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February 26, 2007

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Bob B

Quite so.

What of the election in June 1983 when Tony Blair was first elected to Parliament? Had Labour won, Michael Foot would have become prime minister. Leading commitments in Labour's manifesto for the election were to negotiate Britain's withdrawal from the European Common Market, extend state ownership over the commanding heights of the economy and unilaterally give up Britain's nuclear weapons.

"Tony Blair's youthful enthusiasm for radical socialism and his admiration for socialist theorist Karl Marx are revealed in letter written in 1982.

"In the 22-page letter, the 29-year-old Mr Blair tells then Labour leader Michael Foot how reading Marx had 'irreversibly altered' his outlook.

"He also praises Tony Benn, agreeing with the left-winger's analysis that Labour's right-wing was bankrupt."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/5081798.stm

"The first sound of bats flapping in [Blair's] belfry was heard even before the election, in December 1996, when he told Des O'Connor that as a 14-year-old he had run away to Newcastle airport and boarded a plane for the Bahamas: 'I snuck onto the plane, and we were literally about to take off when the stewardess came up to me...' Quite how he managed this without a boarding card or passport was not explained. It certainly came as a surprise to his father ('The Bahamas? Who said that? Tony? Never'), and an even greater surprise to staff at the airport, who pointed out that there has never been a flight from Newcastle to the Bahamas.

"A couple of years later, he told an interviewer that his 'teenage hero' was the footballer Jackie Milburn, whom he would watch from the seats behind the goal at St James's Park. In fact, Milburn played his last game for Newcastle United when Blair was just four years old, and there were no seats behind the goal at the time."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,230340,00.html

Alex

And your point is, other than the astonishing revelation that had the Labour party won the 1983 general election, its leader would have become prime minister?

Matthew Sinclair

Chris, I would guess Kamm's anti-democratic accusation towards Militant is based on two things:

1) Sympathy for other, highly undemocratic, communist states around the world.

2) That entryism is somehow undemocratic. That's the issue I'm unsure on. I have a vague inclination that the secrecy of the entryist strategy is undemocratic but I'm not sure.

If you were to defend entryism then this post might be more convincing.

Chris Williams

"Sympathy for other, highly undemocratic, communist states around the world"

Um, you're thinking of Stalinism. The Millies were (and indeed are) into Trotskyism, one of the founding tenets of which was support for a _political revolution_ in the communist states, which were, I think 'bureaucratic collectivist' according to them. Though they might have been 'degenerate workers' states'. Whatever.

The people who signed Al Yamamah, and those who continue to operate it, can lecture nobody on sympathy for undemocratic states.

Peter Briffa

Did you ever beat up any policemen, Chris? Or trash a MacDonalds? Or even get Dave Nellist's autograph?

Steve

Hang on, I thought you couldn't be a 'member' of Militant because it didn't exist - it was just a few people who happened to read, and support the views of, the same left-wing paper. At least, that's what Derek Hatton used to say.

Does this mean that Degsy wasn't being entirely honest? Well, I never....

Bob B

Alex: "And your point is, other than the astonishing revelation . . "

I thought the point was fairly evident - except, possibly, to the incorrigibly obtuse, of course.

The primary issue is Blair's suitabilty for the position of PM.

Blair had already graduated with a law degree from Oxford when he sent a patently ridiculous 22-page letter to Michael Foot extolling Marx.

As PM, Blair has engaged in serial somersaults on the three central commitments on which he was first elected to Parliament in 1983 - withdrawal from the European Community, state ownership of the commanding heights of the economy and unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Some here may recall his continuing expressed enthusiasms for Britain to join the Euro - until GB pulled that particular rug with the Treasury review of joining the Euro produced in June 2003.

In retrospect, Blair's embroidered fantasies relating to football and Jackie Milburn appear to have been an early symptom of a personal incapacity to distinguish between reality and illusion, hence we have this from the G8 Summit meeting in Evian in June 2003:

"Speaking at the G8 summit in Evian, Mr Blair said he stood '100%' by the evidence shown to the public about Iraq's alleged weapons programmes.

"'Frankly, the idea that we doctored intelligence reports in order to invent some notion about a 45-minute capability for delivering weapons of mass destruction is completely and totally false,' he said."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2955036.stm

Yet from submissions put to the Hutton inquiry, it turned out that Dr Brian Jones, head of the branch of the Defence Intelligence Service tasked with monitoring all incoming intelligence on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), had explicitly disowned the government's infamous dossier on Iraq's WMD (published on 24 September 2002) which made the claim - four times - about their use within 45 minutes of an order being given to Iraqi forces:
http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Politics/documents/2002/09/24/dossier.pdf
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3077830.stm
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1011171.ece

After the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, no WMD have been found.

"Intelligence officials have confirmed the US has stopped searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They say the chief US investigator, Charles Duelfer, is not planning to return to the country."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4169107.stm

The Butler inquiry, as I recall, reported that the intelligence under-pinning the 45-minutes claim came from a new and "unproven" source - which likely accounts for some of Dr Jones's reservations.

With that background, what weight can informed readers attribute to Mr Blair's assurances about virtually anything?

The background also puts into a more illuminating perspective Mr Kamm's expressed concerns about admitting previous adherents of the Militant Tendency - or the like - into membership of the Labour Party.

Rob

It's got to be the entryism. Any organisation which aims to take over another, larger and more or less democratically constituted organisation by infilitrating it and taking control of it has to be undemocratic at least to that extent, for at least two reasons: because it's secretive, and because it's deliberately trying to corrupt the way in which the majority of the members of an organisation want it run.

Bob B

"It's got to be the entryism. . . "

Are you sure? That reads much like a description of how the early Christians extended their influence to establish the universal Christian Church as an increasingly pervasive institution with an international reach. What of recusant priests during the English Reformation or, for that matter, the beginnings of the early trade union movement as with allegedly secret societies like the Tolpuddle Martyrs? What of the infamous Sheffield Outrages of 1866?
http://www.tuc.org.uk/the_tuc/tuc-2878-f6.cfm

It was often said and with some truth, I believe, that Thatcherism in the 1980s broke with the prevailing national consensus in asserting that markets can usually be relied on to allocate resources more efficiently than bureaucracies and bureaucrats.

Sir Keith Joseph on taking up the post of industry minister in 1979 in the first Thatcher government circulated a reading list to the senior civil servants in his department which prominently featured Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations (1776) and Harold Macmillan, as I recall, likened the subsequent privatization of the state-owned industries to "selling the family silver". Even now there are those in the Labour Party who still regard the present ascendancy of "Blairism" in the Party as attributable to a species of entryism.

Glyn

No Bob B, Blair never claimed to have watched Jackie Milburn play for Newcastle:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2007/01/myths_and_fables_1.html

that's probably something put around by Militant bloggers.

PS He never lied about Iraq either.

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