Saturday, February 11, 2006

Learning Useful Lessons

The Labour Party's reaction to their astonishing defeat in the Dunfermline and West by-election has for the most part been fairly predictable.

Reaction 1
This is a local issue for local people. There's nothing for you here.

OK, there were specific local issues which undoubtedly had an effect but we're talking about losing an 11,500 majority here. Nothing happens in a bubble (except in Royston Vasey obviously).This is very, very bad news for the Labour Party locally and nationally. It's also a very bad result for Gordon Brown who was heavily involved in the campaign. People are quite legitimately starting to wonder if he's left it too late to move into Number 10.

Reaction 2
"We've got to learn the lessons..."
"What are the lessons?"
"Well, we've got to learn the lessons..."
"Yes, you said. But what lessons?"
"Er, wibble?"

Indeed. We've got to learn the lessons: mantra of the embarrassed clueless politician, the world over.

Reaction 3
Dennis Skinner avoids the spin and just says what he thinks. Always refreshing but still predictable.

Perhaps less predictable was Tony Blair's reaction to the defeat. He was launching the Labour spring conference ("spring" conference?). His reaction:

" ............... "

Nothing. Not a word. As one BBC reporter put it, he "airbrushed it out of existence".

Apart from anything else, I'm pretty sure that was a tactical mistake. It gives the impression that he's very worried by this. So he is, I'm sure, and so he should be, but to confirm it in this way was an error of judgement.

What's more worrying, perhaps, is that he feels he can airbrush something like this out of existence. He obviously can't, but, well, it's all very Orwellian. (See also "spring" conference for flippant example - leave our seasons alone you gits!)

I'm reliably informed that Blair was a Labour politician once so I'm fairly sure he must have read 1984. But I don't think he got it. I can imagine him reading "who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past" and thinking, "oh, that's a good idea".

So, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to start a Blair book club. Perhaps a few of his friends could start one up. For a start, get him to read 1984 again and then talk through with him what it means, what warnings it contains, and so forth. I'm hoping his time as PM is very nearly over so it's probably too late for this to do much good for the country but it might at least make him a better person. Any of Tony's friends reading this? You'd really be doing him a huge favour.

I've even got a suggestion for book two on the reading list. Read this as the introduction and then read this. When Blair said "People's freedom to be safe from fear has to come first", it made me shudder. (This post would also be useful for discussions on both books.)

So, what about it people? His ignorance is an embarrasment and if you're his friend you really ought to want to do something about it. The Blair book club might genuinely help him to learn some useful lessons about the world and the human beings who live in it.

Tags: , ,

No comments: