The One Who Cannot Be Mentioned has mentioned the independence referendum. It’s not that I don’t want Tony Blair to come back, I do, preferably in handcuffs. But he’s come back minus the handcuffs and he’s backing a No vote, like anyone is surprised. Giving a lecture for some think tank in an expensive hotel in London, his speech expressed his fears about what his own party might do, not his fears about what the Tories might do. In Tony’s universe, you must not base your politics on how you want the world to be, Tony thinks that’s delusional. If Keir Hardie and Robert Cunningham Graham had believed that, they’d never have founded the Scottish Labour party in the first place.
For Tony politics is about managing the expectations of the voters downwards. And in this he richly succeeded, our expectations get lower and lower with every passing vote. But mainly it’s about making money and creating the conditions where a small number are able to get extremely rich. Individuals enriching themselves form Tony’s definition of ‘wealth creators’, a definition that would apply just as well to a common or garden thief. But Tony won’t be standing trial for his crimes. He’s a respected elder statesman. Respected by those who matter that is, that wouldn’t be you or me.
The man who brought us the dodgy dossier and the delusional weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is warning us against the delusion that there is any alternative to neo-conservative economics and a professionalised political class with a career plan that ends with a seat in the Lords and a clutch of directorships, stopping off for the occasional foreign war en route.
Despite the best efforts of the No campaign to pretend that Tony Blair never happened and doesn’t exist, he’s now opened his lying gob on the topic of the land of his birth. But it was only so Tony the Middle East Peace Envoy didn’t have to answer questions about why he was giving a speech for a think tank in a posh hotel in London and wasn’t in Gaza negotiating an end to rocket fire blowing up hospitals. Though the answer to that one is easy – the catering in London hotels is better. And so is Tone’s pay. Besides, Gaza may be the only place on Earth where Tony is more reviled than he is in Scotland and the rest of the UK, although not by much.
But you’ve got to hand it to the auld warmonger. He achieved something that was previously thought impossible. He broke the laws of nature as well as the laws of war. For years most of Scotland did not believe it was humanly possible to loath a politician more than we loathed Margaret Thatcher, until Tony Blair proved us wrong. So he gets kudos for that, if nothing else.
With Thatcher you got what it said on the proverbial tin, a headlong rush into the cold embrace of the worst of capitalism, an unseemly eagerness to go to war, selfish greed rebranded as a virtue, and lack of compassion as something to aspire to. Tony gave us all that too, but with added hypocrisy, and the last vestiges of hope that Labour would lead us out of the nightmare were crushed under the weight of a pile of broken bodies in Baghdad. No wonder Thatcher once described him as her greatest legacy.
Tony took our dreams and trashed them. Those carefully nurtured small flames that we’d kept alive in our souls throughout the long dark night of the Thatcher years were snuffed out. We’d kept the faith. We’d believed. We’d trusted. Things were going to get better, the day would come when Labour’s feeble fifty were feeble no more. Justice would walk the Earth again. But the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be the last random firings of the neurones before brain death set in, the body of Labour shut down for good and began to rot from the head down. With Tony the Hope Killer, Scotland finally completed its transition into a land where cynicism was the last refuge of dignity.
Now the missiles rain down on Gaza while tanned Tony preaches before an audience of sycophants, politely applauding while he smiles with his tombstone teeth and tells them what they want to hear. The politics of privatisers and PFI contracts is the only way, Tony’s third way. ASBOs for the poor, but personal enrichment for those who’re guilty of the greatest acts of anti-social behaviour. Shatter a window and you’ll get tagged, shatter the dreams of a nation and you’ll get a seat in the Lords.
Tony shaped the Labour party we have today. Together with Gordie Broon, his partner in warcrimes, they took our hopes and aspirations and used them to power their own careers. They gave us a Labour party that has no answers, that can only offer more of the same, a slow decline into the impoverishment of the soul. Labour gave us the British Parliamentary road to socialism that started in the lofty aspirations of Hardie and Cunninghame Graham and ended with a missile on the road to Basra and the screams of an Iraqi child.
I’m tired of being cynical. I’m tired of wrapping myself in a coccoon of callouses and keeping my dreams in cold storage while money grabbing pharisees preach the inevitability of poverty for the masses. A Yes vote gives us a chance to hope again, to take back our dignity and rescue it from Tony’s lies and the Labour party he mutated into a sick version of himself. There is another way, a better way. A way that doesn’t have Tony in it. No wonder he’s opposed to it.
If Scotland becomes independent, Tony Blair will become a citizen of Scotland. He was born in Scotland, his right to a Scottish passport is absolute and he will become a Scottish citizen automatically even if he does not bother himself with applying for a Scottish passport. The Scottishness of Blair is no cause for mourning or regret, because it means that if the war-mongering bastard ever sets foot north of the Border he can be arrested and put on trial for his crimes against humanity, for taking us to war on the basis of lies – and as a Scottish citizen facing Scottish justice he won’t be able to count on the protection and assistance of the Westminster authorities or the diplomatic corps of the Foreign Office. So that’s something to hope for then.
Vote Yes and we can bring Blair to account. That’s something worth hoping for.