Friday, December 29, 2006

Why I Realized That Tony Blair Was a Scumbag

I realized that Tony Blair was a dishonest scumbag before he starting sucking Dubya's dick.

Which is strange, because until Dubya came along I didn't take much of an interest in UK or US politics. I'd gathered that Blair had shifted the Labour Party rightwards, calling it "New Labour" (next name change will be to "New Socialism" and finally to "National Socialism") so that it was really Conservative-Lite. But that didn't worry much because up until then I'd figured that both the major UK political parties were equally fucked up (in different ways, but fucked up nonetheless), with the exception of the Tories under Thatcher (who was Genghis Khan in drag). But, for reasons I cannot recall, one particular incident of Blair's grabbed my attention: the Millennium Dome.

For my US readers (OK, I'm kidding myself, I don't have any readers) I'll have to go into the background. The Tories introduced the National Lottery (a.k.a. "idiot tax"). The idea was to con idiots into gambling and thereby achieve three objectives:

  • Give the downtrodden poor the illusion that they had a chance to escape poverty.

  • Enrich Camelot (the company with the franchise to run the lottery).

  • Push 50% of the profits into "public works." That is, fund total shite that nobody wanted and that it would be embarrassing to fund directly from tax revenue so that corporate buddies could get rich.

One of those "public works" was the Millennium Dome. An attraction built in London to rival great exhibitions of the past such as the Crystal Palace. Everybody thought it was a bad idea. Nobody wanted it. Even by lottery-funding standards, it was high on the list of unwanted shite (and when you consider some of the white elephants the lottery funded, that is hard to achieve).

Public opinion polls said the idea should be scrapped. Most members of parliament (the equivalent of the US house of representatives) thought the idea should be scrapped. Blair pressed on regardless and the MPs actually went along with it.

Later it was revealed just what a cunt Blair was. Prime Ministers have long used the party whips to blackmail MPs of their own party into submission: the threats range from dropping the MP as an official party candidate at the next election to actual blackmail involving nasty secrets. Margaret Thatcher introduced an innovation in prime-ministerial blackmail known as "collective responsibility."

"Collective responsibility" was the code phrase for a means of blackmailing all of her cabinet into concealing any dissent. The overt meaning was that if the majority of the cabinet reached a decision then all of the cabinet, even the dissenters, had to say they thought it was a wunnerful idea so they all shared the blame if anything went wrong (they were collectively responsible). What it really meant was that if any cabinet member dissented then it would be trumpeted to the press, who would make a meal of it and talk of "party disunity", which would lead to a loss of confidence by voters, which would mean the party lost the next election. It was blackmail pure and simple: "You must all say that you agreed with the decision or I'll take the party down with me. You may or may not retain your seats in the next election but even if you do you'll be in the minority party without any power."

Blair refined the trick. When his cabinet discussed the Millennium Dome not a single one of them wanted it apart from Blair himself. Expanding upon the lesson he learned from Thatcher's example, he basically said that unless they all changed their minds he'd tell the press that his entire cabinet disagreed with him, voter confidence would plummet, and they'd all lose their seats in the next election.

So Blair's cabinet said publicly that they all agreed with what was really a minority (of 1 decision. The cabinet pressured the whips. The whips pressured the MPs. And so the UK government decided not to force the lottery to drop the Millennium Dome.

That's enough to define Blair as a scumbag, all by itself. But the question is why did he stick his neck out like that? The answer is that because an old school chum of his had the contract to construct the Millenium Dome. Blair was a dishonest, lying, thieving scumbag long before he started sucking Dubya's dick.

Of course, the Millennium Dome turned out to be the flop everyone said it would be. A gigantic waste of money.


Blogger gandhi said...

Hi, liked your post at Existentialist Cowboy and followed it here.

Your comments on Thatcher above are a little ambiguous... To my mind, Blair's behaviour, and Bush's, and even John Howard's can all be traced back to her famous "The lady's not for turning" catchcry.

So now we have these fools who are not only too stubborn to admit a mistake, they are also too scared to do so, because they believe it will be seen as a sign of weakness.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Brian de Ford said...

You're right that "the lady is not for turning" is a defining phrase for the bitch. But I do not believe she (or Blair, or Bush, or Howard, or Reagan, or Nixon) were too scared to admit a mistake.

In my opinion all of those people refused to admit mistakes because they were absolutely convinced they were right. As SF author Randall Garrett wrote in one of his stories (using the pseudonym Darrel T Langert for that story): the hardest thing to learn is something you already know&emdash;incorrectly.

But Thatcher was also an evil bitch. Her policy consisted of selling off publicly-owned utilities to people who would raise prices so that her rich cronies could get richer by buying shares in the newly-privatized utilities and her cabinet ministers could later leave office to get cushy do-nothing jobs in those same utilities as rewards.

It is also my firm belief that the bitch instructed the Foreign Office to deliberately lead the Argentinians to believe the UK didn't care about the Falklands so they'd invade and give Thatcher a chance to be a "war leader." The "entice your enemy into taking the first punch so people agree that your retaliation is just" is an old one. Schoolteachers know all about it and always say "it doesn't matter who started it, you both get punished." Apparently world politics is not as smart as a schoolteacher.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous whaleshaman said...

gandhi said: Hi, liked your post at Existentialist Cowboy and followed it here.



Tuesday, January 02, 2007 7:21:00 PM  
Anonymous whaleshaman said...

how odd. i offer a compliment and you leave a nasty comment about cats on my blog.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 9:08:00 PM  
Blogger gandhi said...

Thatcher was also an evil bitch.

That's less ambiguous, and much more in line with my thinking!

Even the privatisation drive you speak of, the move to push everyone into a mortgage, was a wet dream for Big Money and has been ardently pursued by Thatcher's modern disciples. So now we have Housing Bubbles set to burst in the UK, USA and Australia. Thanks, Maggie!

And yep, the Falklands War was a life-saver for Thatcher, whose polls were in the dumps until the invasion saved her ass just prior to an election. Again, another lesson for her disciples: now wonder Bush was so eager to be a "War PResident".

The rightwing have built up people like Thatcher and Reagan to become untouchable icons. Some people even consider Nixon beyond reproach, for $%&* sake. Like they say, if you don't learn from the mistakes of the past, you are bound to repeat them.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 9:35:00 PM  
Anonymous whaleshaman said...

all is forgiven.

your explanation is perfect and humbly accepted. i thank you for that.

you are still on the blog roll and your comments appear in toto. not a believer in government censorship, i should expect myself to treat guests to my little fiefdom with the same conviction. [though your cat/bush comparison on several levels came mighty close to testing my limits!]

i look forward to your future columns.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous whaleshaman said...


a peace offering supportive of our disgust for blair.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger Brian de Ford said...

gandhi said:

[of me calling Thatcher an evil bitch]
"That's less ambiguous, and much more in line with my thinking!"

I thought referring to her as Genghis Khan in drag made my feeling for her fairly clear, but I'm happy to state it explicitly.

"Even the privatisation drive you speak of, the move to push everyone into a mortgage, was a wet dream for Big Money and has been ardently pursued by Thatcher's modern disciples."

She copied it from Reagan's policies, which were largely determined (directly or indirectly) by the guy who won the Nobel Prize for War Crimes, Henry Kissinger (he's been behind the scenes in the Bush 41 and 43 presidencies).

"So now we have Housing Bubbles set to burst in the UK, USA and Australia. Thanks, Maggie!"

Maggie, like Cheney, was merely a tool, and they are both relatively lowly tools at that.

"The rightwing have built up people like Thatcher and Reagan to become untouchable icons. Some people even consider Nixon beyond reproach, for $%&* sake."

Ummm, Kissinger, Rumsfeld and Cheney spring to mind here. Although they only say those things rather than actually believe them since they were pulling the strings or saw the strings being pulled. The people who actually believe it also believe Lincoln was a bad president, Bush is the best president ever, have to be reminded to take their underpants down when they have a crap and each year remember to buy a greetings card for their father saying "Happy Birthday Uncle Dad."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007 2:02:00 AM  
Blogger Brian de Ford said...

Sorry about the misunderstanding, whaleshaman, it was my fault entirely.

Other readers may find things confusing unless they go and look at me put my foot very firmly in my mouth over on waleshaman's blog.

I offered Mr Shaman the option to delete my comments (which he could do anyway, but my making the offer I made it clear that I wouldn't call "foul") if he still found them offensive after my explanation and apology. But he refused, in part because he does not believe in censoring speech he finds offensive (as Chomsky says, if you don't support the right of people to say things you find offensive then you don't support freedom of speech at all).

I did not want to delete my comments myself because I feel that any time I screw up it should be kept on the record rather than being covered up. The embarrassment it causes me gives me an incentive to do better the next time, and the record gives people a chance to evaluate how often I am wrong and how I deal with situations where I turn out to be wrong.

I think Mr Shaman and I have established to our mutual satisfaction that neither of us behaves like a certain usurper of the White House who is always wrong, tries to cover up his errors, and is slowly killing all first amendment rights to freedom of speech (particularly that which criticises him).

Thanks for the link, Whale (do you mind if I call you by your first name?)—Bell's anti-Bush/Blair cartoons never pull punches and, beneath the humour, always contain a profound truth. Blair has seen how Bush deals with former family business partners like Saddam and must now be shitting bricks.

Which reminds me, I ought to post an open letter of warning to the Saudi Regime. They think they're well in with the Bush Family Evil Empire but so did Saddam and Osama at one time (both tools of Bush 41). I wonder if they ever stopped to ask why 14 of the 9/11 terrorists were identified as Saudis (rather than Afghans or Iraqis or Iranians) when it became clear to everyone that those identifications were pure invention anyway. My guess is that when it suits him, Cheney will suddenly "remember" that most of the terrorists were supposedly Saudi.

Saddam was useful until it suited the BFEE to set him up (I suspect to permit them to put US forces on Saudi soil to protect the Saudi royal family). The Saudi royal family is similarly useful only up to the point where the BFEE finds it more profitable to sacrifice them.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007 2:19:00 AM  
Anonymous whaleshaman said...

one wee correction, mr de ford.

i'm a ms. not a mr.

though now i'm about to turn 60, whiskers may soon be sprouting on my chin!

have a, morning.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007 3:33:00 AM  
Blogger Brian de Ford said...

whaleshaman said:

"one wee correction, mr de ford."

Arrrgh! I ought to have more sense than respond to your post because the first rule of holes tells me that when I'm in a hole over my head I should stop f***ing digging. But it's gone wine in the morning and I've had a lot of one to drink <hic>...

"i'm a ms. not a mr."

You must be starting to think I'm deliberately trying to upset you. But if you look at other posts of mine you'll see that although I sometimes (very rarely) make subtle attacks, if my objective is to upset somebody then I leave no doubt about it. So I'm wearing sackcloth and ashes right now.

Two reasons for my error:

First, the link on your username goes straight to your blog rather than your profile. I don't generally look at profiles unless I have reason to think that information in the profile might throw some light on an author's post (writing should stand or fall on its own merits, not on the sex, race or even species of the author). None of the pics on the front page of your blog give any real indication of sex, even assuming that the person in the pics is you (might be a friend of yours with one of your cats or even somebody else with his or her cat).

Second, I always assumed that the second syllable of "shaman" derived from man. Every time I encountered a reference to a shaman in books or films the shaman was a man. Now I've checked in the dictionary I see that is not the case and that the word comes to us via Greek & Russian from Tungusian (whatever that is, at a wild guess something spoken in Tunguska).

I'm hoping I haven't screwed up too badly this time. Let me know if I have.

Friday, January 05, 2007 2:34:00 AM  

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