Blair is not the first liar in politics and he won't be the last. He is however one of the most unscrupulous abusers of power. To give him his due, he is very effective. So was Adolf but it is not remembered to his credit. Blair is a lawyer and understands law in a way that most people do not. He has destroyed our legal protection against an overweening state and done it intentionally. Herewith are some books that tell us about the New Corruption or New Labour which is so much nastier than the Old Corruption that is the Tories.
Blair by Sean Gabb
In part, I say this without irony. Tony Blair is not merely a bad Prime Minister - he is also a profoundly bad man. He is driven by a hatred of England and its people. He is a liar, a traitor, a war monger. He has the blood of thousands on his hands. Not since the time of James II have we had a government directed so plainly to the abolition of our liberties. At no time in our history has an attack on these liberties been so sustained or so successful. So far as he opposes the continual forward drive of the Blair Government, and so far as he might be able to replace it, I welcome the election of Mr Cameron. This is not saying much. Let it be granted that they might combine, and that they might also be able to beat Mr Blair, I should probably welcome a coalition of George Galloway, Abu Hamza and Nick Griffin. The most important short term objective of anyone who cares about England must be to pull down Tony Blair and to execrate his memory.
The Rise of Political Lying
by Peter Oborne
May be somewhat partisan. He does not tell us so much about Tory lies but he is good on Labour mendacity.
He compares and links the attitudes to truth and reality of the Blair government and the George W Bush White House, comparing the roles of Alistair Campbell and Karl Rove. Oborne quotes a senior adviser at the White House who told a journalist that he (the journalist) was part of what the spin doctors called the "reality based community" and added "That's not the way the world works any more. We're an empire now and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that new reality - judiciously as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities."
Another review is:-
New Labour's contempt for truth, 18 Jun 2005
by Simon Cawkwell
I really only picked this book up out of curiosity. But it has been a stunning eye-opener. It is true that politicians make mistakes when asserting facts and proposals - the history of this facet of human life is endless. But it is quite another revelation to learn that New Labour has consistently sought to deceive the British electorate on a deliberate basis. Mandelson and Campbell along with their stinking crew of New Labour acolytes clearly have no intention of letting truth get in the way of their political objectives. Peter Oborne's timely book gives chapter and verse of this wholesale mendacity. I understand that no libel writ has yet been received by his publishers. Read and be appalled.
Lying in State: How Whitehall Denies, Dissembles and Deceives - From the Chinook Crash to the Kelly Affair
by Tim Slessor
The huge furore surrounding the government's dossier on Weapons of Mass Destruction in the run-up to the Iraq War, and the dubious process by which the name of Dr David Kelly was released into the public domain are, shows this trenchant and alarming book, only the most recent examples of a Whitehall practice that goes back as far as World War II. When caught out in a lie or a deception, runs the policy, keep lying and dissembling, and take all possible steps to cover the whole thing up. Earlier instances include: The sinking of the General Belgrano during the Falklands War; The loss of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Glorious in the last war; The mysterious Chinook helicopter crash in Scotland; The ejection of the native inhabitants from Diego Garcia in order to hand it over to the US military; Not only is such endemic covering-up by an apparently unaccountable Whitehall machine simply undemocratic, argues Slessor: it is the cause of scandalous injustice which ruins reputations and blights lives.
Dirty politics, Dirty times: My fight with Wapping and New Labour
by Michael Ashcroft
The one review to date is unsympathetic:-
How to survive a hatchet job - if you're a billionaire, 31 Aug 2006
by Marshall Lord
This is Lord Ashcroft's readable and interesting autobiography, which concentrates on giving his account of the attempts to blacken his reputation by an unholy alliance of New Labour spin-doctors seeking to damage the Conservative Party and Times Newspaper journalists seeking to create a story.
One of the worst legacies of the last fifteen years or so has been the extent that British politics and public life has become dominated by the tactics of personal destruction. Sadly, attacking the personal integrity of people who disagree with you or who are your rivals for office has become a routine political tactic.
The New Labour leadership have probably been the worst offenders from even before they were running the country, but they are far from being the only ones, and this book sheds an interesting light on how much some parts of the press have to answer for.
Lord Michael Ashcroft is a self-made billionaire who has a strong interest in politics both in Britain and Belize where he has business interests and spends a lot of his time. During the main timeframe of the book he was Treasurer of the Conservative Party. He was giving the party a large amount of his time, and amounts of money which would be considerable to most people but were almost certainly worth much less to him than the time.
It is beyond doubt that Labour spin doctors, and the Times Newspaper, launched a strong attack on Michael Ashcroft's integrity. It is also beyond doubt that many of the charges made against him were either disproved or withdrawn.
Obviously, this book gives one side of the story rather than an impartial account. Since the other side was spread all over many issues of The Times Newspaper and promoted by the whole weight of the government spin machine this hardly constitutes a serious imbalance.
Personally I find this book entirely convincing: not everyone will agree. But even those readers who don't come away from the book with a positive view of Michael Ashcroft can and should learn two important things from the book.
The first of these, and the most frightening aspect of the book is this. Ashcroft is one of the richest and most powerful men in the world. Whether you like him or not, and whether you believe his side of the story or not, he is obviously also a very strong and determined character. But the book demonstrates convincingly that to clear his name he had to dig deep into his personal reserves of courage and determination, and use resources which would not be available to most people. He was able to win the battle and is now Lord Ashcroft, but you wonder how many people, if subjected to the kind of attack which he came under, would have been able to clear their names. And as we have more recently seen, a number of people on the other side of the political divide who are nearly as rich as Ashcroft have not been able to.
Ironically, since "Dirty Politics, Dirty Times" came out, the New Labour attack on Ashcroft described in the book has rebounded against themselves in a big way. The same basic argument they brought against Ashcroft - that a rich man who gives a lot of money to a political party must be doing so to buy favours - has been applied to their own donors. This has resulted in a criminal investigation during which Lord Levy, a close associate of the Prime Minister who is Lord Ashcroft's closest equivalent on the Labour side, was arrested a few weeks ago. What goes around comes around.
And, speaking as someone who cordially detests New Labour, I think that at least some of the people caught up in the "cash for peerages" scandal are probably innocent of wrongdoing but that they will still be damaged by association with Blair and Levy and by the culture of suspicion which New Labour created to attack Michael Ashcroft but which has now come back to hurt them in turn. Perhaps that is the most important lesson which this book illustrates.
The Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze
by Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes
Reviewed by ed thomas (Prague, Czech Republic)
Ok, first things first- I did actually write one teensy little contribution to this book, but I don't stand to make anything out of it and I have been reading it with general interest so I think I can write with some objectivity.
It's a very worthwhile book. Some contributions are funny; some very informative; some one wonders a little at, but that is a subjective thing I am sure.
Basically it's a book with a lot of recent history compressed into its pages. It's a book which puts politics in the palm of your hand. It hasn't a beginning, middle or end, and you most probably won't read from beginning to end, but you will pick it up again and again and by the end you will get to know it quite well. It's an excellent coffee table book, really no matter what your politics are.
For basically it's not about politics Left and Right but about the nature of power in Britain at this specific time in history. It should be valuable to journalists, stimulating to lay people, instructive to historians. It's an artifact, and a pretty good one at that.
Errors & omissions,
broken links, cock ups, over-emphasis, malice [ real or imaginary ] or whatever;
if you find any I am open to comment.
Email me at Mike Emery. All financial contributions are cheerfully accepted. If you want to keep it private, use my PGP key. Home
Updated on Saturday, 20 February 2016 20:07:58