|“We don’t do [ Iraqi ] body counts.”
— General Tommy Franks, US Central Command
IRAQ WAR CO$T
"Some sad news. President Bush's lapdog passed away. Gee, I didn't even know Tony Blair was sick."
"It would be a very dangerous situation if people thought they could just spill out allegations, whether false or true... and get away with it."
"If we are wrong, [about WMD] we will have destroyed a threat that, at its least, is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering. That is something I am confident history will forgive."
"I never make predictions. I never have and I never will."
"I can feel the hand of history on my shoulder."
"The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes."
Bush's Zombie Shuffles Off|
Adieu, Blair, Adieu
By Tariq Ali
A true creature of the Washington Consensus, Blair was always loyal to the various occupants of the White House. In Europe, he preferred Aznar to Zapatero, Merckel to Schroeder, was seriously impressed by to Berlusconi and, most recently, made no secret of his desire that Sarkozy was his candidate in France. He understood that privatisation/deregulation at home were part of the same mechanism as the wars abroad. If this judgement seems unduly harsh let me quote Sir Rodric Braithwaite, a former senior adviser to Blair, writing in the Financial Times on 2, August, 2006:
This, too, is mild compared to what is said about Blair in the British Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence. Senior diplomats have told me on more than one occasion that it would not upset them too much if Blair were to be tried as a war criminal. More cultured critics sometimes compare him to the Cavaliere Cipolia, the vile hypnotist of fascist Italy, so brilliantly portrayed in Thomas Mann's 1929 novel 'Mario and the Magician'. Blair is certainly not Mussolini, but like the Duce he enjoyed to simultaneously lead and humiliate his supporters.
What much of this reveals is anger and impotence. There is no mechanism to get rid of a sitting Prime Minister unless his or her party loses confidence. The Conservative leadership decided that Thatcher simply had to go because of her negative attitude to Europe. Labour tends to be more sentimental towards its leaders and in this case they owed so much to Blair that nobody close to him wants to be cast in the role of Brutus. In the end he decided to go himself. The disaster in Iraq had made him a much hated politician and slowly support began to ebb. One reason for the slowness was that the country is without a serious opposition. In Parliament, the Conservatives simply followed Blair. The Liberal-Democrats were ineffective. Blair had summed up Britain's attitude to Europe at Nice in 2000:
"It is possible, in our judgement, to fight Britain's corner, get the best out of Europe for Britain and exercise real authority and influence in Europe. That is as it should be. Britain is a world power."
This grotesque, self-serving fantasy that 'Britain is a world power' is to justify that it will always be EU/UK. The real union is with Washington. France and Germany are seen as rivals for Washington's affections, not potential allies in an independent EU. The French decision to re-integrate themselves into NATO and pose as the most vigorous US ally was a serious structural shift which weakened Europe. Britain responded by encouraging a fragmented political order in Europe through expansion and insisted on a permanent US presence on the continent.
Blair's half-anointed, half-hated successor, Gordon Brown, is far more intelligent (he reads books) but politically no different. There might be a change of tone, but little else. It is a grim prospect with or without Blair and an alternative politics (anti-war, anti-Trident, defence of public services) is confined to the nationalist parties in Scotland and Wales. Its absence nationally fuels the anger felt by substantial sections of the population, reflected in voting (or not) against those in power.
Blair Spent $3,130 on Makeup in Six Years |
LONDON - British Prime Minister Tony Blair has spent more than 1,800 pounds (US$3,130) of taxpayers' money on makeup and cosmetic artists over the past six years, according to the government.
In a written answer to Parliament, the government revealed Blair's Downing Street office had spent 1,050.22 pounds (US$1,826.66) on cosmetics for the prime minister's media appearances since 1999. In the past two years, a further 791.20 pounds (US$1,376.14) had been spent on makeup artists.
The details were released by government official Lord Bassam in a written response to a question tabled by Lord Hanningfield, a member of the main opposition Conservative Party.