Saturday, November 11, 2006

His Master's Voice

Wasn't going to blog today but an open goal is an open goal. Blair will talk to George's buddies about Iraq but he refuses to discuss it in any meaningful way in the House of Commons. Sir Menzies has, quite understandably, pointed out that the British Prime Minister is supposed to be accountable to the British parliament.
Downing Street however accused Sir Menzies of being out of touch with the public.

"Most people in this country will welcome the fact that the Prime Minister is contributing to the deliberations of the Iraq Study Group. It is a shame that Sir Menzies is not one of them," a spokesman said.
Presumably, the reason you only ever read or hear what the PMOS has said and never actually see film of him saying anything is because his blush at having to read out these absurdities is of such a magnitude as to cause all cameras within a one mile radius to explode. Having learned from costly experience, film crews must now reverse scramble out of Downing Street as soon as they hear that he's going to make a statement. "Hurry man, this camera cost a hundred grand. It's getting warm, he must be starting. Quick, get in the van. GET IN THE VAN!"

While we're on the subject of shameless lickspittles, Buff was on the Question Time panel the other night. After a lengthy period of consideration, I've come to the surprising conclusion that he does actually have one use. His unwavering commitment to the official line coupled with his absolute inability to entertain even a hint of an independent thought mean that his statements demonstrate the government's "communication" strategies in painfully stark relief.

On Iraq, the government line has been obvious for a good while but in summary:
  1. What is important now is the future, not the past
  2. Those who dwell on the past are more interested in petty political point scoring than in the welfare of the Iraqi people.
This is the spin Blair is relying on to eke out just a few more months of that gloriously intoxicating power. Buff's QT responses were all basically reheated versions of those same two points (the first openly stated, the second strongly implied).

The second point is so outrageous, so obviously designed to stifle any attempt to examine this government's many failures, so, when it comes right down to it, undemocratic, as to be unworthy of any sort of serious response. This strategy can be clearly seen in the PMOS's response to Sir Menzies above. For "It is a shame that Sir Menzies is not one of them" read "he doesn't care about the future of Iraq". This is a reminder, as if one were needed, that Blair is ultimately a deeply unscrupulous bastard. He wouldn't recognise an honest debate if it was knee deep in oil.

The first point, much laboured by Buff on QT, is that we should now spend our time discussing how we should precede rather than endlessly going over the past. There are a number of problems with this. For a start, Buff himself spent the entire time telling people to "look to the future" without actually doing so himself. He had nothing to say on the future he so wanted us to look to. As a means to tackle the bloody chaos of Iraq, repeatedly and robotically telling people to "look to the future" is way down on my list of priorities.

And, of course, if you were trying to devise strategies for Iraq, what you wouldn't do is start from here. If you absolutely had too, the first thing you'd do is find out who it was who had got you here, locate that person and tell them to piss right off. Right off. I don't have any opinion polls to hand but I think I can say with some certainty that a majority of the British people have no faith in Blair's ability to deal with the aftermath of the mess he did so much to help create.

The main point however, is that as long as Blair is in charge, there is no British input into the future of Iraq. We can talk about new approaches all we want but our strategy will only change when U.S. strategy changes. End of. And Blair's contribution to the proposals put forward by the I.S.G. will be nil. Likewise, his influence on Bush's decision as to whether to adopt these proposals will be nil. He's been asked to take part out of a sense of politeness; he has to be seen to have been consulted. But how long will this consultation really last? An afternoon? Less maybe? It's window dressing. Under Blair, looking to the future of British foreign means looking to see what the Bush administration is going to do next.

So here's my suggestion for the future. Why don't we have a British government with its own independent foreign policy? I'm no historian but I'm pretty sure we've tried it before and it seemed to work out sort of alright. It might not have been perfect but at least it was ours.

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