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Goodbye Mr. Blair...

Posted on 2007.05.13 at 09:09
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Tags: ,
It’s a great old English tradition complaining about our leaders. We have entire programmes devoted to it (on that note, did anyone catch ‘Have I Got News For You’ last night?). I think as a whole we like our country, but we‘re a rather pessimistic bunch by nature. If anyone saw the announcements for the 2012 Olympics you’ll know what I mean. For those of you who didn’t I’ll give you a brief re-cap. 

French announcer: Zer iz no need to announce it. Of course we ‘ave won. Kiss our arses you elderberry stinking English!

English announcer: Well it’s raining right now. I’m thinking it’s a bad sign. Never mind. There’s always 2016.

French announcer: ‘Ang on. Zey are reading the results. Well better get ready to drink our thousand of pounds worth of Champaign and aww over our thousands of pounds of fireworks zat we ‘ave ordered for ze occasion.

English announcer: Oh well. It was fun while it lasted…And it’s Fra- No wait it’s us. It’s us. We’ve actually won! Wow, never saw that one coming.

Thousands of French people lining the streets of Paris in order to celebrate their imminent victory: Hurra- eh?

Five English people who have come out to hope against hope that by some miracle we might have scraped a victory: eh?

So, Blair has finally given a resignation date and I have to say my feelings on this are mixed. So I think, rather than following the great old English tradition of complaining about everything he’s ever done, I’ll weigh up the pros and cons all nice and neat like. Look I have bullet points and everything.

Okay, so the bad.

  • So the obvious for this is Iraq. Yes it was, it was illegal. It was a revenge war that was never going to end well. It’s cost thousands and thousands of lives. And would we really be there if there wasn’t any oil? I disagreed with it when they went in and I still disagree with it now. At least he wants to see it through. No, despite popular opinion, there is no way it’s right wander into a country, mess it up, then leave at the first given opportunity. I don’t agree with it, but we’re there now and that means we have to see it through till the end.
  • On the note of Iraq. The interesting take that western governments have on middle eastern wars. It’s very nice that Mr Blair has been working for peace in the middle east, but I wish he’d look at places that don’t have oil. What about the crises in Darfur? What are we doing about that? And that’s a place that could really use some intervention. I mean there’s a bloody massacre going on and no one’s even blinked an eyelid.
  • So Tony Blair said judge him on the NHS. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha….ha ha ha ha ha ha…ha hahaha. I’ll elaborate shall I. My Mum works for the NHS, and sure there aren’t people waiting years for treatment so much any more, but that’s because they skip through patients so fast that they often don’t get the treatment they need anyway. And that's without even mentioning the MRSA virus and patients dying in the corridors.How is that good?
  • The education system. We have the highest rate of childhood depression in Europe, and personally I think this is due to the education system putting kids under a ridiculous amount of pressure to do well, while simultaneously teaching they nothing as they are forced to constantly meet a bunch of stupid targets.
  • While we’re on education, the university fees. Naturally I do not like this because it means that in a few years time I’m going to have £-25000, and an arts degree that will not earn me any money. But the thing that really makes me laugh is that in 10 years time, we’re going to have an entire middle class generation, that are hugely in debt a large portion of which will probably have to be written off, and this will probably send us into some kind of economic meltdown.
  • And then there’s the subject of how much power Tony Blair actually has, and the answer -more than he should. I have pointed out before that there really isn’t any good set up to stop someone who really wanted to, starting a dictatorship in England, and Tony Blair has come worryingly close to the mark at points. His cabinet meetings are ridiculously short, and a worrying amount of policies come directly from him. It is also worth noting that England has more CCTV cameras than almost anywhere else in the world. Can you say ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’?
  • As Ian Hislop cheerfully pointed out. At the end of Tony Blair’s speech he wished us good luck “because he knows we’re going to need it.”

And the Good
  • He’s a brilliant, brilliant, speaker. Now this may not sound like a big thing, but in a leader it’s extremely important. I was at home on my own when the 7/7 London bombings hit and having not been able to get through to my numerous friends and relatives who were in London at the time sat down and watched the news. Anyway, on came Tony Blair’s speech, and it was a GREAT speech (it can be found here, if you want to look http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhU4F6lhLLo). It was the first time in a long time that I had really thought of the man as my leader, and been truly glad that he was. I think he said just the right thing -I was particularly impressed that he thanked the Muslim community for their support- and at the time it was what convinced me that we’d be able to pick ourselves up.
  • I don’t agree with isolationism. I don’t think that means that we should butt in on everything, but think that we have a duty to help, because we have the ability to do so. I’m always strangely proud that we fought in the world wars even though they weren’t a direct threat to us when they started out. Tony Blair helped to influence the peace talks in Northern Ireland which have been extremely successful. It’s hard to imagine what a complete mess Northern Ireland was even just 10 years ago, and while not everything there has been solved, they’ve certainly got a lot closer in the last few years.
  • He seems to be fairly honest about what he does. Now this may not be true, but I feel it’s at least nice to have the illusion of honesty from one’s political leaders, although I suppose that just means that he‘s a better liar. David Cameron doesn’t strike as even slightly honest. He strikes me as smarmy and creepy, and generally untrustworthy. He’s my local MP incidentally, which means that not only has he spoken at my last school (and couldn’t answer a single question straight btw) but he feels the need to send me things like birthday cards and other such rubbish. “Dear Sophie, you are 18. Vote for me.” No thanks.
  • When Blair goes, Gordon Brown will most likely take his place. God save us all.

So for anyone who’s interested here’s Tony Blair’s leaving speech.

Okay, I fib. That was actually David Tennant on dead ringers in what a feel was an impressively good impression of Blair. 

The actual leaving speech can be found here, if you’re interested. 



estrelle_peto at 2007-05-13 13:23 (UTC) (Link)
Tony Blair has been the prime minister for as long as I can remember (or can be bothered to care) as he became so when I was 5. Strange to think about it really.

You have some great points there, all of which are true.

goldy_dollar at 2007-05-13 13:41 (UTC) (Link)
The David Tennant Dead Ringers skit WINS. He does do a good impression of Blair. I'm impressed. :D

Thanks for this! I can sort of grasp British politics a lot better than, say, even American politics, since our institutions are copied from yours exactly, which means that studying the Westminster system is always like coming home. *G*

Funny you should mention the accumulation of Blair's power. The power of the PM is a HUGE issue here, too, and Britain is always somewhere we look at for ways of ameliorating it. Now I know that's mostly hot air.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what happens in the next few months. Looks like it'll probably be Gordon Brown in for Labour. Eugh.
july_evening at 2007-05-13 22:17 (UTC) (Link)
" The power of the PM is a HUGE issue here, too, and Britain is always somewhere we look at for ways of ameliorating it. Now I know that's mostly hot air. "

I actually don't think the power of a PM is a huge issue here at all. I think it’s something that the secret services like to keep an eye on, but as a people we’d probably quite happily sleepwalk into a dictatorship before we realise it has happened, which is what happens when you gain your freedoms over a long period of time rather than fight for them like you guys did. I mean the last time we were taken over was 1066 so I guess we’re not exactly prepared for the eventuality of someone gaining too much power over us. Though as my friend cheerfully pointed out the other day, democracy is mostly an illusion anyway.

As for Gordon Brown, technically he was supposed to become prime minister eight years ago, but Tony Blair double crossed him and didn’t step down. It’s why they hate each other so much. Does make you question Blair’s honesty doesn’t it.

And I’m rather fond of that Dead Ringers sketch. I ought to get out all my old youtube links, featuring people form Doctor who, and post them up to keep us all from getting too much withdrawal. Stupid Eurovision (and we came second to last :().
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