Blair: Idiot

#1
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2244183,00.html

On November 19 2002, four months before the invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair made a rare attempt to seek out expert views beyond the circle of his official advisers. Six distinguished academics were invited to Downing Street: three specialists on Iraq, and three on international security. George Joffe, an Arabist from Cambridge University, and Charles Tripp and Toby Dodge, who had both written books on Iraq's history, made opening statements of about five minutes each. They decided not to alienate the prime minister by discussing whether an invasion was sensible or necessary, but only what its consequences might be.
"We all pretty much said the same thing," Joffe recalls. "Iraq is a very complicated country, there are tremendous intercommunal resentments, and don't imagine you'll be welcomed." He remembers how Blair reacted. "He looked at me and said, 'But the man's uniquely evil, isn't he?' I was a bit nonplussed. It didn't seem to be very relevant." Recovering, Joffe went on to argue that Saddam was constrained by various factors, to which Blair merely repeated his first point: "He can make choices, can't he?" As Joffe puts it, "He meant he can choose to be good or evil, I suppose."

Joffe got the impression of "someone with a very shallow mind, who's not interested in issues other than the personalities of the top people, no interest in social forces, political trends, etc".

Dodge also struggled to convince Blair of the obstacles that would face anyone who occupied Iraq. "Much of the rhetoric from Washington appeared to depict Saddam's regime as something separate from Iraqi society," he remembers. "All you had to do was remove him and the 60 bad men around him. What we wanted to get across was that over 35 years the regime had embedded itself into Iraqi society, broken it down and totally transformed it. We would be going into a vacuum, where there were no allies to be found, except possibly for the Kurds."

The experts didn't seem to make much of an impression. Blair "wasn't focused", Tripp recalls. "I felt he wanted us to reinforce his gut instinct that Saddam was a monster. It was a weird mixture of total cynicism and moral fervour."...
Good article.
 
#2
Blair was blindly following his then mentor GWB across the pond by then and nothing was going to stop him joining in the invasion of Iraq.

The UK government even went on to dream up the lie about WMD being able to be fired at Britain at 45 miniutes notice.

Blair has gained personally from this invasion with his nibs now being able to give after dinner speeches in the USA for a reputed 125 grand for a 35 miniute talk.

Nice"work" in you can get it.
 
#3
I always thought the man was a shallow intellect backed up by superficial understanding but it's nice to hear it confirmed.

At the risk of repeating myself on every thread that mentions him, what a cunt.
 
#5
To be fair to Blair, I believed that the Iraqi population was opressed and Sadan Hussain was trying to both increase his acces to NBC weapons whilst already possesing chemical weapons.
 
#6
Not just Blair:
...
Astonishingly, this was not the case. Interviews with top Foreign Office officials involved in the prewar discussions as well as Arabic-speaking British ambassadors in the region reveal a damaging vacuum in the department's advice. The predictions that the 52 claimed were made by "all those with experience of the area" may have been shared privately inside the Foreign Office's grand Italianate mansion in Whitehall, but they did not circulate as official thinking or reach ministers. While some senior officials in Britain's intelligence agencies expressed their doubts that Saddam was genuinely stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, no serious qualms were raised by the government's foreign policy experts about the equally important problem of whether occupying Iraq could work. Analysing the likely consequences of invading one of the major Arab states should have been a crucial element in judging whether it was in Britain's interest, let alone that of ordinary Iraqis, to go to war. Yet such analysis was simply absent. Ministers never asked for it; officials never offered it.
...
I'm afraid this episode indicates we are governed by a class of man more concerned with being on message than the well being of the country. Blair after all was a smooth, inspirational and very shallow politician somewhat in awe of DC's seemingly limitless power. He lacked the intellectual equipment and time to be any sort of regional expert. It's the civil service mandarins that are meant to be really on top of this stuff and keep cabinet informed.

Blaming The Cousins seems to have been Whitehall's main response. Failure of system. Needs fixing. Sacking would be appropriate. They'll probably all just get a K instead.
 
#7
Rumpelstiltskin said:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2244183,00.html

On November 19 2002, four months before the invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair made a rare attempt to seek out expert views beyond the circle of his official advisers. Six distinguished academics were invited to Downing Street: three specialists on Iraq, and three on international security. George Joffe, an Arabist from Cambridge University, and Charles Tripp and Toby Dodge, who had both written books on Iraq's history, made opening statements of about five minutes each. They decided not to alienate the prime minister by discussing whether an invasion was sensible or necessary, but only what its consequences might be.
"We all pretty much said the same thing," Joffe recalls. "Iraq is a very complicated country, there are tremendous intercommunal resentments, and don't imagine you'll be welcomed." He remembers how Blair reacted. "He looked at me and said, 'But the man's uniquely evil, isn't he?' I was a bit nonplussed. It didn't seem to be very relevant." Recovering, Joffe went on to argue that Saddam was constrained by various factors, to which Blair merely repeated his first point: "He can make choices, can't he?" As Joffe puts it, "He meant he can choose to be good or evil, I suppose."

Joffe got the impression of "someone with a very shallow mind, who's not interested in issues other than the personalities of the top people, no interest in social forces, political trends, etc".

Dodge also struggled to convince Blair of the obstacles that would face anyone who occupied Iraq. "Much of the rhetoric from Washington appeared to depict Saddam's regime as something separate from Iraqi society," he remembers. "All you had to do was remove him and the 60 bad men around him. What we wanted to get across was that over 35 years the regime had embedded itself into Iraqi society, broken it down and totally transformed it. We would be going into a vacuum, where there were no allies to be found, except possibly for the Kurds."

The experts didn't seem to make much of an impression. Blair "wasn't focused", Tripp recalls. "I felt he wanted us to reinforce his gut instinct that Saddam was a monster. It was a weird mixture of total cynicism and moral fervour."...
Good article.
Rather proves the point that Blair is actually not all that bright, and I think his head/house master at Fettes alluded to this several years ago.
 
#8
At the end of the day, this country, in a state of apathy, voted this idiot into office. I don't know the voting figures but he came to power and we have been in a downward spiral ever since. He wanted to be a world player but, for gods sake, we are not a main player any more.
 
#9
alib said:
I'm afraid this episode indicates we are governed by a class of man more concerned with being on message than the well being of the country. Blair after all was a smooth, inspirational and very shallow politician somewhat in awe of DC's seemingly limitless power. He lacked the intellectual equipment and time to be any sort of regional expert. It's the civil service mandarins that are meant to be really on top of this stuff and keep cabinet informed.

Blaming The Cousins seems to have been Whitehall's main response. Failure of system. Needs fixing. Sacking would be appropriate. They'll probably all just get a K instead.
But the mandarins have been progressively politicised to ensure they remain 'on message'. They've been specifically selected to put toeing the party political line above expressing an informed opinion, even where they've got the experience to have such a thing.
 
#10
smartascarrots said:
alib said:
I'm afraid this episode indicates we are governed by a class of man more concerned with being on message than the well being of the country. Blair after all was a smooth, inspirational and very shallow politician somewhat in awe of DC's seemingly limitless power. He lacked the intellectual equipment and time to be any sort of regional expert. It's the civil service mandarins that are meant to be really on top of this stuff and keep cabinet informed.

Blaming The Cousins seems to have been Whitehall's main response. Failure of system. Needs fixing. Sacking would be appropriate. They'll probably all just get a K instead.
But the mandarins have been progressively politicised to ensure they remain 'on message'. They've been specifically selected to put toeing the party political line above expressing an informed opinion, even where they've got the experience to have such a thing.
Sack a few of them. That'll learn em.
 
#11
And if you think Blair was bad I suggest you read Tom Bower's biography of Gordon Brown, what a f*cking loony he is!!!
 
#12
Tankiebootneckdad said:
I don't know the voting figures...
I do. British Parliamentary elections are decided by about 80,000, mainly white, middle-class voters in the key marginals. That's the root of the scandal surrounding Britain's political class and their activities on our behalf. All other problems flow from there. It’s a political dysfunction of mandate and legitimacy striking to the very bedrock of Parliament.

It's a dangerous position for a large, nuclear-tipped democracy (sic) to be in. It's also a national humiliation for a country which, bar the ancient Greeks, invented the damn stuff (democracy) and died in droves during WW2 to defend it.

People get the politicians they deserve...

Was Blair a working barrister for any length of time before becoming a full- time politican? If so, his clients and erstwhile colleagues would have insights into his intellectual equipment.

My feeling is he’s very sharp, but with fatal blind spots. But I’m still at a loss to understand why he ‘climbed up Bush’s arse and stayed there.’ It can’t just be a financial motive - US lecture circuit etc., - and I also can’t believe he became a bona fide religious nutter.
 
#13
annakey said:
Tankiebootneckdad said:
I don't know the voting figures...
I do. British Parliamentary elections are decided by about 80,000, mainly white, middle-class voters in the key marginals. That's the root of the scandal surrounding Britain's political class and their activities on our behalf. All other problems flow from there. It’s a political dysfunction of mandate and legitimacy striking to the very bedrock of Parliament.

It's a dangerous position for a large, nuclear-tipped democracy (sic) to be in. It's also a national humiliation for a country which, bar the ancient Greeks, invented the damn stuff (democracy) and died in droves during WW2 to defend it.

People get the politicians they deserve...

Was Blair a working barrister for any length of time before becoming a full- time politican? If so, his clients and erstwhile colleagues would have insights into his intellectual equipment.

My feeling is he’s very sharp, but with fatal blind spots. But I’m still at a loss to understand why he ‘climbed up Bush’s arse and stayed there.’ It can’t just be a financial motive - US lecture circuit etc., - and I also can’t believe he became a bona fide religious nutter.
Got a link for that please?
 
#14
Random_Task said:
annakey said:
Tankiebootneckdad said:
I don't know the voting figures...
I do. British Parliamentary elections are decided by about 80,000, mainly white, middle-class voters in the key marginals. That's the root of the scandal surrounding Britain's political class and their activities on our behalf. All other problems flow from there. It’s a political dysfunction of mandate and legitimacy striking to the very bedrock of Parliament.

It's a dangerous position for a large, nuclear-tipped democracy (sic) to be in. It's also a national humiliation for a country which, bar the ancient Greeks, invented the damn stuff (democracy) and died in droves during WW2 to defend it.

People get the politicians they deserve...

Was Blair a working barrister for any length of time before becoming a full- time politican? If so, his clients and erstwhile colleagues would have insights into his intellectual equipment.

My feeling is he’s very sharp, but with fatal blind spots. But I’m still at a loss to understand why he ‘climbed up Bush’s arse and stayed there.’ It can’t just be a financial motive - US lecture circuit etc., - and I also can’t believe he became a bona fide religious nutter.
Got a link for that please?
Overview: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/vote_2005/frontpage/4482611.stm

Detailed: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/

ERS analysis of 2001 election:

1. Labour again won a large majority with a minority of the votes
2. The worst turnout ever
3. Turnouts very low in safe seats - above average in marginal seats
4. Nearly 18 million votes wasted on losing candidates and on surplus majorities
5. Half of MPs in GB were elected with the support of less than 50% of voters
6. Conservative voters denied proper representation in many areas
7. Labour voters left unrepresented in parts of the South of England
8. Liberal Democrats again the big losers
9. Smaller parties denied any voice
10. Evidence of tactical voting
11. Voting system shows bias against the Conservatives

http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/oldsite20070123/publications/briefings/generalelection2001.PDF
The 80,000 figure is controversial. Some people say 800,000, others (e.g. Blair) 'a few hundred'. It's a total mess and very, very dangerous as these people are passing laws which they expect everyone to obey. Where's their mandate, their authority to legislate?
 
#15
Thanks for the links.

I was wondering where you got the "..white & mainly middle class.." bit from?

Also,regards the electoral reform website, the "vote at 16" and "Lib Dems speak out on electoral reform" curtailed further reading. There's also something about a society such as the ERS trying to change the way the UK votes,which comes across as very,err,undemocratic? 8O

Edited 4 grama an spellin.
 
#17
But I’m still at a loss to understand why he ‘climbed up Bush’s arse and stayed there.’ It can’t just be a financial motive - US lecture circuit etc., - and I also can’t believe he became a bona fide religious nutter.
If you eliminate the impossible, then what remains, no matter how improbable, is the truth. I think you just have to accept that he did what he believed in, rightly or wrongly.

I think both Blair and the academic in question here had two halves of the truth. To be honest I find it just as worrying that this 'expert' was 'none plused' by Blair's (correct) assersion about the nature of Iraq's regime - it smacks of the Soviet apologists that populated the left in the cold war.
 
#18
I do. British Parliamentary elections are decided by about 80,000, mainly white, middle-class voters in the key marginals


Just a thought
I suppose if 30 million and 80 thousand people voted and 15 million voted for one party but 15 million and 80 thousand voted for the other party it would be fair to say that the 80 thousand decided the result. It doesn't work like that though does it? If you juggle figures enough you can prove anything. Also as it is a secret ballot how can it be said who's votes were the crucial ones.
 
#19
craftsmanx said:
I do. British Parliamentary elections are decided by about 80,000, mainly white, middle-class voters in the key marginals


Just a thought
I suppose if 30 million and 80 thousand people voted and 15 million voted for one party but 15 million and 80 thousand voted for the other party it would be fair to say that the 80 thousand decided the result. It doesn't work like that though does it? If you juggle figures enough you can prove anything. Also as it is a secret ballot how can it be said who's votes were the crucial ones.
Does it matter whose where the crucial ones? Or do you mean one can't know the identity of those casting the crucial votes? I think it may be safe to draw certain inferences based on the demogrrpahics of the constiutencies in which the votes were cast.
 
#20
Random_Task said:
Thanks for the links.

I was wondering where you got the "..white & mainly middle class.." bit from?
Also,regards the electoral reform website, the "vote at 16" and "Lib Dems speak out on electoral reform" curtailed further reading. There's also something about a society such as the ERS trying to change the way the UK votes,which comes across as very,err,undemocratic? 8O

Edited 4 grama an spellin.

Because calling someone white and middle class is the worst insult you can make in these days of New Lairbore. It's time we started calling people 'whityphobes' or 'middleyphobes'. Then using the insult would become a thought crime, and you might have to treat people as equals, each with a valid point of view. :roll:
 

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