Blair still has considerable influence on people with right-wing political views – but his most effective weapon is deception.
Look at what he is saying: That it would be a “very dangerous experiment” if a “populist” politician like Jeremy Corbyn were to form a government.
Look up the meaning of populist: “A member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people.”
Shouldn’t all politicians at least try to be populist? And wasn’t Blair populist when he won his landslide victory in 1997? How else could he have done it?
(And, if he is arguing against governments representing the interests of ordinary people, isn’t he supporting the Conservative government, which had the support of less than a quarter of the UK electorate? What kind of Labour politician is he?)
He says he has spent time thinking about how people in the centre should respond to populist politicians.
That’s interesting because Tony Blair is not in the centre of the political spectrum. See what I mean about deception?
He is a right-winger and a neoliberal – traits he shares with, among others, Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron. That’s why Baroness Thatcher was able to claim that New Labour was her greatest achievement, and why Cameron has been able to twist New Labour policies to his own ends.
Blair tries to get away with saying he is in the centre of the political spectrum because he, along with the other creatures I’ve just mentioned, dragged mainstream politics a long way to the Right.
Consider: Far-right politics would have every industry and service in private hands, entirely deregulated so bosses could do what they like, with no protections for workers’ rights or even human rights. At the time of writing, the UK has travelled a considerable distance toward this end, with only a short way left to go.
Far-left politics would have every industry and service under state control, heavily-regulated, but with protection for workers’ and human rights. To the best of my knowledge, this has never happened anywhere in the world, including the so-called Communist regimes that have been tried in various countries.
Centre politics would practise a mixed economy, with public services under state control in order to provide the best possible service at the lowest possible price, and industry in private hands, allowing entrepreneurs a chance to succeed, and to boost the national economy in the process. Public services and industries would be regulated – but not choked. And there would be protection for workers’ and human rights.
If the last seems familiar, it is because this is what Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour advocates. This is not “far-left” politics; people like Blair can only claim this because they have moved the mainstream focus so far to the right.
Finally, Blair says populist politicians aren’t providing answers. In This Writer’s opinion, it is a statement that cannot be seen as anything other than a lie.
Look at Labour’s failure at the general election last year. The party presented itself as an alternative to the Tories, at the centre of the political spectrum – and offered policies that the people of the UK simply could not support.
Blair’s centre isn’t providing answers. But then, it isn’t at the centre either.
Jeremy Corbyn is. So, unfortunately, is David Cameron – but his answers are causing uncounted harm to the people of the United Kingdom (and I use the word “uncounted” advisedly – it is a deliberate policy to avoid accountability).
So this writer cannot help but agree with Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK, who tweeted that a Corbyn government being a dangerous experiment is “undoubtedly true for the likes of Blair”.
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Then there are the words of Keith Cameron:
“When a war criminal calls a man of peace in government a dangerous experiment, that’s an enormous compliment.”
Tony Blair has said it would be a “very dangerous experiment” if Jeremy Corbyn or a populist politician like him were to form a government.
In an interview with the BBC, the former Labour prime minister said populist politicians, whether on the left like Corbyn or on the right, were worrying and he spent a lot of time thinking about how people in the centre should respond.
Blair famously said last summer that anyone thinking of voting for Corbyn as Labour leader because it was what their heart told them to do should “get a transplant”, but his latest comment may be his harshest yet.
Speaking to Emily Maitlis for BBC2’s This Week’s World, Blair rejected the suggestion that he was responsible for Corbyn’s emergence as a political force. He said it was “a result of the way the world works these days”.
He said: “It’s a big challenge for the centre and, when I’m not thinking about the Middle East, I’m thinking about this because I do think, by the way, it would be a very dangerous experiment for a major western country to get gripped by this type of populist policymaking left or right, a very dangerous experiment.
“I do think the centre ground needs to work out how it gets its mojo back and gets the initiative back in the political debate because otherwise these guys aren’t providing answers, not on the economy not on foreign policy.”