayal and making some of them wonder if they have done the right thing with their patricide.
  • And he has sent middle ground voters on whom they depend back to the Lib Dems and the Tories, cos there’s little of any real value or difference attaching to GB/PM.
  • And anyway, argue the floaters, we quite liked ‘flash’ Blair, whatever they try to tell us, after the event!
  • Might as well go for Flash Cameron then.

Go for that election, GB/PM – but better go for it soon, before the electorate starts to get wise.

11th September, 2007

So, Brown has been holding a video conference with Bush after Petraeus’s evidence to Congress. Good.

It’s good to talk, Gordon.

4th September, 2007

BROWN OUT – BUSH IN

Fancy President Bush turning up in Iraq yesterday! The last time he was there was over a year ago, but somehow yesterday was just the right day.

Nothing to do with the British symbolic departure of the 550 from Basra by any chance?

All these agenda’d politicians …

The thought crosses my mind that Mr Bush might not have felt the need to issue the obviously Brown-aimed shot across the bows, if Gordon had just picked up the telephone, and mentioned yesterday’s exit from Basra to George. The president will have been expecting an early withdrawal of sorts, as Blair had said as much months ago. But the difference is that for good or ill, Blair knew whose side he was on. Brown seems to think he is on the side of the British ‘liberatti’ press and those who cry, “OUT NOW”, as though THEY were the decision-makers.

Nothing to do with an upcoming general election?

Now I may be wrong here, and perhaps Brown did ring Bush, but one of the reasons Blair did so well in international relationships is that he communicates. I’m not sure if GB/PM has yet recognised the value of this.

Whatever, much as we all, and I mean ALL, would like to see our troops home before we lose any more, why do I have this nasty taste in my mouth?

PETRAEUS REPORT AWAITED WITH BATED BREATH

Bush is awaiting the report to Congress on 10th & 11th September from General David Petraeus, the head of US forces in Iraq, and the US ambassador, Ryan Crocker. Added to that there are varying opinions as to whether or not the ‘surge’ is actually working.

Bush’s words were meant for British ears, as well as American. To paraphrase, sort of:

To the British:

“Tony had the guts to keep your guys there to see the job through. Where’s your backbone, Mr Brown?”

And, to the Americans:

“We Americans don’t cut and run on our responsibilities, even if others do.”

Some of the president’s actual words:

But I want to tell you this about the decision – about my decision about troop levels. Those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground – not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media.

In other words, when we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure. To do otherwise would embolden our enemies and make it more likely that they would attack us at home.

If we let our enemies back us out of Iraq, we will more likely face them in America. If we don’t want to hear their footsteps back home, we have to keep them on their heels over here. And that’s exactly what you’re doing, and America is safer for it.

Go here to read all of President Bush’s speech. Note how Basra, Britain or the British troops were NOT mentioned.

SO MUCH TO WIN SO MUCH TO LOSE – WARS & ELECTIONS

Given that the withdrawal was already lined up while Tony Blair was PM, it’s hardly unexpected. But, Mr Bush has a ‘war’ still to win, and despite the warnings that “we are in for the long haul”, American and British electorate are not entirely convinced. And of course, Mr Brown has an election to win and a mandate to secure.

Perhaps Mr Bush would like nothing better than that Brown fails to do so, as his pay-back for Tony’s demise.

So, is it “defeat”?

Well, like so many things in politics, it depends. I’ll try and list a few options here, that come to mind, then just see how they balance up.

  • If you think we lost it years ago – right at the start, say, by going in in the first place – then the exit is a defeat.
  • Or victory for those of us who “knew right at the start”.
  • If you think the British government took fright at public concerns over troop deaths, then it’s defeat.
  • Or victory for expediency over political reality.
  • If you think that one soldier’s death (or several hundred) are too many, then it’s defeat.
  • Or victory for pacifism and non-interventionism.
  • If you didn’t believe the reasons for going in in the first place, then it’s defeat.
  • Or victory for your own superior political knowledge and judgement.
  • If you think our troops were ‘causing’ the insurgent murders by their very presence, then it’s defeat.
  • Or victory for those who kill their own to defeat the enemy.
  • If you think the Sunni & Shi’ite’s meeting in Finland today portends some kind of ceasefire, then it’s victory.
  • Or defeat, since we didn’t persuade them to have the meeting.
  • If you reckon Iran might stop supplying weapons and training to the insurgents now that we are going, then it’s victory.
  • Or defeat, since they have beaten us into submission.
  • If you don’t believe there is such a thing as fundamentalist terrorism, then it’s victory.
  • Or defeat by Mr Nobody.
  • If you think the “war on terror” can’t be won anyway, then it’s victory.
  • Or maybe defeat.
  • If you think our troops have taught the Iraqis sufficiently well for them to sort themselves out, then it’s victory.
  • If you think we could have done better if we had stayed longer, then it’s defeat.

I make that 1 clear defeat and 1 clear victory. Apart from that … well, it’s complicated.

It depends. Anyway, GB/PM says that it ‘s not defeat, so he must be right since he’s been helping to run the show in Iraq for the last 4 years. Oh, as well as fund it, in case you’d forgotten.

The withdrawal of British troops from the southern Iraqi city of Basra is not a defeat, Gordon Brown has insisted.

The Ministry of Defence said the handover of Basra province was now due in the autumn.

The prime minister said the withdrawal was “pre-planned and organised” and UK forces would take an “overwatch” role.

Since we originally had 40,000 plus troops in Iraq at the beginning, and now they have been reduced to a fraction of that, you can hardly say we’ve suddenly decided to get out with the arrival of Brown.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION – NORTHERN IRELAND AS THE EXAMPLE

This weekend, in Finland, Northern Ireland’s Martin McGuinness has chaired talks between Iraqi Sunnis & Shi’ites on what the Northern Ireland politicians learned about “conflict resolution” following the settlement of the decades long conflict a few months ago, under the guidance of Tony Blair (remember him?)

It seems the Iraqi groups have been looking at the “Twelve Principles” idea, echoing George Mitchell’s principles. Both Sunnis and Shi’ites are considering a disarmament commission, as in Northern Ireland.

I wonder if anyone mentioned the name of that other guy, largely instrumental in the peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland – a certain Mr Blair, of whom George Mitchell said in 1998:

“Blair understands the extent to which both communities see themselves as victims, and he has a remarkable ability to identify with and calm their fears. From what I saw I will say this: if I had an important interest, public or private, that was subject to negotiation, I’d be happy to have Tony Blair representing me.”

If the Sunnis & Shi’ites left Finland with praise for Mr Blair ringing in their ears, they might be confused somewhat, but nonetheless, wiser.


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19 Responses to “Brown’s Speech: Stand up, stand up for Jesus … and me!”

  1. Tony Jarrett Says:

    Sorry Blairfriend, but you got at least one wrong, not had tie to doa complete dissection.

    “Something about ‘parliament deciding on going to war’ – which presumably is meant to refer to dropping the royal prerogative, (by recent tradition in the hands of the PM.) But, Blair DID NOT USE this prerogative. He ALWAYS went to parliament and won parliamentary consent. Don’t try to mislead the gullible by half-truths and innuendo, Mr GB/PM! God would not approve!”

    While Blair went to Parliament for approval of his decision, he made the decision, and technically had no constitutional reaon to do so, as I noted at the time.

    Since then, and before Brown succeeded him, it was declared that in future Parliament only will have the ight to declare war. How this is to be enacted I do not know. Strikes me as being like the independance of the bank in settign interest rates, but I was a stick in the mud on both. I can be wrong, would you credit it?

    Brown has every right to refer to God in his speeches imho, his integrity in doing so seems to me to be unchallengable. Mandy and Campbell are hardly here nor there, are they?

  2. Tony Jarrett Says:

    Oh and there is no need for a further mandate just now. The Labour Party won one and Labour MPs supported Mr Blair, and now MrBrown as Prime Minister.

    57% of those questioned do not want an election, only 25% or so do.

    This is in line with what I have been saying “there is no need for an election.”

    If there is one, people may be a little annoyed at being troubled unneccessarily.

    In the election Mr Heath called in 1974 he asked “Who Governs?”
    and the answer was “Obviously not you, matey!.”

    Don’t ask silly questions if you want to succeed in politics. The public don’t like fools. (Boris Johnson shoiuld note).

  3. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

    Hi Tony,

    Ref:
    “While Blair went to Parliament for approval of his decision, he made the decision, and technically had no constitutional reaon to do so, as I noted at the time.”

    HE made the decision, yes – but not lying in bed one night and then popping into parliament to talk them all into it! He took it to cabinet first and Brown did not resign over it, or argue against it. In that, Brown was right. My point is that they can’t (and imho won’t) backtrack on the decision now, since they were all in on it. Miliband tonight?

    I really cannot get into the thinking of the people who say the whole thing was a disaster because hundreds of thousands of people have died. My GOD! Hundreds of thousands of people die all the time – in wars, conflicts, hunger, whether WE are there or not.

    AND WE ARE NOT DOING THE KILLING in Iraq. THEY ARE.

    So we – or the Americans – may well have made some mistakes with the post war plans, BUT, I completely agree with Blair and Oliver Kramm on Newsnight tonight – if the game is worth doing we have to expect that it will not be without cost.

    The trouble with those who shout about the deaths is that they are determined to believe that the west is in it for all the wrong reasons and that our leaders are worse than the dictators they are trying to remove.

    And, Tony, as I said earlier in this blog – somewhere – don’t know where or when now! – I think they will come to regret the dropping of the prerogative. Though normally I’d be all for as much democracy (in the Commons – not with the mob/press in between elections!) – this will weaken our independence to act internationally. So we’ll only ever end up going in for the fights where we KNOW we’re going to win. A bit like the French, really. And apart from that, if we have a hung parliament, look out!

    The point raised re God is that no other leader has ever, it seems, ever, EVER brought God into their political speeches. And, my God, I bet Blair had many occasions to call on Him over the last several years in private and public.

    I just don’t like it – but then, you know where I stand on Mr GB.

    Mandy & Campbell – they were at the conference – watching. And so I just wondered what they really thought. That’s all. I’m neither ‘here nor there’ either. Nor you, come to think of it ;0)

    There is no need for an election, true, though the figures you quote above must be recent, because a few months ago most people thought there should have been one after Blair went. I understand the system of dumping the PM. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with it, especially when they have got it so wrong – IMHO!!!

    The unspoken rule is that you’re supposed to be ill, mentally enfeebled, clearly unelectable (or dead) before your best mates do you in for the job.

    So – Blair’s none of the above.

    Anyway, I think Brown should hang on too till next May. But the economy’s likely to get trickier next spring, and HE above all, know this. Also, he DOES so want the pople to vote for HIM in this democracy (where your contention above indicates that leaders don’t matter).

    Brown knows they DO. Enormously. Otherwise why would the other parties keeping changing theirs?

  4. Tony Jarrett Says:

    Gladstone almost certainly made clear the roots of his political decision in his beliefs.

    My contention that we have a Parliamentary democracy is a fact. We do not have a Presidential system, nor a dictatorship.

    It is all to the good that most of the public have noticed this, and I suspect that it was TB’s tendancy to believe that he was always right and the public’s overfamiliarity with him which led to the swell of opposition to his continuing as PM.

    I know he still had unprecedented support, but only Mrs Thatcher was as decisive a figure in post war plitics I believe.

    That became uncomfortable for most of the population, whatever their politics and he seems to have respected that feeling. He knew he was unelectable, in the sense that he would carry his party to oblivion.

    I didn’t suggest leaders are unimportant, but what is done and democratic process are more important than any individual.

    To some extent a leader is a party’s label, like that on the fruit on a stall. It tells you what it is, perhaps how much it will cost. But it is the expectation of the taste of the fruit, largely from past experience of eating it, which brings one to buy.

    If people read the label as saying “not to be bought” they will not buy.

    The poll I quoted was on the BBC news last night, think the basis is the 2,000 respondants level of accuracy, so pretty good.

  5. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

    Very wise words, Tony, as usual!

    Still don’t think the man is solely to blame for his own demise. And I don’t put any individual above the people. But, the people have not spoken as regards Blair and the leadership. They may speak now – they may well vote for Brown, as the continuance of Blair’s New Labour project. But a lot of Blair’s fortune rests on innacurate and simply wrong reporting (opinion) by the press.

    Anyway, we’ll see – maybe November poll after all – with Brown’s ratings still moving upwards? They are now at the level I suggested in an earlier post which would be right for him to go – especially if Cameron does badly in his conference. But look out for the Tories’ promise of an EU referendum. And then we may see the true extent of the ‘judgement of the average Joe voter’ (led by Blair’s erstwhile friends in The Sun, of course!)

    I still fancy a bite more of Blair, personally – the fruit that dare not speak its name! Did you hear about that idiot at the Labour conference who called Blair a warmonger? This ignorance and airbrushing of the peacemaker of Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Northern Ireland should not go unanswered. And there was the fool on Newsnight last night saying “now the unpopular leader has gone”. Considering he still had around 35% popularity at the end – God! Labour would have given its eye teeth for that in the past.

    Oh how expectations have risen. And who is responsible for that?

    No wonder I’m disenfranchised.

  6. Tony Jarrett Says:

    Blair was hardly at all to BLAME for his passing from the role of PM, my friend.

    It was the situation, that is 95% at least of it.

    Unlike Mrs Thatcher he did not have an unpopular AND stupid policy/action. Iraq is not Blair’s Poll Tax.

    The true lead for Brown’s Labour Party is about 15% ie IF there actually was an election tomorrow.

    BUT BRown has said he will only serve 1 full term (hasn’t he?) and going now cuts his time in office to 5 years max, while leavign it for 2 years, giving this parliamnet a 4 year term as it suual, increases that enormously.

    He wants to get things done, as good politicians do, and time is essential.

    “The Project” was Browns at least as much as and probably before it was Blair’s, so do not despair.

    You may rediscover your share of the franchise, you are looking for a choice which will serve yourself and the UK, you can always turn the box off when he is on LOL!

  7. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

    Yes, it was as much Brown’s project as Blair’s, I agree, as far as I understand it. My caveat: as I used to tell the omiscients on WMDs and cash-for-honours- “I was not there, I did not see”.

    But, we DO know that Blair was clear in his project. We watched him for ten years – taking the ‘scars on my back’ inflicted by the TUC and other vested interests. If Brown thinks the same, he is NOT being as transparent as was Blair. The Lefties, wedded to their financial control of Labour, seem to think Brown is a whole new bag of tricks. Well, yes, they might be right in some ways! Certainly Blair called him “a brilliant strategist”.

    But if it was “the situation” that removed Blair – WHAT situation? Iraq? Maybe. But the people voted for Labour with him at the helm despite that. And Brown is unlikely to move out of there quickly unless the US does.

    So what else? The domestic changes – NHS/Education? Maybe. But Brown is doing nothing different as far as we can see.

    Or is it a different tone on foreign policy as Miliband is trying to lay down today? Maybe. But we are wrong if we take a back seat on this. Most of the time we get it right. And I contend we haven’t got it wrong on Iraq. NO-ONE who condemns Blair answers the question – if Iraqis are killing Iraqis, why are WE taking the blame?

    As for the election, Brown will be sorely tempted. The economy, Brown’s baby – (and like me handing over this blog to someone else, I guess he is reluctant to let go) – has probably peaked and may slide badly next year.

    Events, dear boy.

    Meanwhile I DO wish Blair would say something substantial (though I understand if he doesn’t) locked as he is in secret meetings sorting out REALLY important stuff for the world ;0)

    Well – when the day comes that I advocate voting for Brown’s party, I’ll fold this site! Not that I won’t fold it anyway, some time soon. Until someone deals with international and in particular homegrown terrorism I expect to be in the “none of the above” category for the first time, next election.

  8. Tony Jarrett Says:

    Blair was not clear in the project, and neither was Gordon.

    Part fo what actually firmed up the central elements was Rupert Murdoch making clear face to face that he might back them, largely because he regarded Major as gutless.

    Most Trades Unions remain pretty right wing in my view, we always hear about a small number of left wing ones, and most especially their leaders. Unsurprising.

    And also the tiny numbers of strikes and other such actions, while the strikes of capital, as now in the current cash crises in some of the banks, go almost unremarked. “Strikes” in the proviion of capital to modernise reamin a problem. It was the Financial strategy of the “Project” which brought so much into the Uk and funded much of the expansion of the past 10 years.

    I cannot make any more clear that the situation was that TB as leader would make the Labour Party unelectable, too many people had had enough of him, for enormously diverse reasons.

    And if enough people vote against, you lose, as I know personally. Only 51% of the votes in a simple poll is fireproof.

    I doubt the economy is going down the pan as you suggest. These days a cash crisis, even on a massive scale is not the problem it would have been in the ’20s.

    More worrying are the actions of China in the markets, but they do not want to lose their export markets and so are unlikely to be too destructive.

    Most of the richer ME countries are tied to the West and not in a position to make too much trouble eiher imho.

    Most of the noise over the economy is around the housing market, but we have been here before – 1987 is about the worst that will happen.

    The Conservatives won in 1987 AND 1992 (wasn’t it?).

    I am not sure the tone in foreign affairs is so very different, just new people making the noises. Cook made the ground for an “ethical” element to foreign policy, and Blair and co were happy he did so.

    As you point out above Blair has been a Peacemeker par excellance! And I agree with you that Iraq has been the right decision, except, as all the sane know, the mangement of the beginning of the peace there was a total joke, the USA ignoring their own plans to bring peace and properity to that country.

    I wonder if we shall ever be told what, if any, protests HMG made re the stupidity and corp[orate greed of the US administration at that time?

  9. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

    I think we read different books, Tony. But I’ve read a few recently which insist that they were BOTH clear about the project – modernising the party – right from the start. They hadn’t worked out all the steps along the way, but both of them, it seems, thought the binding funding link between Labour and the unions had to be weakened. Perhaps weaker than weakened from TB’s viewpoint and only partly weakened from GB’s. This seems to have led to some carelessness around the funding issues for 2005, and we all know where that led.

    Thanks Tony, for trying so hard with me. I obviously need to be told over and over ;0)

    You said:

    “I cannot make any more clear that the situation was that TB as leader would make the Labour Party unelectable, too many people had had enough of him, for enormously diverse reasons.”

    Let me into your secret, Tony – are you running the party, then!? You KNOW this do you?

    As I have said before on many occasions, the thoughts here are mine, as I see them. Not gospel, just as I see them, so opinion only, and therefore fallible. As presumably are yours.

    None of us really knows what would have happened in the next two years if TB had stayed in place. We DON’T know if he would then have been unelectable. And let’s be honest about this – the very thought of Labour winning FOUR times, when they had never won THREE times in a row before Blair, is mind-boggling. Just shows, again, how expectations have altered.

    Whether the Iraq aftermath was all about US greed – easy to conclude when they handed out so many contracts to their own after the war – I am sure that one day we will hear how hard TB worked to try to get the Americans to wrestle control away from Rumsfeld and back to the state department. Even superman has his limitations though. Think Bush must have had some kryptonite sneaked into his back pocket by the Pentagon, specially for the meetings with Blair!

  10. Tony Jarrett Says:

    I think that the clearest evidence I have, apart from my own honed insticts in the matter, (which only proved fallible in 1970), are the polls.

    Labour was often trailing, now in a substancial lead.

    Tony Blair agreed that he would not stand in the role of PM again at the last election because he understood that it wouldn’t work. I am sorry if, Blairfriend, you do not agree with him.

    Modernsing – yes. But the meeting with Murdoch before 1997 (cannot remember when) was key.

    The most critical part of the “project” is that you will not get much done in opposition.

    GET ELECTED is nos 1 – 10 of the itinerary . . .

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