Monday, 1 May 2017

The Ghost of Tony Blair: Spectral Visions Twenty Years On.

'It’s certainly true we don’t have a God-given right to carry on as a competing party of government. But there’s no reason why Labour can’t become the repository of that new coalition of progressive forces that is available to us in today’s society and which is basically the same progressive coalition that brought us to power in 1997'

Tony Blair 2017.

Blair has used the twentieth anniversary of New Labour's historic landslide on May 1 1997 to make a return to 'frontline' politics as 'back seat driver'. He inhabits an eerie shadow world where he 'really believes' the exact timing of his decision to 'intervene' is not about Him ( which is always is ) but about 'doing the right thing' for 'the people'.

Flicking through the channels, three days ago on Sky News there was the Blair wretch. Lit up he was like a waxwork from Madame Tussauds, not realising the black background could well have been chosen for a purpose other than his own, he was prating away earnestly; his little hand movements were expanding and contracting.

Blair was unhinged and spectral, his eyes, with grey irises like marbles, were almost moving as rapidly in sync with his emphatic side-to-side head movements, swirling around deranged one moment, the next narrowly darting forth the next, his toothy grimace fixed and clenched, his very being emitting horror and fear.

Blair warbled on about the 2017 election not being about Corbyn or Labour's defeat even but that the nature of the mandate should not be a 'blank cheque'. The reason is that Theresa May is taking his style of centralised control freakery and the robotic sound bites he perfected in 1997 to new levels in furthering Brexit ( Leaving the EU ).

This utterly reverses and destroys His Legacy of 'taking Britain into the heart of Europe', using a political machine his regime first introduced only then later for it to turn against him. Hence the horror within. Blair is using Brexit as a pretext to reposition himself as a radical politician prepared to 'stand up' and lead 'the people' again.

A New Brexit Blair-'The Master' Tries to Rebrand Himself.

It's also the usual standard doublethink and hypocrisy. Blair's fake messianic Sense-of-Destiny-As-Leader Act led him into thinking his mandate gave him the full right to commit Britain to the US in invading Iraq. The idea Blair could 'put this behind him' and 'rebrand' himself is the strategic ruse here.

It was the huge mandate of 1997 and 2001 and his authoritarian control over the New Labour Party that supposedly gave him a blank cheque to join in an invasion of a country that destabilised the Middle East, killed a million, created chaos and fanned out another an even worse terror threat within the region ( IS ).

This is the meaning behind Blair's pathetic attempt at the old strategy of framing in order to be 'in touch' with 'the people' “We live in a world defined by change. There are cultural stresses, people are worried about immigration, the way their communities have changed, economic stresses, people are worried about the nature of their jobs".

Blair is aware that the blowback from that is heading towards Europe and Britain. This destabilisation of the Iraq War lead to a migrant crisis in 2015 that's then used by those wanting leave the EU to further their successful cause of a world 'out of control' and to win a referendum. He thinks he can disconnect it from himself.

So toxic was Blair's legacy that Labour under Ed Miliband changed the leadership election rules to allow the members to select a Leader from below to redress top-down control obsession Blair introduced. It was that revolt from the membership that elected Corbyn as the radical UnBlair who would bury his legacy further.

Blair is always predictable. It was actually quite clear from the SKY News interview that he was positioning himself again into the present from out of the weird shadowy void he inhabits as the Real Leader, as a ghost coming back from the dead might try to keep 'in touch' with the land of those living now.

Blair-The Political Product that Was Made Obsolete.

Blair's efforts to be 'relevant' are not about 'cutting edge' analysis but always about how he could come back from the political dead. It's the Ghost in the Machine. It's forever 1997 for him now again and will be till he goes forever, a total mental time warp in which reality now has to be adapted to frameworks that make it bearable for him

Blair is not 'The Master' of anything any more. He never was because the entire transient period of  zombie consumer capitalism and politics that bore him aloft and towards power has long since vanished, leaving only absurd traces of that culturally vacuous and sterile era, the late 1990s, like repeat-to-fade pop tunes.

New Labour really was 'new' in that politics and government was reduced to image, spin, marketing Blair as a brand like a washing powder, the sale of a political product through manipulation and subliminal conditioning. Now that brand is tarnished, Blair is well past his sell by date and few are interested in buying his 'message'.

In advertising, promoting a chocolate bar or pack of condoms through associating them with pleasures to be had might be fairly harmless. But in politics it meant the end of real arguments and debates using logic, facts, reason and evidence in preference for slogans such as 'Things Can Only Get Better'.

Blair's mentally inhabiting a disappeared world, which is quite sad and eerie. The very opposite of what he claims is true: it's precisely his brand of politics that is his real and only legacy under Theresa May, the soundbites ( 'strong and stable government', coalition of chaos' etc ) and centralised Party control over MPs.

Blair set out that with MPs there was a sort of process of cloning' the Leader. Blair' himself makes that plain in A Journey that this cloning-and reducing MPs to a conveyor of messages to uphold the Leader's authority over the Party and over the People- was real New Labour. Blair was a political product only of and for his time.

Blair is now seeing May become clone herself firmly in this mould but to destroy most, if not all, of what he 'really believed' His Legacy would be. He's trying to pretend it's Corbyn responsible for that without seeing Corbyn as the consequence of a revolt from below against the 'Blairised' PLP as they abandon the sinking ship.

Blair is rebranding himself one last time, the quintessential politician of the mindless zombie consumer era of the late 1990s that he is, as the Master who could yet reposition himself on the political supermarket shelf, a brand worth reconsidering, though he's branded all over with 'Iraq' it shows in his face.

Blair is becoming obsolete within his own lifetime as a 'force' while having the dead on his conscience. Novelist Iain Sinclair claims Blair was once watched through a window of his London house before he became Prime Minister, transfixed by watching his own image flickering across his TV screen.

One day, when his mind finally goes completely, he'll be in a house, in the only room left lit up bright, preparing himself for his past performances, as though on a loop, repeating his brittle little lines and emitting his sound bites, Then, the TV will flicker off for good, his last fake act long forgotten.

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