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Samizdata quote of the day

“I think this nanny state business, you know, is just nonsense.”

– Tony Blair, today’s BBC2 Newsnight, responding to the allegation that he is creating a nanny state

22 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Verity

    I think it has been agreed by a large number of people that Tony Blair is stark staring mad. So is the bonkers know-it-all individual from whom this idea probably originated: the gape-mouthed, rolling eyed, self-styled “First Lady of Downing Street”. They are mad in the same way that Hitler was mad. La la la la la la.

  • Strooth

    again with the Hitler analogy…
    I’m fairly new round here, but is this sort of abuse necessary? it undermines everything you say, dear.

  • Steve

    Now why would anyone describe modern day Britain as a nanny state? It’s not like the government is threatening to take our toys away if we ‘misbehave’. Oh no, they are going to sieze our cars and our houses for offending the local council.

    Given the record of police harassment of anyone holding views that don’t conform to the Labour Party approved thought patterns, how long until rejecting the Islington hive-mind becomes ‘anti-social behaviour’?

  • Verity

    Strooth, you are indeed the new boy, and if you cannot see authoritarian creep in Blair’s Britain, where he has taking a wrecking ball to the constitution and tried to nationalise families, perhaps, dear boy, you are missing the point that everyone else understands.

    If you sincerely think that criticising Tony Blair and naming him for what he is is “abuse”, perhaps you don’t belong in the political commentary game. I have never seen the criticism of a political leader labelled “abuse” before.

    What do you call the endless catcalling of George Bush? Calling him a murderer because he is committed to saving our Western civilisation? Abuse?

    No? I thought not. That would come under the category of “legitimate criticism” in your world, I believe.

  • Verity

    The man is going to “evict” people from their own homes (not public housing). Evict people from the land they own?

    Who is in charge of this evicting, given that the property is privately owned? Can anyone, under the Tony Blair Reich, know that they are “allowed” to live in their own homes THAT THEY PAID FOR AND LEGALLY OWN?

    Britain has come to this? The prime minister (intentional lower caps to indicate the debased status of the office), wants state powers to seized people’s legally owned homes? The man is mad.

    Tony Blair is a very bonkers kind of a guy. He’s also terrifying.

    He’s going to find the legal means to evict people from their own property?

    He’s going to find the “legal” means to evict people from their own property?

    He’s going to find legal means to “evict” people from property they own?

    He’s not a fuckwit. He is legally insane.

  • I agree that the endless Hitler analogues are very unhelpful. Verity, I share a loathing of the man but to keep likening Blair to Hitler just guarentees everything you write afterwards will just be dismissed out of hand.

  • Verity

    Dismissed by you, perhaps, Perry. But thanks to you, this excellent blog allows the expression of a wide range of opinion and I do not make the comparison lightly. I make it because I believe it.

    Certainly, I do not think that Blair is genocidal. But he is messianic and displays a level of control freakery that makes Jimmy Carter’s White House look like Liberty Hall. And certainly he does not believe in Great Britain über alles. He actively dislikes his own country, and his vision is more Great Britain unter Europa. But he has destroyed ancient freedoms in order to force the citizens of Britain into his personal Weltanschuuang, regardless of their wishes.

    He doesn’t quite froth at the mouth when he gives his megalomanic speeches, but his hissy, urgent delivery is unsettling, and that lazy eye becomes disconcertingly fixed on the far distance. Sometimes he is also reminiscent of the more excitable elements among the S American dictator fraternity. He knows what is best for Britain’s citizenry of 60m and he brooks no dissent. This is why he has a cabinet of boiled vegetables.

    I believe the phrase that comes to everyone’s mind when they contemplate his authoritarian determination to make every Britain partake in a national identity card programme is “Papiere, bitte.”

    Would he start a war? No. This ex-CNDer doesn’t have the bottle. But he longs to be seen as a war leader, which is why he has joined in every scrap on the planet. So he could swagger around “visiting the troops”. Does anyone believe that if he thought he could get away with strutting around in a uniform and boots and carrying a riding crop he would not do so?

    Other people will disagree with me and I will read their arguments with interest. Certainly, the violently patronising Strooth imagining that he can dictate how I make my points is too pathetic.

  • Dismissed by you, perhaps, Perry.

    You miss my point entirely. I was not talking about me or the extent to which I agree or disagree with you, I was talking about how when you liken Blair to Hitler, regardless of your intentions or broader point, I suspect what people actually read is “oh, some one thinks Blair wants to kill the Jews and set up extermination camps, clearly a dingbat”… and they do not bother actually analysing what you are saying or the broader point you are making. You simply make yourself sound like a nutter. I am not saying you are a nutter, I am just saying that Hitler analogues should be used sparingly rather than as a matter of routine if you want to be taken seriously.

    Many, and I do mean many, of the policies this government follows (and the Conservatives under Michael Howard would have followed) would not be out of place in a fascist police state but that does not make them Nazis. Hitler and the German National Socialist German Workers Party did and believed in all manner of things which are about as far from Blairism as the Monster Raving Loony Party under the late and lamented Screaming Lord Sutch. But every time you mention Hitler (rather than, say Franco or Mussolini), people look out of their windows in Finchley and Bristol and Manchester and when they do not see camps surrounded by barbed wire, they start skipping over your comments.

  • Dov

    You can’t rationally liken Blair to Hitler. Period.

  • Verity

    Well, Perry, thank you for the courtesy of your response. That is your take and I can understand your reasoning.

    I differ, though. I do not think most British people think immediately of concentration camps when they think of Hitler. They think first of WWII, I believe. They think of the damage wrought to Germany and Britain. The terrible poverty and deprivation. I believe. Of course, they are obviously aware of the horror of the concentration camps, and that is why we have Holocaust Day. We must never forget. But I just don’t agree with you that the deaths of so many Jews is the first thing that comes to a British mind when they see the word “Hitler”. The stories from their parents and grandparents, and the photographs and movies of how Britain looked then, at war, are the more immediate thought, I believe. Americans, yes, because the population only experienced the war by proxy, so it is not as ingrained as it is in Britain.

    That is my opinion. Obviously, I could be wrong, and obviously, so could you. I know little about Franco or Mussolini and they don’t have the immediacy to Brits, anyway. It was Hitler we were at war with and it was Hitler who was in wartime newspaper cartoons. I genuinely see alarming Hitlerian tendencies in Tony Blair and the Brits take their loss of freedom so insouciantly, it worries me.

  • B's Freak


    By my reading of The Road to Surfdom, Hayek’s argument, in it’s crudest form, would be Verity’s Blair/Hitler or a Blair/Mao or a Blair/Stalin comparison. It’s the inevitable outcome of Blair’s wanton embracing of collectivism.

  • Very crude. Hayek does indeed point put both the common root and inevitable final destination of both socialism and facism in ways that are indisputable to any rational man. But that does not mean the flacid New Labourites are simply the same as Bavarian NSDAP boosters circa 1937. There are so many vast qualitative and above all quantitative differences that I can hardly believe I have to even discuss the point.

  • RobtE

    A good case could be made, I believe, for both Perry and B’s Freak being correct. There are, in fact, two Hitlers. The first is B’s Freak’s Hitler – the Hitler of history, whose policies are the logical working out of collectivism, and with whom all collectivists may be compared. But this is not the Hitler of the man on the Clapham omnibus. We need only listen to how the term “Hitler” is flung about to see that in the popular consciousness Hitler long ago ceased to be an historical figure and became instead an ikon. The general populace sincerely believe that the Second World War was about concentration camps, just as many Americans believe the American Civil War was about slavery. The result is, unfortunately, that when one wishes to make an honest comparison of a particular politician to the historical Hitler, the collectivist, one must preface it with all sorts of qualifications, disclaimers and explanations of what one is trying to say. Failure to do so will only conjure up pictures of jackboots and gas chambers.

  • Verity

    RobtE – The “general populace” in Britain and Europe is not under any illusion that the war was about concentration camps or Jews. They know that the camps were only discovered by the Americans and Brits after we went in to mop up. However, I have met many Americans who are under the impression that the reason for WWII was the concentration camps. I guess they think that Hitler fought for – how long was the war – five years? – because he wanted to keep the camps going? They have absolutely no idea why WWII started and no idea of what led up to it all the way from WWI.

  • Strooth

    wel, Verity’s original post was about Blair being as mad as Hitler. As mad as the one who invaded Poland, or the one who killed millions of jews.
    let’s not start splitting hairs here, Verity thinks it’s clever or creative to compare decent people like Tony Blair to evil genocidal killers like Hitler, and she’s wrong. far from being clever, it’s the sort of thing unhinged ranters get up to late at night.
    The only excuse is stupidity, temporary or otherwise.

  • Steve

    decent people like Tony Blair

    Of all the words one could use to describe the man who is presiding over the abolition of private property and imposition of a police state in (formerly) Great Britain, how did you come to choose “decent”?

  • Verity

    It’s not late at night where I am, but shouldn’t you be in bed to get up for work tomorrow morning?

    Verity thinks it’s clever or creative to compare decent people like Tony Blair to evil genocidal killers like Hitler,

    Where to begin? You clearly have no idea what Verity thinks; you only know what you extrapolate from Verity’s posts when filtered through a sadly dwarfed power to reason and the toxic waste of socialism and ignorance.

    Leaving aside your daring thought that Tony Blair is one of the “decent people”, I have never personally encountered a “genocidal killer” (pleonasm) who wasn’t “evil” (pleonasm).

    Hitler was wicked because of his a single-minded determination to dictate behaviour and events. Deutschland über alles. Everything flowed from that. Please read your history all the way back to WWI.

  • Strooth

    I say Tony Blair is a decent person.
    one of you reckons he is as mad as Hitler, and the other decides that he has abolished private property and imposed a police state!


    we’ll have to agree to differ.

  • pommygranate

    Welcome to Samizdata, Strooth.

    Celebrating diversity.

  • Verity

    Strooth – do try to concentrate, there’s a clever chap.

    At no point have I ever been motivated to write that Blair is “as mad as Hitler”. I have said he shares several mental traits with Hitler, and no one has written to say Blair is not messianic. No one has demurred when I write that Blair has a strong authoritarian streak. No one has written to say Blair does not strut around the stage. No one has posted that they don’t believe Blair, who already slathers on the slap, would appear in costumes if he thought he could get away with it.

    In addition, I have never implied that Blair is a mass murderer, although such a statement would win me applause from the left.

    I have said, without ambiguity, that it would be silly to suggest that he is genocidal or that he has ambitions to conquer other countries.

    I nevertheless believe that he shares several important character defects with Hitler.

    People on Samizdata generally express themselves with precision and you shouldn’t overlay what you suspect we probably mean over what we actually write.

  • Michael Taylor

    Manipulative populism; expanding zones of intolerance; erosion of local civic institutions in pursuit of central control; deliberate subversion of political language; abolition/subversion of the second chamber; co-option/subversion of the intelligence services; legislated attacks on unpopular minorities; galloping embrace of security state solutions; vast extension of surveillance; suspension of judicial rights; intolerance of opposition; appeal to the “modern” as a justification in its own right.

    Where are our autobahns?

    Verity is lazy to equate Blair with Hitler, but she’s not wrong to have caught the faintest whiff of classical fascism about New Labour. The main difference, I submit, between New Labour and the genuine article is that New Labour is all talk, whereas the classical fascism had an “action” fetish. To be fair to Blair, he very rarely actually does anything. . . . Plus, I think real fascism tended to spring from a romantic/pessimistic mythologising about The Nation. If Mr Blair was the real thing, he’d have exchanged the cabinet table for a New Round Table, and re-named Cherie Guinevere. . .

  • Steve

    When the government awards itself the ability to sieze your home for ‘anti-social behaviour’, to sieze your car for engaging in a business agreement between two consenting adults, to send its agents onto your property to check if you have had a new bathroom fitted so it can squeeze every last drop out of you, then yes I would say that Mr Tony Blair is having a damn good go at abolishing private property.

    If my views make you shudder then why don’t you complain to the police and have me silenced, that is after all the way we do things in Mr Blairs brave new world.