by Neil Chapman
We all of us have a dark side. Could be just dark thoughts. Sometimes it’s a deep secret we don’t really want to talk about in company. Sometimes worse; it’s something that puts you on the same level as the people you despise. I’m afraid I’m revealing mine here. Don’t worry, it’s not illegal. It’s simply revulsion, a deep deep loathing of politicians. One in particular.
Why do I get this awful feeling that Tony effing Blair is trying to wheedle his way back into my life? Just recently he keeps popping up in places, on TV, in the headlines. I see he was offering Ed Milliband advice a couple of weeks ago, and it’s even been mooted he might replace him as leader of the Labour Party. Have I really got to start getting used to seeing his face all over again? That insincere smile, those darting crafty eyes, that smarmy voice that switches between trying to sound like a statesman to ‘Hey you guys, I’m one of the lads’. Is he bored? Looking to start another war?
It’s not just him. I have to declare an utter total lack of interest, trust or respect for any politician, not just Blair, it’s just that he’s the worst. And for this state of affairs I blame John Stonehouse. I, and many thousands like me, were victims of his behaviour way back in the early seventies. Heard of him? He was a somebody back in those days, a dashing, good- looking MP. A man with a future, already a cabinet minister no less and it was being whispered could go on to greater things. One of the few MPs then or since, that had any semblance of charisma.
Let me digress for just a moment. You should know that these were the days when MPs were revered, seen as gentlemen. Men of their word, men of honour and treated as such by the media. Fawned upon almost. And, even now, how important they think they are; how they ‘big’ themselves up. I heard one of ‘em on the radio the other day, describing his mates in the party as ‘war horses’ and ‘big beasts’. Err, no. For ‘war horse’ read prat, for ‘big beasts’ read fat, bloated prats. It was only when Robin Day came along they were shown up for what they are.
In the last 50 years or so, since I’ve been politically ‘conscious,’ our elected MPs of whatever party, of whichever sex have been regularly caught out in some sort of scandal. Usually, a couple of times every year, one of ‘em will get caught red-handed, up to no good. Sex, abuse of power, lies, you name it, they’ve done it. The recent expenses disgrace just about sums it up. Almost every one of them stealing, fiddling or just simply bending the rules to line their own pockets.
About the only decent one I can think of right now is John Mann. He seems an honest man. He ‘blew the whistle’ on the expenses scandal and was then ostracised by almost all of his so-called colleagues. Tells you everything, yes?
Anyway, back to the Right Honourable John Stonehouse. Following some boundary changes he pitched up in Walsall as my Labour MP and so I voted for him, the first vote I had ever cast. It was different back then. You voted like your father had. And his father. For your class. Solidarity brother.
Within 6 months or so, this champion of the people, this example to us all, this fighter for Socialism had gone missing. His clothes were found piled on some Australian beach a la Reggie Perrins. Had it all been too much for our hero and he’d committed suicide? Err, no. He hadn’t. He’d done a runner and nipped off to Oz with his secretary, leaving his wife and considerable debts behind. Taught me a lot about the breed that did. And since then, many others have with their lies and deceit, their shagging around, their hubris and conceit and most of all, their ‘in it all for themselves’ attitude. Trust me, the expenses scandal of a couple of summers ago is but the tip of the iceberg. If only we knew, if only we could find out.
But how times have changed. At least now we put the liars and thieves in jail. What a mob, eh? In recent history, the likes of Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer right through to a few weeks ago, Chris Huhne, another liar of the first order!! And these are only the ones that have been caught, the tip of the iceberg. What about the others?
And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. They’ve started breeding their own now. Have done for a while. They grow them in Universities, then nurture them in ‘research jobs’ then plant them out in constituencies and those with the better connections go to safe seats, of course. So we’ve ended up with lots of people – professional politicians – who have never done a day’s work in their lives (the current Old Etonian gang for example). Just the sort of people you need, to sit and make decisions that affect the 99.999% rest of us that have to work. Not.
But it’s our own fault, I guess. We vote ‘em in and let them get on with it. We don’t protest much, do we? Very, very occasionally but nowhere near enough at some of their antics. And then we vote ‘em out again. And why? Because they all end up being just as bad, inefficient and sleazy as the ones they replaced. They promise the earth and then make all the same mistakes. Isn’t it depressing? They don’t learn and it seems, neither do the great British public.. We fall for it every time… we think this time it’s going to be different, be better.
Is it just me that thinks this? It can’t be surely? Or is this country really full of sheep? Herds of sheep that are gamely following the ‘next big thing?’ It’s all PR spin. People getting paid fortunes to feed you lies. It’s astonishing really. Example. Look at the Nick Clegg phenomenon. Makes a couple of appearances on the live debates before the 2010 election, comes across as half intelligent, fresh faced and eager, and suddenly he’s the answer to all our problems. Hailed as the next Messiah almost. Yeah right. Cameron was the same, a bit. Even Vince cable had his moment as the next big thing, the guru we had all overlooked until he opened his mouth again and we knew why he wasn’t. And how do they all look today? Not quite so shiny, are they? And what’s the alternative? Ed Milliband? Ed Balls? Harriet Harman? Been there and done that. But the PR spinners are polishing their tarnished images of a few years ago and trying to make us believe that this time, this crowd, really do have the answers. Well, I’m sorry but that prospect frightens me. You can see why Blair, the great opportunist, is spoken about again now, can’t you?
But, back to Blair, because I really need to get this off my chest. It all started for me, the day after they (he) came to power after the 1997 election. He’s making a speech somewhere, can’t remember where, and he’s telling us, outlining what’s going to happen now that they’ve won. The thing was, it was all ‘I’ this, and ‘I’ that, as if he was going to do it all personally. He said it so often it really jarred; his strutting arrogance obvious even then. The word ‘we’ never came in to it. The word ‘we’ wasn’t in his lexicon until stuff went wrong and he wanted to share the blame. Since the Stonehouse business, I hadn’t taken much notice of him or any of the buggers, until then, but now I did. I was actually mesmerised by his ‘performance’. It was that of a man only concerned about himself, his status, his self-importance. We all know how he filled the vacuum following John Smith’s death in 1994, hoodwinking poor old Gordon in the process. Mind you, in hindsight, he did us a favour there. But in fairness a baboon could have led the Labour Party back then. Remember the talent he had around him? No wonder it was easy for him to become their leader.
What a roll call. John Prescott, Frank Dobson, Margaret Beckett, Clare Short, Tony Banks etc. And don’t forget Gordon next door in No11, curtains drawn, lights out, sitting there in the dark, fuming. Quietly fuming when he should have been practicing his smile.
Blair must have been depressed too. So depressed he rarely consulted them. Instead he patronised them regularly and when it came to the biggest decision a PM can ever make, he kept them in the dark and went to war with Iraq without getting their approval. Not until the very eve of the invasion. Not until it was too late. Just think on that for a second. Breathtaking arrogance. The fact his cabinet didn’t resign then tells you all you need to know about the sycophantic little prats hanging onto their jobs. No principles, no convictions amongst any of ‘em.
And who was it they were being this cowardly for? And for what? A brown-nosing little man who was doing all he could to impress George Dubbya, that’s who. His foreign policy, our foreign policy then was all about him being seen by the world as a leader, as important, a giant on the world stage.
It all fell apart for him though, didn’t it? His ‘Look at me, I’m Mr.Cool’ image, the one he still tries so hard to promote, all blown away in seconds. Remember the toe cringing ‘Yo/yeah Blair’ episode when they were both shown up for what they were. Blair the poodle. The incompetent George
Bush’s little lapdog. We might all have differing opinions of just how bright George W. really is, (am I being serious?) but in truth he saw right through Blair. ‘Yo Blair” he called as he saw Blair sidling up to him in his sycophantic way. Then he tells Tony not to bother going to the Middle East. But Tony splutters and stutters and says he wants to. He promises not to say anything significant, he’ll leave that to Condalisa. But George says no. So Tony didn’t because George had told him not to. The Prime Minister of this country being told what to do, by a lightweight like George W. Bush. The transcript of how these World leaders spoke to each other when discussing this issue that affect millions of lives is easy to Google. Go there. It’s horrifying. Even ‘Bremner Bird and Fortune’ couldn’t be so crass!
So Tone, your attempt at being a World leader didn’t quite work, did it? If there was any real justice in this world, you would have, should have, been tried as a war criminal.
How ironic that this warmonger is now a so-called Peace Envoy to the Middle East? You couldn’t make it up really, could you? And how are things going in the Middle East? Well it wouldn’t be
much use asking him, would it? No-one in the Middle East has seen him for ages. He’s sort of gone into hiding as we speak; dedicating himself to providing consultancy services to major companies that have reportedly paid him millions of dollars.
Any politician trying to make a comeback would be bad enough but not this one please. There is no-one alive on this planet I dislike as much. I say dislike, the truth is I cannot put into words my utter total contempt for the man. It’s wrong to despise someone this badly and I know it cheapens me, but it’s his fault. I’ve felt cheapened by him for years.
As well as the Iraq War, he left so much more ‘distasteful’ stuff behind him too. The David Kelly business, and the unanswered questions surrounding that. His expenses that conveniently got shredded in the midst of an expenses enquiry. Humiliated as the first PM ever to be interviewed by the police for flogging honours in exchange for donations to the Party. The list goes on. And on. What an unsavoury legacy.
Not sure where that’s come from, but there it is. Yes, I know that, arguably, it tells you more about me than any of them, There’s a few sweeping generalisations in there, but I do like a good sweeping generalisation. That’s what I think about politicians and Blair in particular. Not much I’m afraid. And since the Stonehouse incident all those years ago I’ve never voted. Yes, I know the arguments why I should; I’m not a fool, but I won’t be voting again. As I’ve said, it’s mostly the wrong type of people becoming politicians these days – professional politicians – and you’re welcome to them. And don’t get me started on the voting system either… approximately only one in five of the electorate vote for whoever wins. It follows then that we are governed by a party that four out of five of us haven’t voted for. And if you can explain the ‘fairness’ in that, let me know. And please don’t call it democracy!