This isn’t a hubristic boast based on some achievement. It’s just that I added my signature to the million-odd others under the petition to strip Tony Blair of knighthood.
Actually, if there were a petition to have him publicly eviscerated, I’d sign it too. I’d even volunteer to perform the procedure myself if I could hone a kitchen knife sharp enough.
I don’t know if Blair was the worst prime minister we’ve ever had. He’d be right up there among other contestants for that accolade, but he wouldn’t be the only one. Yet he is by far the most revolting creature to occupy that office, and there no other contestants need apply.
Looking at his life, one could be forgiven for thinking he has dedicated it to damaging Britain as much as he could. That commitment shines through his career before, during and after his tenure as PM.
His youth was spent serving Britain’s enemies by agitating for the CND, a transparent Soviet front. There he mastered the art of using radical politics as a steppingstone to the heights of career climbing.
Blair was a Trotskyist in those days. That means he shared Leon Trotsky’s plans for the world, which revolved around the axial idea of densely covering the whole globe with concentration camps, execution sites and hard-labour colonies.
“I came to socialism through Marxism,” he’d write later, getting his readers into the maze of finely nuanced terminology. At the centre of the maze is the fallacy that, while all Marxists are socialists, not all socialists are Marxists. In other words, Marxists don’t mind murdering millions to enslave the world, while socialists would rather achieve that end without democide.
When elected to the Commons in 1983, Blair delivered a speech, explaining that “socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral”. That, I suppose, explains why every country that has tried it in earnest ended up impoverished and tyrannised.
On the plus side, our Tony didn’t believe a single word he was saying. He didn’t care two flying hoots about rationality, morality, socialism or anything else other than Tony.
In the early eighties, his career was best served by socialist cant. Later, when he had to appeal not just to Labour members, but to the country at large, he affected respect for free enterprise. If his own interests had called for raising his arm in a Nazi salute, he would have done that too.
Blair was, and still remains, the quintessential modern hero: an important nonentity. Politics to him was nothing but politicking, an activity that requires much animal cunning but no real aptitude for statesmanship. He succeeded because people have been trained to accept make-believe as real, appearances as substance, slogans as thought.
Virtual reality barged in, cruelly relegating the actual kind to the lower leagues. Hence the rising of virtual stars, short on real qualities and attainment, but long on the ability to create a self-aggrandising image. As one such, Blair is a typological equivalent of Kim Kardashian, not of Margaret Thatcher.
He came to power in 1997, having invented a chimera called New Labour (Labour pretending to be something else) and a very real technique others called spin. Tony (never a formal Anthony – a man of the people, he, a lad next door) could spin anything with the legerdemain of a crooked croupier able to stop the roulette ball on any number he wishes.
During his 10 prime-ministerial years, Blair finally acquired a broad canvas on which he could paint a pornographic picture of himself fiddling with spin while Britain burned. The damage he caused is incalculable, and the criminal war in Iraq is only the most visible outrage.
Willingly playing poodle to George W Bush, “Yo Blair” volunteered to apply his spinning talents internationally. One thing he spun was the fake ‘45-minute dossier’, stating on falsified evidence that it would take Saddam that length of time to hit British targets in Cyprus with WMDs.
No such weapons were discovered after the US and Britain lost hundreds of soldiers deposing Saddam, killing over a million Iraqis and causing one of the most catastrophic demographic shifts since 1945. As a minimum, we’d expect an abject apology from Blair – if not to all of us, then at least to the families of the 185 Britons killed in Iraq and 456 in Afghanistan.
Instead we got more spinning bluster. Yes, acknowledged Blair, we went into that war on false pretences. But never mind, “the world is better off without Saddam Hussein”.
Is it indeed? Tell it to the millions who fled their homes – and to the Europeans who then had to accommodate those refugees, legitimate or otherwise, in their countries. Tell it to the Syrians suffering untold miseries as a direct result of that action. Tell it to all of us who had to pay – and are still paying – for that foray, foolhardy at best, criminal at worst.
It’s not just the war either. PM Blair left no turn unstoned, starting with the economy. In the fine tradition of all Labour governments, New or Old, he increased public spending from 39.9 per cent of GDP to 48.1. Taxes went up as did borrowing, which came precious close to beggaring the country towards the end of Blair’s tenure.
In parallel, he encouraged his chancellor Brown to dump Britain’s gold reserves when the price of that commodity was at a 20-year low, leaving the country even more at the mercy of currency speculators. That was less damaging than his predecessor’s ruinous attempt to get the pound into the ERM, but only Brown managed to keep Blair from going Major one better, or rather a million times worse.
Tony, partly nostalgic for his Trotskyist globalism, but mostly eager to secure a pan-European stage for him to act on, desperately tried to replace the pound with the euro. That would have tied Britain to that wicked European contrivance with barely breakable tethers, causing a disaster both economic and political.
Blair could also do constitutional vandalism with the worst of them. He attacked the hereditary House of Lords with youthful gusto, successfully reducing it to a militantly politicised body and a trading floor of patronage and handouts. (He also politicised and thereby debauched our civil service, which used to be the envy of the world partly because of its apolitical nature.)
He then tried to abolish the position of Lord Chancellor, in existence since the Conqueror. Yet even Blair had to realise that it was impossible to snip every synapse of that constitutional ganglion.
He did much better trying to loosen the ties making the Kingdom united, divesting too much power to devolved administrations and capitulating to the IRA in Northern Ireland. That last disgrace, known as the Good Friday Agreement, delivered Westminster seats to the mass murderers Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness (who, to their credit, refused to take Blair up on his generosity).
Some 20 years ago, our top spun out of Westminster and started building his own evil empire, exchanging his Westminster connections for hard cash. There was no despot criminal enough for Blair not to love him, provided the cheque didn’t bounce.
I mentioned yesterday that Blair made millions helping Kazakhstan’s dictator Nazarbayev spin his bailiwick into some sort of legitimacy. After Nazarbayev’s troops fired at a peaceful demonstration in 2011, killing 17 officially and more in reality, Tony trained his paying friend how to talk to Western audiences.
Tell them this, he advised: “These events, tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress that Kazakhstan has made”. I’m surprised Nazarbayev needed that advice – that’s what all Stalinists say. “Yes, he might have killed millions, but look at [a long list of bogus achievements].”
Blair also helped Nazarbayev secure a beneficial deal with the EU, where some residual gratitude for his devotion still exists. In that spirit, Blair came precious close to treason by training Macron how to torpedo Brexit, thereby siding with a foreign government against the British people.
On and on our top continued to spin, buzzing all over the wicked regimes of Asia and Africa. Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Mongolia, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and many others eagerly poured millions into Blair’s coffers, making him easily the wealthiest retired politician in history. Not a single friend of Britain in that lot, and quite a few sworn enemies.
All in all, I had to join that supplication to Her Majesty, begging her to correct the unfortunate oversight of bestowing the Order of Garter on that spinning top. Let Blair enjoy his millions – unless of course that public evisceration is on the cards. But do let’s agree that there’s nothing knightly about this amoral nonentity.