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September 30, 2016

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Dave Hansell

The Iraq war was not the only problematic issue with Tony Blair's premiership, the Government's he presided over and the leadership of the Labour Party.

Iraq was merely one of a number of self defined "Liberal Interventionist wars which Blair and those who were around him at the time and who continue to dominate and control the party and the narrative were gung ho about. See for merely one example here:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/09/forget-blairite-propaganda-sierra-leone-not-blairs-good-war/

Not forgetting of course the associated issues of involvement in torture and kidnapping [lets not use the weasel managerialist term 'rendition' which strips away the reality of the act], and abusing his office to prevent embarrassment to a foreign power, Saudi Arabia, caught in illegal bribery with a British company.

Moving on, the reason you, I and everyone else in the UK have had and are having to put up with such poor broadband speeds is again down to Blair, the Government he ran and the "New" Labour ideology he and those around him who continue to champion that ideology. The £20-30 billion investment announced at the 1996 Party Conference for a National fibre optic broadband network of the future was pissed away by that first Government. Initially through the one off utilities tax implemented by Brown's first budget and subsequently by the 3G auction which diverted investment monies from a vital infrastructure for the UK economy elsewhere so that "New" Labour could be seen to be fitting into the Thatcherite economic paradigm required by the City and the finance charlatan's. Basking in the praise recieved from Thatcher and her acolytes as being Thatchers heirs.

By 2003 BT's workforce were being briefed that the much trumpeted network of the future was already in place, it was the old 20th century copper network which was going to get a bit more squeezed out of it using ADSL technology. By 2006, in the name of the great god of competition the pseudo competition of separating out the operating section of BT into Openreach run on bureaucratic lines to ensure so called equal access to other telco's only exacerbated the problems of a lack of investment in this area.

We could then move on to other policy issues which have and which continue to cause problems for our ailing infrastructure and services. Such picking up the Tory policy of PFI and using it in overdrive; or the introduction of student fees; and don't get me started on the debacle of regeneration funding which saw the managerialist control freakery of the Blair ideology, which was used to parachute clones into constituencies and deselect anyone in the party not part of the program, extended into local communities in an exercise designed to devolve control rather than democracy down to the lowest level.

Throw in the total failure to tackle the long growing housing crisis which persists to this day, along with the laxity of regulation towards the City [in order to placate them and their friends in the corporate controlled media] which allowed the 2008 financial crisis to unfold in which years of future austerity was used to bail them out and it is hardly surprising that anyone with a shred of decency and a practical brain in their head has anything good to say about those who have behaved like war time spivs and mardy arsed five year olds.

Even some of the policies that continue to be lauded have only served to divert public money to line the pockets of BTL landlords and subsidies employers paying sub-poverty wage rates.

It's certainly an interesting definition of the word success that those like Tom Watson are working to.

From Arse To Elbow

While "Thatcherite" isn't pejorative in the Tory Party, "Heathite" usually is, largely because Ted was seen to have failed to adequately preserve domestic privilege (the prime directive) and to have undermined the UK's exceptionalism through courting and joining the EEC.

It will be interesting to see which way "Cameroon" develops. My suspicion is that it will be airbrushed from history as a failed experiment, much as "Edenite" was (fun fact: Ted Heath was Eden's Chief Whip during the Suez crisis).

Ralph Musgrave

Chris is right: loyalty to your tribal leader can be paramount, even when you know your tribal leader is talking BS. Conversely, it’s almost compulsory to vomit at the mention of the name of an opposing tribal leader, even when you know he or she is talking sense.

A nice example of the latter phenomenon has been taking place on the “Social Democracy” blog run by someone with the pen name “Lord Keynes”. Lord Keynes is fiendishly well read and intellectual, but he’s recently taken to advocating ideas promoted for years by the British National Party. But it’s almost compulsory to vomit at the mention of the BNP, so Lord Keynes vomits on cue. See: http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.co.uk/

Another example of same sort of thing is the campaign that Bill Mitchell (Australain economics prof) has waged against NAIRU (short of Non Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment). That’s roughly speaking the idea that there’s a relationship between inflation and unemployment.

Bill has persuaded many of his followers to vomit at the mention of NAIRU. But if you put the basic idea behind NAIRU in words, no one objects. So as an economics blogger, I don’t mention NAIRU: but I do employ the IDEA behind the acronym. That keeps the would be “vomiters” happy.

William Hazlitt summed up this sort of thing nicely. According to Hazlitt: “Defoe said that there were a hundred thousand country fellows in his time ready to fight to the death against popery, without knowing whether popery was a man or a horse.”

Patrick Kirk

After assumiog power, Deng Xiaoping said of Mao that he was '70% right 30% wrong' and proceeded to rip apart the Maoist legacy while preserving the Maoist hero cult.

Sound familiar? Perhaps what works for Chinese Communists works just the same for British Tories.

Guano

Tony Blair was openly hostile to the base of his own party; he said in public that he was very different from Attlee and Wilson and criticised party members for being conservative.

Thathcher never did that. Cameron may suffer the fate of Blair because of his attempts to "modernise" the Conservatives (and we now know what unreconstructed Conservatives look like).

Jonathan Monroe

The other thing is that Maggie in retirement put a lot of effort into building up Thatcher the Legend as an ideological extremist well to the right of Thatcher the PM.

Right-wing Tories who would otherwise be tempted to bash Thatcher the PM for her pro-Europeanness, her moderation on social issues (apart from Section 28, Major was far more socially conservative than Maggie), and her destruction of British manufacturing don't, because they would be seen as bashing Thatcher the Legend, and bashing Thatcher the Legend for policy backsliding doesn't make sense.

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