Blair to Brussels? Europe’s Oliver Cromwell


When Karl Kraus tried to express his hatred for Hitler, he began his book, Die dritte Walpurgisnacht, with the startling sentence, “Zu Hitler fällt mir nichts ein” (“I cannot think of anything to say about Hitler.”) He meant that Hitler’s hatefulness was simply inexpressible. One has the same problem when trying to write about Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister who reappeared in the headlines last week after he addressed Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party in what appears to be a bid for the future post of President of Europe, having just signed up to be a consultant for J P Morgan with a salary of £10,000 per week.
Blair had previously delivered a televised address to the French people in the aftermath of the election which brought Sarkozy to power. He spoke in excruciatingly bad French, as can be seen on Youtube, and the broadcast therefore encapsulates the full ghastliness of the man, his devilish combination of meagre talent and boundless self-confidence.
As Geoffrey Wheatcroft recently wrote in The Guardian, the key feature about Tony Blair is his love of money. Wheatcroft points out that his whole political career as Prime Minister has been characterised by scandals which have flowed from his readiness to accept money and hospitality from or via very rich people – “Dirty” Desmond, Bernie Ecclestone, Lakshmi Mittal, Lord Levy. Wheatcroft is one of the best analysts of Blair, and his book “Yo, Blair!” – the title is taken from the way George Bush was overheard addressing the British Prime Minister at a summit meeting – accurately captures the ghastliness of the man. But even his brilliant pen could never have foreseen Blair’s truly hallucinatory performance in George Bush’s annual Christmas pantomime in 2007 featuring his dog, Barney. (Blair appears at 5.07 minutes into the video.) By some bizarre trick of the subconscious, Blair evidently so revels in his status as George Bush’s political poodle that he saw nothing wrong with abasing himself and putting himself on the same level as the black Scottie by participating in this deeply embarrassing piece of American infantilism.
It is no doubt his remorseless social climbing that attracted Blair so deeply to George Bush and America. It is indeed a feature of uncultured British people generally that they regard their rich cousins over the water as a role model. For this reason, Marina Hyde compared Tony and Cherie Blair to Britain’s other star couple, David and Victoria Beckham – pushy, trashy and obsessively publicity-seeking.
Blair has recently attracted some publicity for his conversion to Catholicism. However, as many Catholics in Britain have pointed out, Blair’s governments were about the most anti-Catholic one could imagine. He personally voted against reducing the time limit for abortions from 26 weeks to 24 (Britain has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world); his government took the highly unusual step of using the Parliament Act to force through a reduction in the age of consent for gay sex against opposition from the House of Lords; and of course he was the most vigorous supporter of the war on Iraq, even though that war was condemned by the then Pope, while support for or participation in it was solemnly proclaimed ex cathedra by one American bishop to be a mortal sin.
These double standards go to the very essence of Tony Blair. It has been established beyond doubt that Blair lied in order to force the British Parliament to approve the attack on Iraq, in the face of huge public opposition. Blair knew that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction; he ordered the various dossiers produced about Iraq’s weapons and human rights abuses to be “sexed up”, i.e. for the claims made by the intelligence services to be deliberately exaggerated; he knew that George Bush had already decided to attack Iraq even as he pretended that no decision on the matter had been taken. The existence of plans to attack Iraq well before 2003 was revealed in the memoirs of the then British ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, and has also been confirmed by the memoirs of the former Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, who says that it was discussed in cabinet as soon as George Bush took power in 2001.
The consequence of that lie is hundreds of thousands of deaths (some say a million) and vast numbers of refugees. In addition to the terrible personal suffering of Iraqis, the standing of Britain and America in the world has been terribly, probably irreparably, damaged. Huge numbers of people who previously been pro-Western are now anti-Western, and the Islamic hornets’ nest has been horribly stirred up. Yet Blair has a serious chance of bouncing back and starting a new high-profile political career. How is this?
The politician in history who Blair most closely resembles is Oliver Cromwell. Both profoundly religious men, the religion of both men seems to consist mainly in their belief that they are themselves instruments of divine providence. Just as Cromwell leant over the body of the dead King Charles I and muttered “Cruel necessity!” – as if he himself had not strained every fibre to engineer the military coup d’état which created the Rump Parliament and the kangaroo court which tried the king – so Blair, when confronted with his own lies over Iraq, preferred not to reply but to say only that God would be his judge. In the mouth of a hereditary Christian monarch, that would be a laudable reply; but it completely incompatible with the dogmas of democracy to which Blair claims to adhere. According to the rules of democracy, indeed, it is the people who judge politicians, not God.
Countries get the politicians they deserve. Just as the election of the adolescent Nicolas Sarkozy in France betrays the decline of that once great country’s political standards – in the space of a few generations, France has been governed by a grandfather (De Gaulle), an uncle (Mitterrand), an older brother (Chirac) and now by an annoying brattish younger sibling – so Blair’s ten years in power shows the collapse of democratic culture and institutions in England, the Mother of Parliaments. His extraordinary grip over the party machine whose ideology, socialism, he personally hated, and his ability thereby to keep an iron grip on the political institutions of the British state for a decade, stand as a stark illustration of the systemic dysfunctionality of so-called multi-party democracy. Modern “democratic” states are now parodies of democracy, states in which power is in fact kidnapped by political parties led by unscrupulous individuals who, instead of being the vehicle for the expression of public opinion, have in fact become the instrument for its suppression.
The mediatisation of public life – the defining fact about modern politics – means that the electorate has the attention span of a fruit fly. If you don’t like what you see on the political stage, you zap to another channel. Blair understood better than any modern politician that the media is the main key to power, and that is why he employed the brilliant and brutish Alistair Campbell to be his press secretary. He engineered the sacking of the Director-General of the BBC, the Chairman of the Governors of the BBC, and the Editor of the Daily Mirror, because of their opposition to the Iraq war. If one tenth of this happened in an Eastern European or African country, it would immediately be branded a totalitarian dictatorship.
Yet Blair might well succeed in becoming the first president of Europe, and for precisely the same reason as Hitler won power in Germany. The great novelist, Thomas Mann, accurately described the reason why the Germans voted for Hitler: they said to themselves, “We don’t want politics, we want a fairy tale.” The modern electorate does not want to be confronted with the awful truth that it is governed by thieves and liars, because such a truth is too humiliating to bear. Instead, it wants to be governed by a non-stick jaunty man who can make it forget its woes. Politics as escapism – that is the true legacy of Blairism, and no doubt its future too.

Further analysis

@ Oliver of "faith and morals"


I understand from your bio that you are questioning your "political orientation", and it would seem that you have still some more questioning to do.  Surely, anyone who feels "sorry" for Hitler got some more thinking to do.  And someone who can not separate his emotions from empirical observation, is in dire straights.   Whatever your 'feelings' about Blair, he is not - certainly was not -  a "strategic nonentity".  Wasn't he the longest-serving Prime Minister in Britain's postwar history?

I think that we can safely assume that Blair is not for "legalised buggery for children", and that he does not approve of "soddomites".  And, if you think that a British Prime Minister is in total control of who gets to sit in "the Government", you have a naive and false view of how politics 'works' in a 'modern' democracy.

And no, Britain is not - at least not yet - a "global pariah state".  Most of the world is not even aware of what the state of "human cloning" is in Britain.   And if they did, they probably wouldn't "give a toss".  Isn't that a 'peculiar' British expression?

P.S. It is not wise to 'project' everything that is wrong with the world (or Britain) today on one single person. That way one tends to lose touch with reality.

Blairred vision?

Apart from the Chomskyite rant about the liberation of Iraq, this is pretty accurate. I just feel sorry for Hitler and Cromwell, being compared to a strategic nonentity like Anthony Blair.

As for the rest of you...

There was nothing "trivial" about the Blairite assault on Faith and morals on this country. His Government had outspoken sodomites as members (one of whom was actually infected with the AIDS virus) and legalised buggery for children. Trivial? I think not. On human cloning he actually made Britain a global pariah state.

And Hitler was not a secularist. The Nazis themselves actually invented their own version of Christianity and rewrote the Bible to make it more suitable for Aryan readers. Hitler frequently invoked God in his speeches in a way that would have made Alistair Campbell blush and shuffle his feet.

Analysis of "Blair to Brussels"

1) It is extraordinary that the author, Mr Laughland, starts off by comparing Tony Blair with Adolf Hitler, in terms of someone whose "hatefulness" is simply "inexpressible".  Now, in our times it has become quite common for some people to lose all sense of proportion, and of perspective, when it comes to expressing their disgust for some or other politician of the day.   For example, the so-called "Bush derangement syndrome" can quite commonly be found on the extreme-left, and even in 'moderate' leftist circles.  But comparisons with Hitler are still broadly regarded as inappropriate for elected politicians (who relinquish their limited powers) in democracies.  I guess, given the extraordinary length of Blair's prime-ministership, cases of "Blair derangement syndrome" can now commonly be found in Britain too.  

2) Most of the author's other complaints about Blair appear to be truly of the trivial kind, and are interspersed with an extraordinary degree of wilful misunderstanding and of anti-American sentiments.  For example, the charge that it was "relentless social climbing" that attracted Blair to George Bush and America, is laughable on its face.  Let's just say that Blair had been "attracted" at least a decade earlier to a very different American, Bill Clinton, when both had been engaged in moving their radical-leftist parties towards more moderate 'third way' positions.

3) I do not think that the author is qualified to opine on the "catholicism", or lack thereoff, of Blair and of his past governments.  And quoting "one American bishop" in that regard, does not particularly clarify matters on that score.  If one were to look at individual quotes on political topics (like Iraq) by American bishops, one could maintain almost any position on anything. 

4) The author's presentation of Blair's Iraq dilemma is very one-sided and simplistic.  It is as if it were taken straight out of the post-communistic The Guardian.  It does not allow for any 'doubt' whatsoever, and simply does not allow for the possibility of any 'positive' motivation on Blair's part.  

5) Mr Laughland's complaints about contemporary electorates and culture certainly do have some validity.  But he would help his cause, if he could display a little bit less of a certain kind of British snobism and also less fundamentalistic 'certainty' in his own thinking.

P.S. Putin

Some may think that I am a national-socialist because I praise Germans. By no means- I am not a German and not a socialist. All successful German rulers converted to Christianity, others disappeared in vane. Nazis were secularists and even worse, they were socialists. Socialists due to the essence of their teachings cannot be rulers, because their power is inevitably compromised by this intrinsically destructive and anarchic ideology. I would conclude, that when Germans accept a right ideology, they are a great creative force, but when a wrong one- a great destructive force.


I consider Putin as the return of traditional German rule in Russia. All successful European countries were parts of some empire before German tribes settled there and started to rule them: Franks in France, Angles and Saxons in England, Langobards in Spain, Swedes (Russ?, Vikings or Varyags) in Russia, which used to be the Khazar empire before. Freedom is American brand, which coinsides with a very strict control and law enforcement. My guess is that successfull experiment in American "freedom" is due to a high percentage of German immigrants (50% at the time of Revolution). Those countries which have lower percent, need a despotic rule in order to control the order, since most of the population is anarchy-inclined. Among those Russia, Italy, Late Austro-Hungary. A good example of a democratic country which ceized to exist due to too much democracy is Poland. And now we see that the future od democratic Europe is unclear.


@ onecent

You misunderstand pvdh's comments. He is a 'socialist', just like Blair, and he is not concerned with Blair's "nanny state" sympathies.  Indeed, he admits himself that "as a non Brit" he does not fully understand such concerns.  At least, give him credit for that partial recognition of possible own limitations.   This is a very old problem.  It is the problem of recognising the historical dilemma of how one can marry using (monopoly) government power for alleviating (alleged or real) 'social concerns' with maintenance of political freedom for the individual.


@ pvdh


I fear that you misunderstood me, but that is probably my own fault because of earlier poor formulation on my part.  By "narrowminded British resentfulness" I was NOT referring to resistance in continental Europe (and possibly in some quarters in  Britain as well) to Blair's possible accession to the European 'presidency'.  I would agree with you that he would not be a bad choice, given other more likely alternatives.  At least, Blair understands the need for western (Atlantic) unity in a very dangerous world.  So, we both 'like' Blair, at least to some extent, but for different reasons. 

No, by "narrow-minded British resentfulness" I was referring to the general unbalanced picture of Blair being painted by Mr Laughland, and also his needless (and stupid) anti-Americanism that is still characteristic for a certain kind of British 'conservative'.  'Rob the Ugly American' has already addressed that to some extent, and I may return to it later as well.


He is a 'socialist', just like Blair, and he is not concerned with Blair's "nanny state" sympathies.

I understand pvdh's comments completely. He's a "socialist" who is without much knowledge of, by his own admission, and "not concerned" about Blair's Nanny State pretty much sums him up. What is it exactly you want me to consider beyond that? It pretty much sums why there isn't any more that I care to consider.

Hillary and Obama...

If a Democrat wins the White House we can be assured that the US will travel down the same path that Blair took Britain. 


Notice Armor's superficiality?  Don't bother arguing with him.  He has what my pastor would call "invincible ignorance".



"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” – Thomas Paine

@Armor, get real

"In the USA, people of Russian ancestry are probably undistinguishable from other European Americans. It isn't so for Mexicans."


Are you suggesting Americans would choose looks over integrity?  Get real.


The issue isn't if Mexicans look like me, but, that they think like me, a person endorsing secular capitalist democracy. Most do.


Looks don't matter in the US as a criterion for good citizenship. Take a look around here, or perhaps you never have, Americans don't have homogenious faces. Ethnicity, a European face, isn't an asset if you are a brain dead Putin approving Russian seeking immigration to the US. Putin is popular, besides his luck with oil revenues, because Russians are willing to trade bread and security for freedom. After decades as needy sheeple they have chosen by default Putin, totalitarian regression, rather than risk. 

Russians & Mexicans

" Are you suggesting Americans would choose looks over integrity?"

No, looks is not what I had in mind, although looks matter too.
I think that children of Mexican immigrants commit crime at 3 times the US average (I don't know the real figure). I don't suppose that children of Russian immigrants commit more crime than the white average. At least, I am not aware that you have a Russian maffia problem in the USA.

Who cares if we are like.....

"And yes, the world likes the US less because of Iraq, but what does that mean?"

Nothing, Rob.  

Well, "likes less", but, still needed as the only Good Guy cop still standing that has the resolve and the means to thwart the world's thugs. Question to the defenseless and whiney Euroweenies, just who the hell do you think is going to save you if Putin, Pakistan(when, not if, the radical Muslims there grab that arsenal) or eventually the mad mullahs in Iran point their nuclear weapons at you?  Or, when things get violently out of your control with your homegrown jihadi networks?

The dirty little secret is that the world is very grateful for American intervention in the ME. The non-radical Arabs are grateful for the protection that our presence in Iraq creates. The Iraqis have a future based on free elections instead of tyranny.  The Europeans are grateful that any attempt to take over the oil fields by Islamic extremists will be countered and their economies won't be wrecked.

It's the idiots on the Left and their news organs embodied in the brain dead fact challenged Keppert(who drinks the Left's Koolaid) of the world that are too dumb to get that. They mistake statecraft for personal friendships, feel their way through life, and never examine anything outside of their one or two sacred ideas.

Blair turned Britain into a sewer of Nanny State totalitarianism, cheapened the culture and enriched himself personally.

@UglyRob & OneCent

Ugly Rob: " to be brutally honest, in the new world order, it matters a lot more what Indians think of the US than what Europeans think. "

It doesn't matter if the USA is unpopular. It is only a superficial judgment. The main reason why the USA is unpopular is because it is the best known country in the world. It doesn't mean other countries will stop doing business with you.

" If Europeans don't want to be led by the US anymore because of Iraq, then they can find someone else to foot the bill for their defense. "

So, if we say we like you, you will continue to foot the bill for our defense?
How generous! Thank you very much.

Onecent: " who the hell do you think is going to save you if Putin ..."

If Putin tries anything against Western Europe, please stay home and mind your own business. I would much prefer a Russian invasion than the current third-world invasion. Instead of saving Europe from Putin, you should consider saving the USA from Mexican immigrants.

Mexicans are a non-issue

"I would much prefer a Russian invasion than the current third-world invasion. Instead of saving Europe from Putin, you should consider saving the USA from Mexican immigrants."

Get real, Mexicans are a non-issue, this election cycle demands a resolution to the illegal problem. Mexicans aren't ideological zealots or needy sheeple with an attitude like Russians(80% endorse Putin's re-Stalinization) or Muslims. They are receptive to assimilation and secular democracy. Mexicans are also inherently conservative and have a low crime rate.

At worst, if the immigration issue never gets settled here, Mexicans are a far better infliction on us than brain dead and crime ridden Russians or Muslims.


Rob the Ugly American said this:

"If Europeans don't want to be led by the US anymore because of Iraq, then they can find someone else to foot the bill for their defense."

You said:

"So, if we say we like you, you will continue to foot the bill for our defense?
How generous! Thank you very much."

Where in the world did he say anything about "liking"? Europe's interests are no longer the same as the US's. You've chosen your "friends", so we ought to part.

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” – Thomas Paine

lack of love

" Where in the world did he say anything about "liking"? "

It is the global impression I get from his post. The more he says he doesn't care, the more he sounds desperate that the USA is not universally loved.

" You've chosen your "friends", so we ought to part. "

Oh no, please stay with us, we love you too much !
By the way, who are the "friends" we have chosen?


I think Putin is popular in Russia because of the economic recovery, not because of his dictatorial style.

In the USA, people of Russian ancestry are probably undistinguishable from other European Americans. It isn't so for Mexicans.

This misses the point entirely

I'm not exactly sure how to respond to some of the breathless conspiracy points raised by the article, except to point out that trusting information from a source like the Guardian (especially from opinion pieces, as opposed to news stories) can be chancy, at best, considering the paper is known to be both anti-US and anti-Jew; after all, during the Cold War it regularly published articles by KGB agents posing as journalists, and now regularly publishes pieces by apologists for al_queda, and the narrative on Israel there tends to range from published pieces by people who want to kill all the Jews and those who want a 'one-state solution'.

And we know, just as a factual matter, that the million or several hundred thousand figures of civilian deaths in Iraq are bogus, as it was recently revealed that the study was funded by George Soros as part of his campaign to defeat Bush in the elections (for which he illegally contributed over a hundred million dollars, and received the largest fine in US history by the FEC). And attack plans are regularly drawn up by Presidents as they enter office against known enemy states; even Clinton had a plan to attack Iraq.

In fact, I'd argue that Iraq was one of Blair's least mistakes. Far more egregious is the incredible growth of the state under his leadership, the surveillance society, the fact that one can get fined for saying unpleasant things about Islam or any other controversial subject, and that Britain has now slipped from the ranks of free states as measured by the Index of Economic Freedom.

Blair ruined Britain's exceptionalism, turned his country into yet another burgeoning European-style nanny state. It's precisely these types of states that are having the hardest problems repeling radical Islam from within their borders. The Muslim rioters in France just don't seem to care that their government was against Iraq.

And yes, the world likes the US less because of Iraq, but what does that mean? 9/11 was celebrated across the Arab world, those videos were blared on our TV screens, so it's hard to care if they like us less. The Chinese? The Russians? These are totalitarian dictatorship, so, again, who cares? India? Bush has an approval rating there that's double his rating in the US. Europe? Yes, they think even less of the US than they did, but we weren't that popular in France and Germany and the rest before (Clinton was greeted by rioting protestors after Kosovo), and, to be brutally honest, in the new world order, it matters a lot more what Indians think of the US than what Europeans think.

If Europeans don't want to be led by the US anymore because of Iraq, then they can find someone else to foot the bill for their defense.

Well, the question is, how

Well, the question is, how much money Blair received from Bush for supporting the war. Isn't that what the author hints at? The aim of the author is actually to broaden the Euro-American split. By the way, where the author gets money from, I wonder?

great article

It is really to be perplexed by the chameleon named Blair. Once he was in the Labour party, then he turned a liberal and now he's "pushy, trashy and obsessively publicity-seeking", earning fees from Morgan-Stanley. It would be sad for Europe if he decides to be candidate.


@ Atheling

"Spirit" is the name of a very small Flemish political party in Belgium. Generally speaking it is very naive-left in its world outlook.   This goes to show that translating from one language to another is always a tricky business, and that translators should make an effort to consider the public that will read their texts. It would have been clearer, for foreign readers, if the writer/translator had referred to Bettina Geysen as "a leader of the Spirit political party".

You better interpret the party name Spirit in the meaning of 'lively' (or spirited) rather than 'ghostly'. I think that they see themselves as being "lively" (i.e. of bringing 'life in the brewery'), but I see them more as 'very dumb' (from a Flemish nationalistic perspective).

Instead of being concerned with such details, I think TBJ readers should focus on the content of Mr Laughland's article.  It strikes me, again, as another example of narrow-minded British resentfulness. But I have no time now to develop that theme, and will hopefully return to it soon.

@marcfrans, british resentfulness

Marcfrans: “It strikes me, again, as another example of narrow-minded British resentfulness.”

I couldn’t agree more. I’d be very glad with Blair as European president. Of course not everything he did was good. But being hated by the naïf left and the extreme right at the same time is mostly a good indication for being a decent, courageous and good politician. I didn’t agree with the invasion of Iraq. But going against the mainstream anti-Americanism in Europe and Britain, because of your genuine believe that the transatlantic ties are more important then whatever ridiculous sentiment is courageous, full stop! And those who think that Blair is responsible for “an incredible growth of the state under his leadership” should cross the Channel.
As a non Brit I probably don’t understand terms as “Britain's exceptionalism” or “burgeoning European-style nanny state”. But it’s probably pretty safe to assume that people who need terms like that are short of real arguments.
Blair is one of the few politicians that are connecting human compassion, so endorsed by the left, with economic reality, emphasized by capitalists. He has my vote!

@peter vanderheyden

As a non Brit I probably don’t understand terms as “Britain's exceptionalism” or “burgeoning European-style nanny state”


Well peter, perhaps therein lies your problem.

Here's a classic example of Blair's Nanny State. (Not that the same lefty Orwellian tribunals aren't a factor in North America too.) That kind of disgusting repression of free speech belongs squarely at Blair's feet. Perhaps you need to educate yourself, skip over to City Journal and read from their archives Theodore Dalrymple's, a Brit, carefully documented articles over the years on Britain's decline as a civil society under Blair. That Brown reneged against a promise to give Brits a referendum vote on the Lisbon Treaty speaks volumes on the decline of democracy in Britain. Perhaps you are unaware that there is a lot of anti-EU sentiment in the UK as citizens there are aware that they will be surrendering their proud tradition of English Common Law to the elte in Brussels. Their voices will be silenced after that.

We in the US, "across the channel", have nothing like Blair's thought police in force. That's a false statement. You are so utterly uninformed that you would blindly be a Blair voter. You can have him.

Stupid Politician Tricks

Speaking of traitorous politicians (and women)...

"Spirit leader Bettina Geysen wore a hijab at the start of her New Year's speech in Antwerp this past Sunday, out of indignation with the Ghent ban on hijabs and a possible ban in the future also the in the East Flanders province.

The move was met with criticism from Vlaams Belang. Filip Dewinter said she "prostitutes herself for Islam". Dewinter said Geysen provoked all Flemish by giving her speech with a headscarf, under the cloak of pluralism and tolerance. He said that having the head of a self-declared progressive party, which stands up for women's emancipation and equality, decked out with an Islamic headscarf is too crazy for words. "The headscarf is the Islam symbol of the discrimination of the woman and of resistance towards our Western society."

The Antwerp Vlaams Belang head called the Antwerp municipal council to follow suit on the ban also in the civil service."

What in the world is a "Spirit Leader"???

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” – Thomas Paine