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Moving On from the Blair Wars
Publication date: 2008-05-25

Exactly a year ago (2007-05-25) we asked the question: "Will Brown Succeed Where Blair Failed?". This was the time when Gordon Brown was about to achieve his most cherished ambition - to become the British Prime Minister. But now they are talking about Gordon Brown being "an electoral liability" to the Labour Party.

Why?

The issue of Gordon Brown's leadership was brought to the surface in the wake of a "crushing Labour defeat" in the Crew by-elections, the Crew being a "safe Labour seat" - a town with a strong tradtional support for the Labour Party. And this "defeat" has lead to searches for its reasons.

Some in the Media blame the petrol prices, others Gordon Brown's attempt to abolish the 10p income tax band, and still others Gordon Brown's personality, suggesting that he should be replaced by some other Labour politician to save the Labour Government.

But when a TV journalist asked a local middle-aged "working-class" woman about her attitude to the Labour Party, her answer was: "I do not trust anything they say".

She did not mention the petrol prices, nor the mortgage crunch, nor the 10p tax band. She, a traditional Labour supporter, spoke about not trusting the Labour Government.

So, again, we come to the same old issue that plagued the Blair premiership - the issue of trust.

But did not Gordon Brown try to restore the trust in the British Government once he became Prime Minister?

Yes, he did. And this is how he did it:

  1. He announced that he would lift the ban on protests in front of the Houses of Parliament (imposed by Tony Blair).


  2. He suggested to transfer the prerogative to declare wars from the Prime Minister to Parliament.


  3. He said that the "Era of Impunity" was over.


  4. He spoke about "British Laws based on British Values". He was not clear as to what these values were, and why the British have an exclusive monopoly on these values. But the suggestion is that they are "superior" to all the other (French, German, etc.) values, and that these values justify anything "we" do, like the Blair Wars.


  5. He repeatedly spoke about Human Rights in other countries and called their governments "regimes".


  6. A new justification for the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan emanated from the Brown Cabinet: "We, the British, are interventionist". So it is alright for us to attack other countries whenever we feel like intervening. We do not need to have any reasons for "intervening", it is "in our blood".


  7. Attempts were made to teach school children an "alternative" version of the history of the Blair Wars presenting these wars in a favourable light.


  8. There have been some attempts to make dishonesty in government "socially acceptable" - articles appeared in the British Press suggesting that it is alright for government officials to be dishonest. Thus, one article suggested that "politicians might be slimy and mendacious", but we need them, and they have to be slimy and mendacious to preserve their jobs.


  9. Whenever some journalists were asking "awkward questions" about the Blair Wars, they were told: "Let's change the subject, we have 'moved on'".


What effect had all these measures on the trust of the British People in Gordon Brown and the Labour Party?

Lifting the ban on protests in front of the Houses of Parliament was generally welcomed, but, on further reflection, came to be seen as a minor token gesture.

The suggested transfer of the prerogative to declare wars was initially welcomed by many, but on further reflection, it became clear that it will not solve the problem, but could even make things worse.

The announcement that the "Era of Impunity" was over raised hopes among the British People that Tony Blair and his accomplices will be brought before a Nuremberg-style War Tribunal. But instead of being put on trial as a war criminal, Tony Blair was appointed to resolve the Middle-East Conflict and even suggestions were made to make him President of the European Union. And this has lead many British people to the conclusion that in New Labour Britain "crime pays".

The rest of the attempts to restore trust in the Labour Government were obviously "counter-productive". They still further convinced the British Public that the "New New Labour" of Gordon Brown is the "Old New Labour" of Tony Blair - a collection of spinning, posing, posturing, pandering, self-promoting, self-protective, manipulative politicians who cannot be trusted. Which, of course, is not surprising, because they all (including Gordon Brown) are "remnants", remnants of the Blair regime.

And what about the credit crunch, petrol prices, etc.?

Government policies that adversely affect some groups of people lead to active protests: strikes, demonstrations etc.. But, unless such protests are of gigantic proportions, they do not in themselves lead to a fall of government. The policies can be changed to reduce the adverse effects, or the protesters might give up their protests and come to terms with an unpopular Government policy.

But, if a government is not trusted, it is not faced with active hostility, but people stop voting for them, and either not vote at all, or vote for an alternative party. And while unpopular policies can be changed, trust can not be "bought" by a change of policy.

One can "move on" from the subject of an unpopular war, once it is over. But it is impossible to "move on" from lack of trust. This is because mistrust is not the result of the war being unpopular, or even criminal, but of how this war was justified - the false arguments, the evasions, the cover ups, the posings, the posturings, the spin, the brazing it out. The issue here is not whether an action is right or wrong, but whether the people involved are honest or dishonest.

There is only one way the New New Labour can regain the public trust - a full scale Nuremberg-style tribunal, at which Tony Blair and his chief accomplices will be given opportunity to explain their decisions and actions, and, if found guilty, face the same punishments, as were meted out to the German leaders after the Second World War.

Without such Nuremberg-style tribunal arranged by the New New Labour government themselves, they will have to face the Tribunal of the Public Opinion - a massive electoral loss at the next elections, with decades of non-electability thereafter, until all the remnants of the Blair regime have retired or passed away, and are replaced by a new generation not tainted with the crimes of their predecessors.

But until the General Elections they still have a role to play - promotion of the popularity of the Conservative Party.


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