9th May 2012
Heller Raising plumbs new heights
2003, sorry … 1956, Britain’s prime minister took this country into an unlawful and unprofitable war in the Middle East, and misled its parliament and people about its origins and purpose.”
And so the die is cunningly cast.
At Richard Heller’s website directly under his name, there is this gem: ‘Raising world literature to new heights’
I have a soft spot for modesty. Evidently just another thing I do not share with Mr Heller.
Like so many of today’s opiners he is one assumption short of a private, personal opinion. He claims to speak for all of us when he says – ‘Leave us alone, Tony Blair’
This article, aka opinion piece, was published at his website by Mr Heller on 7th May. It also appeared at Politics.co.uk He alludes to & may well bear some fond childhood memories of the 1956 days of Look Back in Anger while reminiscing his principled (then 8 year-old’s) protests against then PM Anthony Eden’s Suez plans.
But far more serious for his long-term health, Mr Heller seems to suffer from BDS – Blair Derangement Syndrome. This condition is exemplified by an inability to see any good in a Prime Minister elected three times and who served his country – our country – as PM for 10 years; longer by far than any previous Labour prime minister. His constituents returned him as their member of parliament for 24 years. Perhaps one can safely presume from that evidence that they were reasonably satisfied.
But for Mr Heller today’s Anthony – ACL Blair – is beyond the Eden pale. I am truly spoilt for choice when considering where to start with the hell raiser’s denunciation of Tony Blair.
From the start, with the usual ‘devastating’ comparison to Sir Anthony Eden/Suez – Tony Blair/Iraq is also found lacking. Eden is somewhat forgiven by the simple fact that he had the good grace to retire to the land and the cows.
So with a raising world literature flourish and selective reading of history Mr Heller attempts to link the two Anthonys.
In fact Eden resigned from politics in 1957 after having served less than two years as PM. He retired to the countryside because his health was threatening his life. His retirement was by doctor’s orders rather than “in disgrace”.
Heller compares and contrasts what the modern-day Anthony is up to. Bristling with indignation at the effrontery of it all he culminates his Blair excoriation by also insulting the noble profession of farming: cow dung shifting is Blair’s true, due inheritance.
It is clearly utterly reprehensible that after 10 years as prime minister and two dozen as an MP Tony Blair is going where no other former British prime minister has gone. Into business, religious understanding, encouraging sport in the northeast, advising African governments on leadership while keeping a weather eye on variable concerns over climate change issues. And all while still (ohGod’elpus) representing the international Quartet in the thankless search for peace between Israelis & Palestinians.
It is all too much for one mere mortal to do. And Heller is raising hell about that mere mortal having the conceit and audacity to try.
I mean it’s obvious, isn’t it? This Blair man is only working himself to a standstill for three reasons. One, to purge his conscience over his er… “mistake”, Iraq. Two, to set up a grand array of mitigating circumstances in case one day he is brought before some court or other. Three, to make sure he has enough money in the bank to fly to the moon if that is the only place he can eventually seek retirement asylum.
So we have his business, charities, tax, advisory arrangements all lambasted as nothing other than self-serving. Even his Faith Foundation, which has brought and is still bringing together millions around the word, is for filing away under ulterior motives.
Heller’s other damning comparisons of Blair to Eden are wrong-headed and at times frankly misleading. He says that “for 20 years after Suez … He did not hawk himself round the world for money. Although a vastly more experienced diplomat than Tony Blair he was never offered any international appointment. He did not set up any foundations in his name. He did not have a spin doctor or a retinue of any kind. Above all, he abandoned any hope of a political comeback.”
As mentioned before Eden was ill after a gallstone operation which went seriously wrong. He was unable to continue in office or to fight to try to stay there. In contrast Tony Blair is in rude good health. As evidenced last night he is pulling them in in the USA – oh yes and in other parts of the world, Mr Heller, not just the appreciative US. Much of Mr Blair’s so-called hawking is not for money, but pro-bono, as with his representation of the Quartet on Israeli/Palestinian issues. As for charities set up in his name, why not, Mr Heller, when his name is a brand in itself? As for spin doctors, they were not invented in the 1950s. Nor too were the internet, instant news dissipation and even citizen journalism. And above all else – back to where we were, Eden was incapacitated thus never likely to even be physically able or willing to make a political comeback. Tony Blair on the other hand (was) retired at the height of his political nous, acumen & influence. Why stop there?
I am not arguing that Heller is wrong in comparing standards in political life today and 60 years ago. In fact I think he is right in this. But in my opinion, none of that drop in standards is Tony Blair’s doing. Adding up 2 & 2 – his dislike of Blair & his disapproval of the Iraq war and getting 5 – is ‘raising’ standards to a new er… what’s the word? … low.
Heller is not the only one seriously perturbed by talk of a possible return to domestic politics of the former prime minister. Tony Blair is clearly the human equivalent of Marmite. When one has made up one’s mind that not only did Tony Blair support the US in Iraq for the wrong (personal) reasons, but he “lied” to do so and will likely never be held… er… “accountable” for that, it is but a small step for any highfalutin’ writer to dive to the depths of illogicality & even hatred.
Such a pity. Hatred destroys the hater, not the hated.
Meanwhile, rest assured that when Richard Heller examines his writings he always gives it an A-Star. I commend to him the joys of not passing judgement.
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