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19th century legal values

Tony Blair gave his annual Labour Party conference speech to the party faithful (and not-so-faithful) in Brighton this afternoon. He touched on a variety of issues but this series of quotes stands out and reminds us, as if we needed reminding, that this is one of the most illiberal governments since the Second World War:

We are trying to fight 21st century crime – ASB (anti-social behaviour) drug-dealing, binge-drinking, organised crime – with 19th century methods, as if we still lived in the time of Dickens. The whole of our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted. Don’t misunderstand me. That must be the duty of any criminal justice system. But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety.

It means a complete change of thinking. It doesn’t mean abandoning human rights. It means deciding whose come first.

The emphasis is unmistakeable, however much Blair tries to soften the authortarian message with assurances about defending the rights of accused persons. Under this government, the traditional checks and balances of the Common Law, already eroded by the previous Tory government, have decayed at an accelerating pace. The right to trial by jury, habeas corpus, double-jepoardy, admissability of previous conviction details… the list of protections that have been wiped out or been eroded gets longer and longer.

Blair, being the crafty sonafabitch he is, understands how easy it is to portray we defenders of civil liberties as “soft on crime”, and so the point to stress must be to challenge the false choice he offers: be liberal or be safe.

Far from making us safer, playing fast and loose with the Common Law protections of the individual are having the opposite effect in the medium and long run. Weakening the right to self defence emboldens burglars. And dismantling traditional legal safeguards will undermine respect for the rule of law among the otherwise law-abiding, to no good effect. And yet when people are convicted of serious crimes like rape and burglary, the offenders often regain their liberty after a relatively brief period in jail, making no restitution to their victims.

Blair, and for that matter the Tories, have still not grasped the fact that it can and should be possible to crack down hard on crime while protecting our ancient liberties. Or is that too subtle for for our political classes to grasp? Is there some great nugget of wisdom in the Blair speech that I missed?

Those so inclined to read Blair’s speech in full can go here.

59 comments to 19th century legal values

  • I wonder if this authoritarian creep isn’t the inherent result of world view in which ordinary people are helpless and untrustworthy? If you really believe that the ordinary citizen is so incapable, what other choice do you have to fight crime and terrorism but an increasingly powerful state? I think this is a case were people of good intentions reason themselves into destructive actions because of a flaw in their unconscious axioms.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Shannon, I am sure you have a good point there. In Blair’s case, I put it down to his limited ability to think about the long term impact of social policy, or sheer mental laziness.

  • Verity

    Shannon, when you say “I wonder if this authoritarian creep …” are you referring to Tony Blair?

    Jonathan, you are quite right to note that Blair has no ability to think about the long term impact of social policy. Neither does he have any historical perspective, or, indeed knowledge.

    Thoroughly modern Tony says: “We are trying to fight 21st century crime – ASB (anti-social behaviour) drug-dealing, binge-drinking, organised crime – with 19th century methods, as if we still lived in the time of Dickens.” As far as I can see, nothing has changed between the time of Dickens and now, so what makes 19th Century methods inappropriate? Anti-social behaviour (town louts, anyone?), organised crime (footpads, press gangs anyone?), binge-drinking (Gin Lane, anyone?), drugs trading – cocaine, morphine and laudanum were the drugs of choice back then, I believe … Why is Tony Blair so stupid?

    And does he think our liberties and laws only go back to the 19th Century rather than being a long, developing strand that has run through our society for hundreds of years? I wonder if he knows what the Magna Carta is. (Probably knows, but thinks it’s not “relevant”.)

  • HJHJ

    Come, come now.

    Tony knows best and if he’s not around, his government knows best. Everybody knows that government has more wisdom (otherwise, how come they’re in government), so the people should trust them. Civil liberties need to be seen in this context – the government will allow you the civil liberties that it decides are appropriate.

    All clear now?

    “Human rights” is a different issue, however. They need be upheld so that Cherie Blair can make an excellent living (aided by the legal closed shop) by suing her husband’s government whilst being funded by the taxpayer to do so.

  • Verity,
    “Why is Tony blair so Stupid” Because he was chosen as an acceptable frontman for Za-NuLabor,Prescott would have made the voters run a mile.What went wrong was they didn’t expect him to do anything – very much like the idiot son inheriting the family business.Zan -Nu thought that it could ride shotgun on Tony and did not understand the immense power of the office of Prime Minister,or the cabal of courtiers around him.
    Now all they can do is keep clapping his speeches and cling on to their sinecures.Stalin Lite.

  • GCooper

    I don’t believe Bliar is stupid. I believe he sees very well what his policies will lead to.

    Bliar and his “project” is about precisely what he says it is – change. He wants to tear-up anything that happened before he was born and start again.

    It’s an entirely Gramscian vision.

    That makes him evil, not stupid.

  • The Prime Minister is wrong. The state is not trying to fight 21st Century crime with 19th Century methods. It is trying to fight 21st Century crime with 1960s methods.

    If we were indeed applying 19th Century methods half the crimes he cites wouldn’t be crimes and the vast majority of criminals would be in jail.

  • Noel Cooper

    Those pesky 19th century values, especially number 8, must get in the way of someone who believes in the “radical extension of summary powers to police”. No wonder the propaganda machine now moves on to discrediting an entire century.

  • Julian Taylor

    And what exactly is WRONG with 19th Century methods, where police and the populace were fully armed and had immediate recourse to call upon mounted cavalry (the Chartist riots) to quell any disturbance … where the prime responsibility was genuine education of society – not the quasi ‘A grades for all’ of Blair, Jowell and Blunkett – and where Millbank was a place of terror (The Australian derogatory term for the English ‘pom’ comes from ‘P.O.M’, meaning ‘Prisoner Of Millbank’ where transportees where held prior to shipment) rather than the headquarters of modern political correctitude and spineless politicians.

    There isn’t that much different from then as there is today, we had just as much heroin addiction then (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Leigh Hunt etc.) as I daresay we have now. The only difference as I see it is that right now we have an extremely duplicitious Prime Minister, coupled with probably the most corrupt Prime Ministerial spouse ever seen in Number 10 … added with a totally gormless, and now proven as an imbecile, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    Roll on the next age of Lord Palmerston and The Empire I say, better not be Charles Kennedy in charge though …

  • Midwesterner

    If number 7 is true, why do police get to do things citizens are arrested for?

  • Verity

    G Cooper – I have been saying for nine years that Bliar is an evil, malignant spirit. I do not, however, credit him with any intelligence above average. People behind him, including the hideous Cherie (neither is she terribly intelligent, but she’s smarter than he is and she deals with the people in charge) and he goes along willingly as long as he can be on the stage, or on the TV sofa, and has his costumes to wear and can twitter away in the spotlight. (BTW, am I the only one who thinks he has had cheek implants?) Tone doesn’t seem to have exactly shone as a barrister before he got catapulted – SHAZAAAM! – into being head of the labour party as it morphed, under the tender ministrations of best friend Peter, into Za-NuLab.

    It involved costumes – I have mentioned this before, but what the hell – he had a full length Astrakhan coat made for swanking about for his visit to the Kremlin but his master Alastair Campbell yanked it. Now, doubtless it is in the dressing up box, along with that bike he rode in Amsterdam or wherever the hell it was when he was demonstrating how pro-”European” (whatever the hell that means) after he got elected the first time. It’s all about Toneee and props.

    Julian Taylor – that was exactly the point of my post, which you obviously didn’t read. But that’s OK. People in a rush to condemn the bizarre Bliars is fine with me.

  • Verity

    Bliar said in his twerpy little talk that the Tories were still “lost in the fog of ancient memories”. A teenage phrase. Everything over nine years is ancient, if not prehistoric. Socialist Jimmy Carter took political advice from Amy, to great international hilarity – remember? But even slick Willie was never quoted as taking advice from Chelsea.

    But Bliar’s till in there, talking like the teenage wannabee he was 40 years ago. He wants to be friends with clapped out rock stars (who don’t want to be friends with him), he wants to feel young and trendy; he can’t let go all those little dreams he had 40 years ago. Who is ancient?

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    ” I do not, however, credit him with any intelligence above average. ”

    Indeed. I agree.

    Then again, “evil” and “genius” tend only to be conjoined twins in works of fiction.

    Evil is often surprisingly mundane.

    And Bliar is pretty mundane.

  • Bill

    Peel’s list is good, but I think some degree of confusion or lack of precision on number 1 is a part of the problem:

    “Principle #1: The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.”

    Whenever I hear the phrase “prevent crime” used in a political context it always sets off a little red warning light in my head.

    The justice system as a whole, including the police, as well as judges, juries, etc. does have the basic mission of preventing crime; it does so by lowering the probable gain of crime. It is preventative in a general sense, not preventative of a specific criminal instance.

    But the police (should) only explicitly prevent crime by luck — such as turning a corner when someone is about to commit one. Their immediate presence is a preventative.

    Only once a crime is being, or has been, committed do the police really fulfill their function, and can do so with minimal impact on civil liberties. But once a goverment or the public decides the police should prevent crime, things go South rather quickly. In order to do this it is necessary that they presume some degree of criminal intention on the part of those who haven’t yet committed any crimes and have the power to act on it.

    But in addition to the criminal justice system as a whole acting as a preventative, there is another important and necessary component which Peel does touch on in #7 — the general public. It is their responsiblity (and right).

    Unfortunatly what goverments have been doing over the last several decades is constraining it and often explicitly denying it, with predicatable results.

    As a side note, it seems someone should suggest to Blair that perhaps we should try removing the privelages of the guilty before removing the rights of innocent.

  • Fiona

    Binge-drinking is a crime?!? They’d have to arrest me about twice a week. What a horrible place Britain is becoming.

  • Verity

    “As a side note, it seems someone should suggest to Blair that perhaps we should try removing the privelages of the guilty before removing the rights of innocent.”

    Oh! What a good idea! We’ll demand this of Mr Bliar immediately! I’ll bet we could mention those crazy madcap mullahs at around the same time!

    Why are people so unable to comprehend that all this is deliberate? How naive do you have to be?

    G Cooper – evil and genius, as you say, are only conjoined in works of fiction. Can anyone prove otherwise? But evil and a pedestrian mentality that connects with other low grade forms of consciousness is perhaps rare and effective. The people behind Blair pulled it off, to tragic effect.

    Britain is committing suicide. Or, no! It is not that active. It is suicide by passivity. How very extraordinary. Such an aggressive and organised nation with so many incisive and brave leaders falling because little tenth raters like tone ‘n’ cherie, peter mandelson, “mo” mowlam, peter mandelson again, tessa jowell, david blunkett and the whole parade of nonenties are socialist/gramscian/communist and this is evil.

    Cherie – such a trailer park trash name! – and Tone both had fathers who were card carrying members of the communist party.

  • guy herbert

    security elephant Home Secretary, has been busy almost-but-not-quite endorsing torture, and explaining how the Ministry of the Interior (as I think we must start to call it) is now responsible for criminal justice, and indeed the whole of everyday life.

    This is an encapsulation of the method. Government invents social need/problem. Government makes rules to ensure it is a problem for you. Government offers solution in taking greater power over your life:

    Moreover we all face many occasions where we need to prove our identity, whether it is to open a bank account, take out a mortgage, claim a benefit, pass through a border control, get a Criminal Records Bureau clearance or many other basic transactions.

    An up-to-date ID card system will make all of these transactions easier for the individual and beneficial for the state.

    You should really read the whole thing.

  • Julian Taylor

    Verity, I always read your posts through :)

    Bliar said in his twerpy little talk that the Tories were still “lost in the fog of ancient memories”.

    Actually for once Our Little Tony is probably correct. Look at the inane Rifkind coupled with the machiavellian Howard and temper that with both Liam Fox and Purple Ken Clarke and one does see a group of hasbeens lost in the fog of ancient memories. I am far more eager to see the Tory Party conference this year than I have been for some time now, although Blair’s masterstroke on Gordon Brown will take some beating by any means.

  • pommygranate

    I can only read these “Tony Blair’s an idiot” comments in utter astonishment. He is the single most successful peace-time politician of modern times (success being defined as the ability to win elections).

    I don’t susbscribe to the conspiracy theorists’ view that Blair has masterminded a plan to drag us into an egalitarian, multiculti nightmare. If he has, then you would have to say that he has executed the plan to perfection.

    Blair’s problem is exactly this – execution. What he says and what he actually does have always been diametric opposites.

    The key line in his speech yesterday was that “our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety”. This is what people want to hear and it is exactly right.

    Where Blair falls down is that law-abiding citizens do not live in safety because the criminal justice system is not working. His execution is failing.

  • andrew

    Can someone please explain to me what the prefix za- in za-nulab is supposed to mean. Thanks in advance!

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Pommy, Blair is indeed a brilliant tactician when it comes to winning and keeping power. When it comes to using it for constructive ends, however, he is in a far less elevated class. He pursues power out of a messianic desire to reshape society and the world without regard to the limitations of state action.

    Sometimes he manages to do the right thing – kick out Saddam – but this is almost accidental. He occasionally talks sense, such as bashing anti-Americanism of the left. But I can think of nothing done by this government that is good apart from making the BoE independent and the occasional sensible tweak to the odd law here and there. Otherwise, this government is a nannying, authortarian washout. Nothing very clever about that.

  • HJHJ

    Andrew,

    ZANU (or rather ZANU-PF) is the governing party in Zimbabwe (i.e. Mugabe’s outfit).

    I think it stands for Zimbabwe African National Union. The PF stands for Patriotic Front. I think two parties merged, hence the convoluted name.

  • John K

    Verity:

    Cherie’s dad was the actor Tony Booth. A drunken fornicator (I’m not criticising him for it) and a lefty, but not, I think, a card carrying member of the CP.

    Toni’s dad was a Conservative I believe, but now has to support NL publicly for the lad’s benefit.

    I feel more and more that Toni is by instinct (though he’d never admit it) a Fascist. If he’d been around in Italy in the 1920′s he’d have been all in favour of new stuff like bread and biplanes, and against boring old pasta. For Toni, as for Mussolini, the individual only matters insofar as he is a part of the state. Everything for the state, nothing outside the state.

    Toni even shares another of Musso’s traits. He embarks on foreign wars, but does not bother to fund or equip the armed forces properly. Musso ended up hanging by his feet from a lamp post for that booboo, but I doubt Toni will.

    As for Clara Petacci, sorry, Imelda, sorry Cherie, did you hear her cackle at her book signing when some hack asked her when il Duce would be leaving Number 10? As if she’d let him give up the reigns of power before he has to. She’s got another four years to fill her boots (and sling backs, stillettos etc etc etc) and she fully intends to make the most of it.

    This is where the fun will be. It is quite plain that Gordon has had enough and wants it now, and equally plain that Toni likes being the Great Helmsman, and wants to stay until 2009. Meanwhile Heinrich, sorry, Jack Straw is biding his time. Should be good to watch, especially if you are not unfortunate enough to live under the control of these Fascistic authoritarian buffoons. In that sense, the joke’s on us.

  • Julian Taylor

    The key line in his speech yesterday was that “our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety”. This is what people want to hear and it is exactly right.

    Exactly. Unfortunately Tony Blair’s concept of allowing law-abiding people to live in safety means that those law-abiding citizens need to be monitored and controlled to ensure that they are doing just that and that’s what I, and I daresay others, strongly object to. While I agree with your view on Blair I don’t see that one can surmise that he is the most successful peace-time politician of the modern age simply from the fact that he only wins elections – being a politician entails a wee bit more than just that I think. All we appear to see from Blair, and hear from his various ex ministers, is his desperate desire for a place in the history books at any cost, which at least he will probably get should he secure a fourth term in office.

  • John K

    which at least he will probably get should he secure a fourth term in office.

    That should not happen, given that he has publicly stated he will not run again, and as yet he still lacks the powers to consign that statement to the memory tube. Of course, if Gordon, a notorious depressive, were ever to go for a walk in the woods with a bottle of pain killers and a blunt penkife, things might change. The number 2 rarely gets the number 1 job. Look out Gordon, Jack Straw’s behind you!

  • Andrew Duffin

    Pommy:

    “He is the single most successful peace-time politician of modern times (success being defined as the ability to win elections).”

    How odd.

    I am sure I remember some other Prime Minister winning three general elections in a row.

    The name’ll come to me in a minute…

  • Pete_London

    Pommygranate

    You’re wrong. Like Andrew Duffin, I seem to recall another PM who won three elections not so long ago. As for Where Blair falls down is that law-abiding citizens do not live in safety because the criminal justice system is not working, the criminal justice system is working perfectly well. You just need to look at it from a Gramscian view. In any case, the actual reason why many do not now live in safety is that fatherhood has long been on the decline. This government is simply the latest in a long line of governments encouraging the break up of the family unit. Ok, the Tories may pay lip service to family values, but they’re too bloody stupid to see that if you’re serious about long-term reductions in crime then you must eliminate rewards for being a single mother and an absent father.

  • GCooper

    Jonathan Pearce writes:

    ” Blair is indeed a brilliant tactician when it comes to winning and keeping power.”

    I know people keep saying this, but is it actually true, or is it one of those ‘facts’ that becomes established by dint of repetition?

    Context being everything, we have to consider the quality of opposition Blair has faced. And it hasn’t been good. The Conservative Party imploded after the sacking of Margaret Thatcher and has still to recover (if it ever can). Major defeated himself and, since then, all he has had to do has been hang on in the face of an increasingly irrelevant pack of no-hopers, aided at every turn by almost the entire broadcast (and much of the other) media.

    Thinking of Tony Bliar as anything other than a lucky chancer, who found himself in the position of a third division team playing a bunch of schoolboys, is, I would suggest, giving him far more credit than he actually deserves.

  • pommygranate

    Pete – couldn’t agree with you more. Absent and irresponsible fathers are probably the single most destructive factor in society right now.

    But this is precisely the point i make about Blair. On the one hand he says that “law abiding citizens must live in safety” but then fails to do anything to encourage couples to stay together (tax breaks for instance), despite overwhelming proof that the break up of the family is the single biggest contributor to crime.

    Regarding your and Andrew’s comparison to Thatcher, i’m afraid there is none. Blair inherited an utter shambles, proceeded to slaughter the competition three times, and will win a fourth election (paddypower are offering 7-4 on the Tories, 80-1 on the Libs and 2-5 on Labour), albeit with a reduced majority. Thatcher’s legacy was to hand over the reins to a man who destroyed the party. No comparison.

  • I watched the speech as well and while it was not as appalling as Brown’s or Clarke’s it didn’t really say much at all. Tony is a good speaker how is government is anything but. Making the BoE independent was a great idea (a Tory one that he pinched) and that is about all the good he has done domestically. His government has made Britian a less safe place and a more expensive one to live in. Instead of cutting taxes Blair & Co come up with great money sinks like the bloody Olympics. They have screwed up the House of Lords and made some idiotic Constitutional changes.

    I too seem to remember another PM who won three elections.

  • Julian Morrison

    Why are these “21st century crimes”? Anti-social behaviour, binge-drinking, organised crime – all have been around since prehistory. So has drug-dealing, although it wasn’t illegal.

    TB isn’t dumb or evil, he’s ideology-blind. Like all progressives he believes the world was reborn somewhere around the 1960s, and nothing from before then has meaning or value. Events before then don’t count as test cases. The fact that arbitrary power was thoroughly tried, and rejected as more trouble than it was worth, doesn’t register. He just sees the rejection as an annoying limitation, arising unexplained out of “ancient history”, and to be swept aside.

  • JayN

    The whole of our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted. Don’t misunderstand me. That must be the duty of any criminal justice system. But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety.

    So surely the first rules of law should ensure that law-abiding people cannot be persecuted by police, government and the judiciary and live safely in the knowledge they won’t be wrongly convicted at the whim of the establishment. A good start might be, I don’t know, habeas corpus, double jeopardy, trial by a jury of your peers?

    I don’t understand how this government can be SO blind to these things, whether TB is intelligent or not, his actions repeatedly fail rational analysis. He plays to the crowd, and increases that crowd by distributing tax payers money, without regard to the duty of responsibility that comes with it.

  • Verity

    John K – Look out Gordon, Jack Straw’s behind you!

    The thought of either Gordon Brown or Jack Straw behind me gives me the screaming meemies.

    Pommygranate – Thatcher’s legacy was to hand over the reins to a man who destroyed the party. No comparison.

    Thatcher’s legacy was to drag the old working class up and make them property owners and share owners and give them, quite rightly, middle class aspirations. Thatcher’s legacy was to have governments all over the world privatising public utilities and services and giving people more choice and competitive customer service. Real, solid lasting achievements that affected hundreds of millions outside her own country, too. Thatcher’s legacy was, in partnership with Ronald Reagan, bringing down the Berlin wall and the entire edifice of the USSR. No comparison.

    Julian Morrison – Blair is very empty and so-so stupid. Too stupid to be a leader of a town council, but he is excellent at playing the role of reassuring front man for the people with the agenda to push. He doesn’t truly understand what he is being told to do, which is why he does badly at spontaneous interviews, but he appears on the stage and delivers his lines.

    I agree with G Cooper. Blair’s a lucky chancer who made an acceptable front man for an unelectable party who were grateful for his (meagre; he can only play himself) acting abilities. Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and his other handlers got on with setting the agenda and Blair said his lines.

    John K (again) – I read on Biased BBC a couple of days ago by someone who is researching the backgrounds of the cabinet that Tony Blair’s father was a card carrying member of the communist party and so was Cherie’s dad. I wish I could remember which thread it was on. Maybe it was in their youths. I don’t know.

    Yes, Blair is a Fascist; there is no question about it, as is Imelda, aka Elena Ceaucescu.

  • Pi.

    Interesting also to note that Blair, in a radio interview, claimed that the occupation of Iraq is continuing according to UN Mandate.

    Cherie Blair was seen at the Labour Party Conference sporting an ‘I love TB’ badge. Radio comment: ‘Me too, and many other infectious diseases.’

  • pommygranate

    Verity – pls read my initial post. I defined success as the ability to win elections. Of course there is no comparison between the achievements of Blair and Thatcher once in power.

    And anyone who believes Blair is a lucky chancer is seriously deluding themselves. Blair is a masterful politician and the Conservative Party are dead and buried. Two incontrovertible facts.

  • GCooper

    pommygranate writes:

    “And anyone who believes Blair is a lucky chancer is seriously deluding themselves. Blair is a masterful politician and the Conservative Party are dead and buried.”

    But what you don’t seem able to understand is that the Conservatives buried themselves. Bliar simply scrabbled a little fresh earth on the mound.

    As has been said many times before, oppositions do not win British elections. Governments lose them.

  • Ah Yes! TB,the disease that Za-NuLabor has reintroduced as it drags us screaming out of the 19th century……..and into the 18th!

  • Pete_London

    pommygranate

    You seem genuinely surprised that Blair says one thing and does another:

    On the one hand he says that “law abiding citizens must live in safety” but then fails to do anything to encourage couples to stay together (tax breaks for instance), despite overwhelming proof that the break up of the family is the single biggest contributor to crime.

    Well, no shit! Just in here alone Verity, I and many others have banged on repeatedly that Blair is a chronic liar. It’s what he does. He’s a chameleon. His trick since day one has been to tell his audience what it wants to hear. The only group who ever saw through this charade is the Women’s Institute. Do you remember that slow handclap? That lost look on his face? Glorious! He’s flitted from Indian billionaires to rock stars to sink estates to American Presidents to the middle class and bullshitted everyone. Yet those wonderful women are the only people who have ever told him he’s full of crap and to get lost. Look at Blair for what he is, not for what comes out of his mouth. The destruction of Great Britain is his aim, everything he does is designed towards this end. He and his bedfellows know that the family represents parental authority and responsibility. Do away with it and in a couple of generations moral decency will be utterly eroded. The Women’s Institute saw through him six years ago yet STILL this corrupt, fascistic, anti-British liar gets away with it. Wakey wakey.

  • pommygranate

    Bliar simply scrabbled a little fresh earth on the mound.

    GCooper – he did so much more than that!

    He appealed to Middle England (John Smith and Neil Kinnock didn’t), he adopted conservative slogans (“tough on crime, tough on the..” “education, education, education..” etc etc), he immediately took on the hardliners that so scared 3/4 of the country by abolishing Clause 4, he placed women in senior positions, he praised Maggie whilst kowtowing to the Unions (he is best when he is all things to all people) and he prudently re-confirmed the Tories’ spending plans on first coming into office.

    But most importantly, he made the Tory party redundant by pretending to be a Tory.

    He is many things, but he is not dumb nor is he a lucky chancer.

  • GCooper

    pommygranate writes:

    “He is many things, but he is not dumb nor is he a lucky chancer.”

    Was it Bill or was it Ben? Personally, I think the little weed knows something about it. The little weed called Mandleson.

    I believe you’re giving Bliar far more credit than he deserves.

  • Verity

    Yes, the WI’s slow handclap warmed the cockles of my heart. Yet no one since has had the quickness of perception of this group of unexceptional middle aged, middle England women. I especially liked it that at first he thought it was the beginning of applause, and he paused and said, “Thank you!” Then the look of terror spread over his vacuous little face as he realised he was in a room full of people who didn’t approve of him.

    I think the Conservative Party have done a pretty good job of suicide. They let Blair steal their clothes; they let themselves become so browbeaten they began thinking up ways to emulate Blair and Za-NuLab. Yes, Blair adopted Conservative style slogans like “Tough on crime, tough on …” and the “Edjoocayshun” mantra, and crime has soared out of control, the police no longer protect the public or even respect them and British state education has gone through the floor. Talk, talk, talk, talk. Charles Clarke said he had banned Omar Bakri from ever returning to Britain when he took his hurried Beirut city break, and two weeks later Bakri was not only back in Britain, but was giving interviews. This is surely the most hollow, empty government Britain has ever endured.

    As to Blair placing women in senior positions (first having created the senior positions – the minister of safety pins) there has never been any demand for this. I for one feel it is an exceptional woman who can govern with clarity and steadiness. America seems to produce more (always excluding the lovely governor of Louisiana) competent women in government than does Britain, which has Tessa Jowell, Patricia Hodgson – I can’t remember all of their bossy, interfering names, all pushing the Swedish agenda.

  • Verity

    G Cooper – What Bill and Ben? What does the slimey Mandelson know?

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “What does the slimey Mandelson know?”

    Sorry if I was being obscure. I meant to imply that Za-NuLabour was the creation of Peter Mandelson and one or two others. Not of Bliar. He’s just the front man for the whole, corrupt gang of wreckers.

  • Verity

    G Cooper – Yes, it’s always been terribly obvious that he’s the front man. Campbell and Mandelson were two of his handlers, but possibly they became too well known in their own right. I don’t know who’s managing him now – other than Cherie, but she’s always been in on the act – but there will be others, equally vicious and destructive.

    What Blair does is say things and mistake the word for the deed. Or hopes that other people do. He’s going to bring down crime. He took it up to undreamed of elevations. He was going to improve education. He trashed it and destroyed the university system. He was definitely going to control immigration. He destroyed the policing of our borders and they’re flooding in – legally and illegally. He was going to hire more police. He created a chippy, politically correct police force that doesn’t police. After the terrorist bombings in London he said, and I quote, “Let there be no mistake. The rules of the game are changing.” And invited Cat Stevens, banned from entering the US, into No 10 as an “advisor” and has done absolutely nothing about the terrorists. Absolutely nothing about the murder and maiming of over 700 innocent people. All fur coat and no knickers.

    He’s a wide boy. A shyster. A con artist. What still astounds me is, the British do indeed take his words for action. Many really do think he is doing something about terrorism in Britain. But he’s not. He’s made his little dramatic statement – well lit and made up with make-up paid for by the British taxpayer – and skipped off to something new.

    I have a theory that, malheureusement, he does not really have a heart condition. I think he had plastic surgery.

  • Julian Taylor

    Verity, I bet its not a heart condition at all. Cherie found the ‘special’ electrical equipment that Margaret Thatcher used to use to occasionally give herself a minor electical stimulus and now Our Little Tony uses it to help him get through the day. The problem is that Cherie has no concept, as we have all seen too clearly, of moderation – so Our Little Tony could probably now do a Fester Addams and light up lightbulbs without the need to plug into the mains grid …

  • Verity

    Hmmm, Julian. I don’t think I follow that, although, as it seems to be full of vitriol for el Phonio Antonio, I’ll go ahead and endorse it anyway.

    But personally, I believe he had cheek implants, like Mariah Carey, to raise his sagging face. He cannot face the idea of getting middle aged (tip to Tony: you’re already there, sweetheart). I’ve noticed that recently, his cheeks look like shiny little round pads perched on top of his cheekbones.

    Just a kindly observation.

  • Michael Adams

    I wonder whether Blair is really as ignorant of history as you say. Compared to most Americans, he probably comes off at least half literate. I’m usually impressed at the average Brit’s knowlege of history, except for my sister-in-law but ,well don’t get me started. However, what I really wanted to say was that, in my life, nearly fifty-five years, I have found that the first intgelligent step I take in decision-making is to get down to the most basic questions. In the case of counter-terrorism, we face similar, though not identical, issues on both banks of the Atlantic. So, I’ll put the basic question thusly: in history, who has killed more, individual criminals, or governments? Of course, governments win a thousand fold. Therefore, most of the time, we need to err on the side of letting criminals go, IF the only way to keep them is to give the government power it ought not to have, or could abuse. On the other hand, the terrorists make their aims very clear, to anyone who’ll listen. They seriously propose a government that would be far more restrictive than anything Mrs Blair’s clever boy might dream up. So, I give them a tiny bit of slack when it actually comes to defending us. Of course, we have a fine, simple Constitution That Constitution says that when the Congress has declared that we are at war, there can be certain restrictions of civil liberties, and that those restrictions end when the war ends. If you all would like to use our Constitution, you’d be welcome to it, since we aren’t using it anyway. Now about those ID cards, over here, we have idiots proposing them, when our borders are as porous as a park.(Big Bend National Park, to be specific.) Just printing and issuing the damned things would take more manpower than checking out all the calls about suspiciius-looking characters. Even in the Northeast and California, where so many people hate the President, so much they seems willing to want the Islam-fascists to win, there are enough people who would be willing to rat out the dodgy-looking, if there were anyone answering the phones. But mostly, I object to ID cards, and gun-control, and a lot of other schemes, because they do more to control law-abiding citiezens than criminals.
    Now, as to your discussions in Britain, do you feel that Britons are becomiing more interested in security than in freedom? I last visited your beautiful country twenty two years ago, and , even if I’d been there more recently, I’d consider it impolite to offer an assessment. But, I’d like to know your views, and, if yes, what you think is causing such an unfortunate change. Even in 1983, Holland was much more into controlling people than in people keeping control of the government. France wasn’t like that, nor Italy. Italians traveling in Texas tell me that nowadays, they are. But, these are young Italianns, so maybe it’s not as bad as I fear.

  • Verity

    Michael Adams – Jesus Christ!

  • Pete_London

    Michael Adams

    I think I spotted a question amongst all that:

    Now, as to your discussions in Britain, do you feel that Britons are becomiing more interested in security than in freedom?

    Despairingly, too few people give a damn. Your average Briton is too interested in what’s for dinner, what’s on the TV and what their favourite big-titted celebrity tart wore to Elton John’s birthday party to care. I don’t care much for Max Hastings’ political views. He’s too much of a dim Tory for me, taking the line that managed decline is best, one mustn’t make a fuss. He was on the money in yesterday’s Daily Mail, however, in a piece taking Blair apart. Quote from memory:

    It is Tony Blair’s good fortune to be Prime Minister in an age of ‘celebrity’ culture, when the British people have given up taking an interest in the fate of their nation.

    An old German man, in Britain since he fled the Nazis in 1938 and a Labour Party member since 1948, was yesterday manhandled out of the Labour Party conference for disagreeing with the Foreign Secretary. A younger man who remonstrated with the oafs who dragging out old Walther received worse treatment and was virtually assaulted. Walther was then held under Blair’s anti-terrorist laws. All this for shouting “Nonsense!” when the Foreign Secretary declared that we went into Iraq to promote democracy and freedom. You just cannot make this stuff up! This is Blair’s Britain in Year 10 of The Project. This is becoming a totalitarian state with each passing week. Blair even plans to make certain events in history verboten, proscribed and off limits. The reaction of most Britons to all this is “I don’t care.”

  • Verity

    Pete_London – a most enjoyable post! Tony Blair has now personally apologised to the 82-year-old man. At least he is savvy enough to be aware that his minions went too far and had rung alarm bells in the press.

    But the gusto with which the young man was assaulted and the old man bullied and physically ejected, tells us England today is uncomfortably close to Nazi Germany in the 30s. They were doing what they thought the leader wanted them to do, and doing it with a very unhealthy relish. If the old man had been physically strong enough to resist, I’m sure those good soldiers of the Blair Reich would have beaten him up very severely, possibly causing a heart attack and his death. This is what England has become in just 10 years.

    If we ever get a civilised government in, the first thing has got to be a written constitution. We know now that we cannot depend on honour.

  • Julian Taylor

    Not only was the poor man evicted for simply shouting ‘nonsense’, but that he was then arrested under the new Terrorism Act when he tried to re-enter the conference on Wednesday. Nice to see that Labour are trying our their new improved authoritarian laws against their own supporters first.

  • The old gentleman should make his way forthwith to the Chambers of Miss Cherie Booth QC where he can gain recompense.

  • Verity

    Good idea, Peter! Except I hate to see Imelda goudging more money out of the state.

  • Verity,
    so do I, but for the hilarity af the Nation it would be money well spent and a far better investment than the Dome.
    If possible, Belgium should indict Tony for war crimes like the former ruler of Chad,if played properly all our new human rights legislation could be the source of a great deal of merriment.

  • Verity

    Peter – Hmmmmm … sounds like fun.

  • Julian Taylor

    We’ve already seen Cherie take on cases where her QC fee has been paid for by a shady organisation, namely the Shabina Begum case which she defended and was retained by Hizb_ut-Tahrir, which was banned with effect from 5th August this year by her husband – no doubt after making sure that the final cheques had cleared first I hope. I recall that the Luton school protested that the costs against them (Ms Booth’s refreshers) cost them at least one teacher’s salary.

    Suing the Labour Party for harrassment and intimidation, let alone illegal arrest under the Prevention of Terrorism Act should not present Ms Booth with any moral dilemma then.

  • Verity

    The Blair’s have quite a little cottage industry going in No 10.

  • Surely there is a conflict of interest,perhaps they should divorce.

  • Matt O'Halloran

    Michael Adams– As you say, Congress has effectively surrendered its most valuable power: to declare war. Even in 1941 FDR had to go through the motions but nowadays every crazy lunge at a foreign country is retroactively rubberstamped by the Swamp. There seems to be an unspoken agreement to let Bush and his neocon handlers and big business puppetmasters do what they like abroad– any monsters the Military Industrial Complex can slay for you today, sir?– while Bush is totally paralysed by the legislature back home and GOP guys spend more time fighting indictments than prosecuting policies. And of course a Supreme Court full of conservatives who turn out to be CINOs stands ever ready to stamp out anything that does not fit the liberal social agenda.

    Most Americans don’t really know or care much about foreign affairs except when, as on 9/11, they arrive on the doorstep. Elections, to the rapidly diminishing extent tnat they cannot be bought or gerrymandered, are won and lost on domestic distractions such as ‘gay marriage’, while the huge questions such as Federal deficit spending and the chaotic finances of the LBJ welfare state are quietly shelved. The Republican Party has become so much a pork-barrel operation– so little effective even as a brake on the growth of the State that conservatives are beginning to kiss it off altogether.

    Incredibly, Bush has been in office for nearly five years without vetoing a single bill. The only previous presidents to be so complacent were Harrison and Garfield, who died within months of taking office. Homeland Security is turning the USA into a paranoid place to fly, yet Bush winks at the incursions of millions of illegal immigrants and his officials complain at the voluntary efforts of vigilantes to patrol the Mexican border. The sheer incapacity of all arms of the government to deal expeditiously with natural disasters throws a lurid light on Washington’s pretensions to spread peace and democracy around a region thousands of miles from the ‘Homeland’. But politicians’ pretensions of competence usually correlate inversely with their performance.

    The trouble with those conducting this site is that they cannot or will not see the contradiction between their abstract confidence in liberty and their practical readiness to endorse the foreign policy which has turned America from the world’s object of sympathy to Global Public Enemy Number One in just four years. Samizdatistas rightly rail against ID cards without accepting that it is an atmosphere of synthetic hysteria about ‘Islamofascism’ (a coinage as ignorant as it is outre) which creates the possibility of such infringements on the liberty of the subject.