Back to Front - Bye bye, Blair
WORKERS, JULY 2007 ISSUE
Blair is finally going, leaving behind him, for all the talk of legacy, a poisoned inheritance. Even the most demented Victorian imperialists would have thought twice before entering into as many and such frequent foreign military adventures as this government has taken us into: Iraq, Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq again.
Blair stands as Bush's accomplice. As Talleyrand said of the Bourbons nearly 200 years ago, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. The Bourbons, though, corrupt and stupid even by the standards of French kings and queens as they were, are as nothing to US imperialism.
We oppose these wars not because we are pacifists, nor because we prefer our wars to be conducted with a veneer of legality, not just because they are wars on the people of Iraq, but because they are war also on workers here in Britain.
The four years in which Halliburton and the others have looted Iraq stand as a warning to us of capitalism's intentions. Yeltsin's recent death brought back memories of the plunder of the birthplace of revolution by the energy bandits he presided over in the 1990s. The oligarchs now settle their differences by poisoning each other and their agents and do so in our own capital city.
Previous capitalist destructions and Balkanisation of countries will be as nothing to what they plan for Britain. Devolution for Scotland and Wales, now talk of independence, and the regional assemblies. Why stop there? Why not go back to the tribal regionalism of Britain after the Romans left?
Yet they still have not dared to take us into the euro; the constitution still remains a battleground; expansion is hotly fought, as the EU redefines the continent of Europe in ways that defy geographical and historical logic.
Recitals of what is wrong with Britain are boring and unnecessary: a few moments' thought tells us we all know what is wrong with our workplaces and industries, and what the solutions might be, if we took power into our own hands. Consider the story of the scampi of Scotland: Young's, after sacking 120 workers in Scotland, announced that they then would send the prawns 12,000 miles to Thailand by sea, a six week round trip, to be processed – then to be returned to be sold in Britain. Blair must be proud.
Another of Blair's (and Bush's) achievements is the attack on the English language: so kidnapping becomes "extraordinary rendition", everything that is to be destroyed is to be "modernised", rewarding the government's friends with the opportunity to take over public services is "partnership".
Or "private equity", just a new name for the asset strippers that have been characteristic of capitalism since the war. Some government jargon remains impenetrable: what on earth, for example, does "opportunity society" mean? And then there's the recent Blairite phrase "open world economics", a new term that is designed to prettify the ugly process of capitalism's devastation of economies the world over, and to denigrate its opponents: it's open, so it must be good; and it has the word "world" in it. What sort of little-Englander are you to oppose it?
And they call this politics!
Real politics will come when the 60 million of us in Britain finally decide that we are prepared to take on the responsibility of being our own masters.