Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cleaning Out My Closet - or: I hope you're going to clean up that mess after yourself, Tony [as if...]

Tony Blair's time in office has been about nothing if it has not been about the rewards of deluded expectation.

Commentators have spent ten, perhaps twelve, years queueing up to acclaim Blair as Social Democracy's Rubicon-crosser, the third ways herald, and other such non sequiturs.

One always felt that a social democratic Labour Party in government would be a big growing up experience for the adolescent left which occupied the farthest flung corners of New Labour's big tent. Tony was not to disappoint us. Nor for that matter were his cronies or indeed the band of phonies and crazies who populated his wake - when Ian McCartney, John Reid, David Blinkered and Peter Mandelsson have all fulfilled multiple roles in your administrations, one has to accept that you are truly an equal opportunities employer.

Yes reality is about the crooked, crooked, timber of humanity. From which no straight thing was ever made.

Blair asked what Labour was, challenged it to be anything other than what he made it. A challenge that it often appeared to flinch from.

Blairism was undoubtedly a phenomena of power and about power; and like all true excercises in power made extant, power exercised, power apparent; it asked us either to take it like men or to try and take its horse.

However, for all that Sedgefield's Fettes Cowboy showed a distinct attachment to the saddle, there was nonetheless a feeling that maybe, just maybe, the media's heralds of the new dawn, the high priests of Hip Hop-racy and the Lords of the Labour New Church were all just a tad previous - and that, after all, the oft-derided real left, or 'Old Labour', would cope.

Cope, not because of its strength, nor because its support, nay not even because of inertia - but, above all, simply because disappointment and disillusion were after all A Way Of Life. For all that there may have been times when Old Labourites simply felt that the Labour Party was Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition - which of course, 90s dance club references aside, it was - one still felt that something called Labour might just survive the premature reports of its demise.

And, in a sense, perhaps those feelings were right. For it is after all Tony who has finally walked away from Labour and not vice versa. Nor indeed have the voters quite deserted the party of government yet.

Yet Tony has perhaps finally crossed a Rubicon, if only an ironic one. After months in which his team have attempted to persuade us that Iraq and crisis in the middle east are not in fact Blair's true legacy, [then pray what could be? - broken-hearted Trotskyists with tears down their parkas?], he finally finds himself washed up, on a sand bar.

Yes after all those months of trying to scrape the word 'Iraq' from Tony's political tombstone, the big ego has finally bitten the bullet [so as to speak] and determined that he must go with the flow and take his next thirty pieces of silver [or £100,000 per annum] where the tidal flow of his story [or was that history] drives him. And that is, inexorably, to the disputed shores of the orient.

One thing is for sure, Tony Blair's legacy will indubitably be found in the middle east. He at least has now accepted this, as, like a weary pasha, bloody but unbowed, he finally rises from his diwan to meet his nemesis. The question that he and all the other actors in this revenge tragedy must ask, is when the killing can stop and the healing begin; and who can turn the bone train around.