Tony Blair’s latest return to the fray was pretty grim, even by his low standards.
But it actually served a useful purpose: demonstrating the complete and utter intellectual vacuous-ness of his ideas, and showed why the Labour Party is basically going in the right direction under our new leader.
Watching him deny he was in favour of ever joining the Euro was something to behold, although David Cameron’s embracing of Sadiq Khan as a “proud Muslim” did then manage to top it. Wow. Now that was cynical.
And contrasting Blair’s fratricidal attitude with the actions of Jeremy Corbyn’s immediate predecessor, a man infinitely more humble and intelligent than Blair, is a case study in what a severe case of rampant egomania and political psychosis can cause.
Anyway I digress. Blair makes himself look frankly risible and horribly lacking in self-awareness. The distance between how he thinks the world perceives him and how the world perceives him seems to be growing by the day.
He’s Yesterday’s Man, clinging onto the certainties of 1995 without any reflection on the world of 2016 at all. And certainly no reflection on why he is despised by so many in his own party. And if you’re hoping for any humble admissions of culpability about anything, then think again.
For a supposed political heavyweight he comes across as intellectually tiny. He places himself in “the centre”, when you could quite reasonably argue that there are many in the Conservative Party to the left of him now.
He dismisses Jeremy Corbyn as a “populist” even though JC has stuck to his principles for his entire political career, and upon winning the leadership by sticking to his principles has been greeted with a daily barrage of hostile headlines, attempts to undermine him from within and without, and the vicious opprobrium of the right-wing establishment that Blair is such a well-remunerated part of. Funny kind of populism.
Modern-day Blairism seems to have reduced down to agreeing with pretty much every single Conservative policy on everything. And not just because it is necessary to win power, although that is the excuse – we must be “electable”. But the real reason is because to Blair fundamentally the Conservatives are usually right.
Regardless of our views on the righteousness and necessity of the New Labour project (and I’m in the camp of it wasn’t righteous and it wasn’t necessary) it is surely clear to the meanest intelligence that those days are long gone, and that strategy (which won three elections but did nothing like enough to challenge the social and intellectual hegemony of Thatcherism) was predicated on a set of realities that simply don’t pertain now. And trying to pretend they are? That’s dinosaur thinking. Blair’s inability to change the record and ‘move on’ means he is becoming everything he used to hate.
And even though it’s common to loathe Tony Blair on the left, and there is indeed much to loathe him for, watching him trying and completely failing to understand why Labour has begun re-embracing socialism when he made it his life’s work to make that possibility an impossibility, I’m actually starting to be filled with pity. He has become a tragic, almost comically pathetic figure. Albeit one with £60 million to console himself with.
He’s like a late-period Robert De Niro, grabbing the cash for the latest gig although you know his heart’s not really in it. Or the Rolling Stones, doing karaoke versions of songs that sounded fantastic a generation ago.
His every utterance assures me that the people in the Labour Party who stayed and fought to oppose his agenda were right all along. Tony, it’s time to move on.