Brought to you by The Friday Thing.
TONY'S CHRISTMAS TOUR: PEACE OFF
The Prime Minister's announcement this week that he wants a
proper job after he leaves Number 10 was met with some approval.
'It's about bloody time,' was the sane person's response.
'Whatever I do afterwards, it has to have real purpose to it,'
said Tony of his retirement plans. If he'd only said that all
those years ago when he gave up being a lawyer to become a
politician, we might not be in the mess we are now.
Meanwhile the Blair Premiership continued on its meandering,
meaningless way, like an elderly, senile and incontinent tomcat
looking for somewhere to pass away with a scrap of dignity. The
Middle East was Tony's destination to sprinkle the seasonal magic
fairy dust of peace on earth and goodwill to all.
To be honest though, like Christopher Reeve's final and piss-poor
Superman movie, Blair's 'Quest for Peace' should have been
laughed out of town. (It certainly seems to have been largely
ignored.) Take his passive-aggressive attitude towards Iran, for
instance. Only a month ago he was saying 'a new partnership is
possible' with Iran. He said as much this week but then called
for an 'alliance of moderation' across the region to reign in
Iranian extremism. (Nothing to do with the Bush Administration
refusing to engage with Iran, it goes without saying.)
Just who the 'moderate' Middle Eastern members of this 'alliance'
are going to be isn't quite clear. Is it Turkey, who he visited
last Friday, with its refusal to acknowledge its genocide of the
Armenian population in 1915, its persecution of the Kurds and
where it's a crime to insult 'Turkishness'? How about Egypt,
where Blair was on Sunday and where he likes to holiday, that
likes to lock people up for criticising the government, beat pro-
democracy protesters and where torture by the security services
What about the United Arab Emirates, from where Tony gave his
'alliance of moderation' speech on Wednesday, with its hereditary
system of government, widespread abuse of migrant workers,
flogging as a punishment and censorship of the press? He clearly
didn't mean Palestine whose democratically elected government he
refuses to recognise. Er, Iraq? Some 'alliance of moderation'
this is shaping up to be. If this was Star Wars, Darth Vader
would have parked the Death Star and gone for a fag, safe in the
knowledge that the rebels were doing his job for him.
Meanwhile, in Iran - founder member of Blair's 'Arc of Extremism'
and not a venue on his 'Out With A Bang 2006' farewell tour -
democratically-held elections delivered victories for the
moderate and reformist parties and gave short-arsed gobshite and
Holocaust-denying president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a slap in the
chops. You have to laugh. Blair spends the week shaking the hands
of various blood-soaked princes, torturers and other anti-
democracy monsters in order to try and sort Iran out and all the
while it's working hard to do the job for itself. It's a funny
And Blair's world is shrinking. Yet, with fewer and fewer people
telling him what a great job he's doing and more and more queuing
up to tell him straight just what a blood and shit spattered
hellhole he's made of the place, he sails blithely on. He's
starting to look like Sam Lowry at the end of Terry Gilliam's
movie, Brazil: humming to himself in his self-concocted fantasy
world while horror and degradation still swirl around him.
While Tony was leading his charge across the sands of Arabia and
beyond, no less a figure than Iraq's vice president accused Blair
of having been 'brainwashed' by George Bush. And after all Tony's
done for Iraq as well - what an ungrateful bastard. According to
Tareq al-Hashemi, Blair apparently agreed with him on a timetable
for troop withdrawals only to change his mind after seeing Bush.
Well, Tony did say this week that 'when I first started in
politics, I wanted to please everyone, and you can't please
everyone'. They say that if you try to please everybody you end
up pleasing nobody. That said, it's difficult to think of anybody
Tony's pleased since arriving at his decision to stop trying to
please everybody. Anybody reading this who has recently been
pleased by Tony, can you get in touch - we'd like to have you
stuffed and put in a museum.
And then came the report from the Chatham House think tank which
said the Iraq war had been a 'disaster' and a 'debacle', and
Blair had made the 'mistake of offering unconditional support for
US initiatives in foreign policy'. Using a phrase that should be
carved on New Labour's tombstone, Foreign Secretary Margaret
Beckett described the report as 'threadbare, insubstantial and
just plain wrong'. We imagine she should know, working for a
Government that's produced more than a few dodgy dossiers its
time. '45 minutes from doom,' anybody?
The think tank, previously a respected and grand enough platform
for speeches by the likes of Gordon Brown, is now reduced to the
status of wrong-headed whiner for having the audacity to express
an informed opinion. Like so many others. Outgoing UN Secretary
General, Kofi Annan: he was against the war so MI6 bugged his
office. Weapons Inspector, David Kelly: told a reporter that the
'45 minute from doom' stuff was cobblers, was fed to the press by
the Government, killed himself. Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw:
said 'I don't see any circumstances in which military action
would be justified against Iran, full stop', was demoted. You can
see why so many people around Blair keep their traps shut, like
being a member of Frank Sinatra's famously toadying entourage,
one word out of place and the good times are over. Sometimes
Just why Blair thinks he's the man to bring peace to a region
whose various and complex troubles have foxed the world's
greatest thinkers for over four thousand years, and who he thinks
might be listening to him, is for minds more psychoanalytical
than ours to reason. After Iraq, his selling weapons to any mad
bastard with oil and a chequebook, and his cosying up with
torturers and dictators, it's like putting God - a dead-beat dad
if ever we saw one; knocking up some poor young girl at
Christmas, then disappearing into thin air - in charge of the
Child Support Agency.
- The Friday Thing