Tony Blair and the Political Chimera

Just after I posted that last short essay on “The Art of Politics”, former UK Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Tony Blair again popped up in the news, returning once more like the proverbial “bad penny” to chastise his party for… ahem… being a Labour Party. And since I recently rebuked Blairite “Third Way” politics and “New Labour” as being an ugly chimera, this looks to be a good opportunity to point out what is also radically wrong with “neo-socialism” too, at our “end of history”.

As far as I’m concerned, Tony Blair was a Trojan Horse drawn into the British Labour Party to destroy it from within. (And this may also be true of Canada’s Tom Mulcair, now riding high in the national polls).

Tony has chastised his colleagues in the party for daring to resurrect “traditional” left values that New Labour had jettisoned under his stewardship. His “Third Way” politics of the “radical centre” are the way to go, or so opines Mr. Blair. Blair has even appropriated the vacuous sloganeering of the right to criticise his party and his colleagues, accusing them of nurturing little more than “tax and spend” policies.

Er…. but that’s what governments do generally… they tax and they spend. It’s true of all governments, whether liberal, conservative, or social democratic. It’s quite meaningless to accuse of government of “taxing and spending”. It’s only a question of whether the taxing and spending is fair and equitable and reasonable, and whether it contributes value to the commonwealth or is a drain and strain on the commonwealth. Mr. Blair, however, has become very wealthy following his “Third Way”. He’s collected his 30 pieces of silver.  He’s joined the 1% since leaving office, so I can well see how he can start mouthing dumb right-wing rhetoric about “tax and spend”.

It’s Mr. Blair who is a symptom of the decadence of English socialism and the Labour Party, not the Labour Party who has betrayed and disappointed Tony Blair. Mr. Blair insists that the Labour Party should move to the “radical centre”. That’s pretty devious. Basically, the “radical centre” is another meaningless slogan. Unfortunately, the “radical centre” isn’t the same thing as “the vital centre”, and here’s why:

Since at least Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, it has been the strategy of “perception management” of the right to shift the centre of gravity in politics rightward, along with the public perception of what is “centrism” or “centrist”. Sometimes it’s been referred to as “shifting the goal post”. The “radical centre” is meaningless sloganeering because it is the ground that has already been taken by, or surrendered to, the right. Therefore Mr. Blair’s insistence that his party move to the “radical centre” really means surrendering the field to the most reactionary and recidivist policies of the political right. And that means, essentially, that Mr. Blair is demanding that the Labour Party cease to be a Labour Party at all — that it deny and negate itself.

That’s why I think Mr. Blair has served as a Trojan Horse, if not a muppet, for the neo-liberal and neo-conservative right (ie, his strange, close friendship with Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News).

The “radical centre” and the “vital centre” do not coincide because of this persistent and incremental shifting. For that reason a very unbalanced and unjust situation has emerged, which it was the objective of the Occupy Movement to draw into the light of day — that is, the growing inequality that is fatal to democracy and which was also the topic of Mike Lofgren’s article on “The Revolt of the Rich” in The American Conservative Magazine. Mr. Blair has, in essence, joined the Plutocracy. What’s amazing is, that he has managed to seduce and enlist so many vulnerable minds on the ostensible “left” to lend him credibility in that!

So, perhaps you will appreciate my antipathy to Mr. Blair’s “Third Way” politics, and why I consider most contemporary politics, whether of the left, right or so-called “centre” to be decadent and degenerate, and a self-devouring and self-negating contradiction — an illiberal liberalism, a “new” conservatism that conserves nothing (that even makes war against conservationists), and an anti-social socialism.

In short, a general civilisational cynicism, decadence, and nihilism.

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3 responses to “Tony Blair and the Political Chimera”

  1. LittleBigMan says :

    A brilliant essay.

    “As far as I’m concerned, Tony Blair was a Trojan Horse drawn into the British Labour Party to destroy it from within. (And this may also be true of Canada’s Tom Mulcair, now riding high in the national polls).”

    This tactic is global in nature and if one follows the maker of these various Trojan Horses that emerge in various shapes or forms throughout the world and throughout the history, they almost always lead back to Money Changers.

    The article in The Telegraph gives nice details of Tony Blair’s connections to Money Changers, and so does his profile on the Wikipedia; apparently, he joined JP Morgan Chase in 2008, shortly after he left office. Ha! Why am I not surprised? But yes, Tony Blair is only a Trojan Horse even if he himself does not realize it, since he is blinded by all the money he is making in the process. When he does or says anything controversial, he is being seen as “a Brit” who is doing whatever it is. So, even though he is acting on behalf of Money Changers, it’s Britain – with all its culture and depth – that unfairly gets the bad wrap. People around the world will say “Look what British people [and Blair as a representative] are doing to us.” Rarely, people are insightful enough to see him as a Trojan Horse who is doing the bidding for business interests who would like to remain in the shadows in perpetuity.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    For the socialists to surrender their ground, and move more towards the liberal position of egoistic individualism, has terrible consequences and is a “crucial” mistake. Because if conservatism moves into the territory and function abandoned by socialism (the formation of a successful “we”) the result is fascism. The socialists have to remember their core values and stick to them, just as all the other orientations must stick to their own core values and orientations and not try to imperialise and colonise the others.

    The result of socialism’s lapse is growing inequality (unbalancing of the cross of reality). But if every human being were to actually live from the “vital centre” rather than the periphery of the cross of reality, the necessity for a “State” would be greatly diminished. But government and the state become more powerful the less we live from the vital centre, because it must take on the role of synchronising and coordinating all the various fronts of society whenever it’s citizens become irresponsible.

    This is why I say Blair’s “radical centre” isn’t the “vital centre”. It’s an unbalanced situation. He’s shifted the locus of the “centre” until it the circle has become an eccentric, a centrifugal force. This is disastrous for society.

    • LittleBigMan says :

      Yes, I’ve seen this change in allegiances among my own at-one-time ardent socialist colleagues, too, when such an abandonment of their former socialist position meant great monetary profits for them. I don’t know when these people realize there’s vastly more to life than chasing and hoarding $$$.

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