Wednesday, 27 June 2007

And Welcome Gordon by Virginia

With Tony gone, Gordon Brown finally has the job he has been dreaming about all these years. I am sure Mr Brown would like us to think this is a new dawn, a new balance sheet and time to put the Blair years behind us.

But the trouble is Gordon, we can't quite do that. Tony Blair could not have gone to war without assistance from the Treasury. As I've said before on this blog, my biggest frustration over the last 10 years has been seeing the public sector coffers dwindle, whilst the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan get a blank cheque.

I'm afraid my optimism was lost 10 years ago, I can't think we are getting anything different with our new leader. But a small part of me would like to see me proved wrong. So please Mr Brown, please do us a favour, and try and live up to your heroes. If you really do admire Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi so much, please try to live up to their ideals and beliefs and ask yourself:

Who would they bomb?

So Farewell Tony Blair by Virginia

After 6 weeks of self indulgent touring the world, Tony Blair finally left Downing Street today. I can't say I'm sorry to see him go. I was foolish enough to vote for him in 1997, desperate to see a change after 18 years of Tory rule. I was even more foolish to think that Labour actually might make a positive difference to the world. It was an optimism I soon lost. My first disillusionment was when Robin Cook's ethical foreign policy (remember that?) was quickly dispensed by Blair's continued friendship and support for those fine arms traders at British Aerospace (BAe). It was downhill all the way from there.

A year later, as I experienced the first contractions for the birth of our eldest child, we woke to the news that Blair had joined in US air raids on Iraq. 3 weeks after her birth we sat down in Downing Street in protest at the killing of the innocent. Ever since then our family life has been caught up in resisting Blair's wars. From Iraq, to Kosovo, Sierra Leone to Afghanistan, and back to Iraq, Tony Blair has peddled the lie that you can right an injustice with tanks and bombs. We are all aware of the mess that lies in Iraq, but are things any better in Kosovo or Afghanistan since he agreed to go to war? I don't think so.

Tony Blair freely admits to knowing nothing about history, yet he wants history to judge him as a great leader who resisted terrorism by taking firm action. I believe history will be less kind. My pet theory is that he is the little boy who never quite grew out of the myth of being the Boy's Own action hero. Being of the generation after the Second World War he felt cheated by not having the opportunity to fight himself, so he did it by proxy. All the warmongering he has done has just created conflict elsewhere and made British citizens targets for terrorism.

And yet the sad thing is, he does have qualities that could help make peace if he had used them better. All the energy that he (& many others, including the fabulous Mo Mowlam) put to creating peace in Northern Ireland is not energy wasted. If only he had used that energy more creatively in all the places in the world where he chose to go to war. Perhaps we would be seeing an end to the war on terror and a more stable situation in Iraq. Instead we are seeing conflagration everywhere and the threat of ongoing war in the Middle East for generations. The idea that he can now go out there and create peace in an a region where he has caused so much turmoil would be laughable if it wasn't such an insult to people who live there.

So Tony, I am not sorry to see you go. I hope that when you join the Catholic Church you will take the sacraments seriously, confess your sins and spend the rest of your life in repentance for your actions when in office.

But somehow, sadly, I doubt it.