Since the nauseating backslapping festival that was Blair’s last appearance in parliament, there has been a relentless parade of documentaries on TV about him and his legacy. It’s quite tedious but I’ve been watching them all to help me remember what a messianic loony he was; time is a great healer and I don’t want that wound scabbing for a while. It’s been working too.
Tonight BBC2 aired the first part of a TV adaptation of Ali Campbell’s diaries and it really did shock me. I’d expected it to be a load of self-pitying crap covered in a coating of sugary lies but it wasn’t. It was certainly self-pitying and I suspect much of it was creatively embellished (especially the emetic descriptions of Princess Diana), but I was genuinely surprised by how blatant he was concerning Blair’s ruthless, single-minded, desire for power. He openly severed all links with Labour’s socialist core so he could get power. And Labour lapped it up, most of them anyway. The few dissenters such as Scargill looked as bemused and shocked by what was going on as I feel now looking back on it.
A quote I don’t remember hearing at the time summed it up nicely.
“Power without principle is barren, but principle without power is futile. This is a party of government and I will lead it as party of government.”
Blair said it, and Labour applauded! They should have had him sectioned! It sounds like a quote from Mussolini! Soon after that, he got elected. By people like me! Why ? Why did we do it ? I can honestly only think of one reason, and that is because we hated the tories so much we would have done anything to get them out. Deep down we still believed that because Blair was flying the Labour flag (ok, rose) it would still, somehow be ok. I’m so ashamed but at least, in my defence, by the time of the second term I’d realised he was insane, Labour was dead, and didn’t even consider voting for him. What was everyone else thinking though ?
That quote alone should have been enough to scare everyone away. The logical conclusion of that statement is that power is all that matters; even if it involves putting puppies in blenders. What is the point of another party standing against the incumbents if they have no differing principles ?
Ironically (or maybe not), ITV2 showed one of my favourite films, Election, straight afterwards. It’s a film about morals, ethics, corruption and the blind pursuit of power. Hmm.