Why on earth is anyone listening to Tony Blair’s opinion?
I’ll admit I’m not a massive fan of the Labour party, and it is true that if they go too far left they will alienate some voters, who may switch to the Lib Dems or Conservatives if they don’t feel Labour is reflecting their interests. However, as the fairly recent surge of support for the Green Party shows, as well as Mr Corbyn’s supposed popularity itself, a lot of people do agree with these ‘leftish’ ideas and are likely to vote for them, particularly young people and first time voters. We need political parties that reflect the views of people in society, and if Labour becomes nothing more than a slightly watered down version of the Conservatives, why would anyone vote for them anyway? It would be better for them to offer a real alternative, even if that alternative alienates some people and has the potential to gain more voters, rather than offering no alternative at all.
I personally wouldn’t vote for them, but I would be even less likely to vote for them if they have nothing to stand for, and if they don’t even know what they stand for. I’m not saying they should be socialists, but they should offer some sort of alternative approach, and I feel a lot of the disillusionment with them is that at the moment they look very much like the Conservatives. All I know is that they need to make themselves distinct from the Conservatives or admit defeat and open the floor to other parties, and if it takes a radical to make this happen then so be it. He may not win and his ideas probably aren’t good (I have to admit I don’t know that much about him), but at least he would be offering a new approach and if that doesn’t work (Which it probably won’t) it will hopefully have opened the Labour party up to new ideas.
What is really annoying me about this though is that 1: Tony Blair thinks he still has a right to have anything to do with politics, and 2: People actually seem to be listening to him. I’m not anti war on principle, some wars are inevitable and some in hindsight had good long term effects. World War II for example, whilst it is debatable if it led to to or speeded up the execution of the final solution, and whilst the war cost millions of lives on all sides and was horrific on all accounts, I would say it was inevitable. Not necessarily that particular war, but I kind of think that either eugenics would have become standard practice (which would have been very, very bad for mankind) or there would have had to be a war to show the true horror of what people who believed in it were willing to do. Some wars will happen, and some wars on average probably needed to happen.
However, the Iraq war did not need to happen. I am not saying it wasn’t a bad place before the war, or that Sadam Hussein was a nice guy. He was not a nice guy, Iraq was horrendously corrupt and human rights were abysmal.
However, Iraq was by no means alone in that department. The UK and the USA cannot justify this war based on the need to ‘free the people’ when they continue to directly fund and assist corrupt governments, when they do deals with some of the most evil dictators in the world, and when after massively impacting Iraq and being largely responsible for a surge of civil unrest and fighting, they left Iraq in disarray to the mercy of extremists. If our government is so concerned about human rights, why did they turn a blind eye to so many other countries and focus on this one? The justification given was that they were linked to AL Qaeda and had weapons of mass destruction that could ‘destroy the US in 45 minutes’. Evidence for the Weapons was never found, and was not adequate at the time of the war. Also, whilst Sadam Hussein was a bad dictator, it is very questionable if he had direct links and was in alliance with Al Qaeda.
The war in Iraq was premature, it was illegal, it caused a lot of unnecessary deaths on both sides and the question of whether Tony Blair and George Bush should have been jailed is pretty reasonable. I’m of the opinion that the West should not run around trying to quickly ‘fix’ other countries and thus creating further problems and simply change the power from one dictator to another, but even if you feel this is the correct approach surely it has become evident that the war in Iraq was a failure on all accounts. Do you really think its better off now?
The rationale they gave us was that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, and that it had links to al Qaeda, neither of which were ever proven and are rather unlikely. By this evidence, they were either severely misled or they outright lied. Even if you don’t believe they lied, the war was extremely premature, caused chaos and has left us in the situation that now it may be necessary to invade but no government wants to re-enter. I’m not saying for sure that Iraq wouldn’t have been over run with extremism without the war, but it has opened up a very real reason to resent the west, both for its invasion and future handling of Iraq, and this can easily promote propaganda because it is true. The justification for war was wrong, and even if there were good intentions (Which I doubt) the fact is that the war was a failure, and the war was largely pointless and paved the way for current events to unfold. Whilst perhaps I am being rash thinking that George Bush and Tony Blair should be charged as war criminals, I do not think in the circumstances either should have any say in the future running’s of this country, and I question anyone who takes anything Tony Blair now says seriously.
Yes, he led the Labour Party to victory, but he is also implicit in its demise and furthermore whilst the middle way was a welcome innovation at the time, it is now commonplace and no longer seems to be working in their interests. The middle way of keeping both the poor and the rich happy is a good thing to aim for, but the middle way of not really saying anything at all but reiterate what others have said is not. They need to try something new even if it doesn’t work at first, to play with new ideas and try to be different from the Tories. This isn’t to say they can’t cut things, they need to cut things, and from saying all this as you have seen I’m not opposed to the Tories personally and agree with some of the changes they are making, but if there is going to be an opposition party they can’t just offer a watered down version of what the other party is saying with a sprinkle of the ridiculous stirred in. Maybe its time for a new party to take opposition that does not have the same ideological links that Labour does, maybe its time for a more Liberal approach, and maybe Labour doesn’t have enough of a vision or enough touch with modern society to stay as the second biggest party, who knows what will happen in the future but for the present all I would say is that they need an image makeover, and can’t stay the way they are.