Peter Hitchens on Tony Blair’s Stupidity

Yeah, I know this ad hominem, but it is funny. Novara Media’s Aaron Bastani interviewed Tory iconoclast Peter Hitchens the other day. The two don’t really have much in common, but Bastani justified the interview saying that if you want to be certain in your political views, you should test them by talking to people who hold the opposite. Hitchen’s is very much a man of the right, and some of his views are odd, if not barking. He believes, for example, that we shouldn’t have gone to war with Germany as it was not in our interests. Perhaps it wasn’t, but we had signed the defence pacts with France and Poland, And if we hadn’t gone to war, I think we would have still lost the empire sooner or later. Plus we would have been excluded from a continent under Nazi domination. And this is not to mention the carnage that would have been perpetrated by the Nazis, with the Jews and Gypsies becoming extinct in Europe, followed by the Czechs and the Slav populations enslaved as peasant farmers supplying produce to their German overlords.

On the other hand, Hitchens has said that he never supported Thatcher’s sale of the council houses or the privatisation of the prison system, because justice, as a principle, should be in the hands of the state. He also states in one of his books that he was shocked into an awareness of how fragile civilisation was after visiting one of the failed African countries as a journalist in the 1980s. The country had descended into vicious gang violence, but walking through its capital Hitchens saw everywhere grand architecture and all the signs of modern corporate development. I think this gives an insight into the basis of his own Tory views. I remember reading in the Spectator years ago that the right-wing philosopher Roger Scruton abandoned the left when he witnessed the rioting in Paris during the 1968 student and workers’ protests. He was alarmed by their ‘anti-civilisational rage’.

Back to the interview, Hitchens described Blair’s spin doctor, Alistair Campbell, as being frightening intelligent. He mentioned people, who really thought for the first few months of Blair’s regime that it was Campbell running the country. He joked that it was probably because of Campbell’s mighty intellect that he was kept away from voters, as he would probably frighten them all away.

But Blair, on the other hand, wasn’t terribly bright and Hitchens doubted that he could have run the country without Campbell. To illustrate his point, he told the story of how he briefly met Blair just before the 1997 election. Blair was in Oxford, travelling in his motorcade. Hitchens was following him by bike, but as the traffic was bad, he got to Blair’s destination before him. After Blair had arrived, he was immediately surrounded by a crowd taking pictures. Hitchens wanted to talk to Blair, and so, after the crowd had finished and dispersed, he walked up to the future Prime Minister. He decided to open the conversation by asking who the crowd were. Blair replied, ‘They’re Brazilians. I’m very popular down there.’

‘Oh, you should learn Portuguese then,’ replied Hitch.


It turned out that Blair thought they spoke Brazilian in Brazil. Hitchens concluded that what Blair really wanted to be was a pop star, and you didn’t need to ascribe any deep ideological motives to him.

There was, nevertheless, an ideological basis to his policies. He was a product of BAP, the British-American Project for the Successor Generation, which was set up by Reagan to influence the rising generation of British politicians from both the Conservatives and Labour. Blair had started out as a supporter of nuclear disarmament, but after going on a BAP-sponsored trip to America and hearing the views of various right-wing think tanks, he came back as an opponent. He was fervently Thatcherite, believing in the superiority of private industry and strongly influenced by the American political system. Private Eye ran several pieces about the American private healthcare and prison companies lining up to donate to New Labour in the hope of getting some of that nationalised action. He took over advisers and staff from private healthcare companies as well as other businesses, and pushed the privatisation of the NHS further than the Tories would have dared. As stupid as he may have been, he set the course for right-wing Labour, and Starmer shows every indication of returning to it.


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5 Responses to “Peter Hitchens on Tony Blair’s Stupidity”

  1. Mark Pattie Says:

    So much for certain parts of the Right thinking that all 2019-Corbyn-supporting millennials are snowflakes who hate anyone to the right of Stalin. Well done to Bastani. I daresay I’d like to see him debate (Skewer more like?) Laurence Fox and Anne Marie Waters at some point. The latter of whom has a reputation of being far more ghoulish than even Sue Ellen Cassiana Fernandes Braverman. In true Hitchens fashion I am using her full name!

    • beastrabban Says:

      No, Bastani is certainly not a snowflake, and neither are the other Novara presenters – Michael Walker, Ash Sarkar and Dalia Gebreal. I’ve also got more than a measure of respect for Hitchens because of his dislike of David Cameron – he got a warning from his bosses at the Heil to stop calling Dodgy Dave ‘Mr Slippery’ and his objection to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I used to read his online column at one time. Much of it was him responding to his critics, and he was always polite. He certainly isn’t like some of bloviators on LBC or GB News.

      As for left-wing snowflakes in general, I’ve heard of that type of fragility mostly in connection with the trans debate. One of the complaints of the gender critical people is that they’ve asked their opponents for a public debate, but they’ve refused, claiming that they don’t feel safe in their presence. I was listening to a video with Rod Liddle talking about the feminist origins of ‘wokeness’ in which Liddle talked about the protests against him when he spoke at Durham University. He said that one of the students in the audience told him he shouldn’t be there, because he made him, the student, feel unsafe. This absolutely amazed me. I can understand anger as a reaction, but not insecurity. If Liddle had been a real Fascist, I could understand it. For example, Frost once interviewed Baldur von Schirach, the head of the Hitler Youth. At one point in the interviewed von Schirach leaned over to him and told him that in his day, they knew how to deal with people like him. Given that the Nazis were all monsters, butchers and torturers, I wouldn’t blame Frost for feeling threatened, even though he was safe in the studio and von Schirach’s superiors had been hanged at Nuremberg. But as objectionable as Liddle is, he isn’t a Fascist.

      • Mark Pattie Says:

        I also have a certain respect for Mr Hitchens, because of his considerable dislike of Bunter Johnson. He seems to come across as a polite, quintessential High Tory gentleman. Rod Liddle is quite the opposite- a decidedly dislikeable chappie who, however, I don’t think is actually racist. He at least had the decency to get the hell out of Ukip (for the SDP I think) when the real racists took over and turned a once-respectable right-wing party into a “crusading” anti-Islam hooligan movement!

      • beastrabban Says:

        I didn’t know that Liddle got out of UKIP when the islamophobes flooded in. That is to his credit. His talk on the feminist origins of ‘woke’ is interesting, as he also blamed the libertarians and the Chicago School economists for it, as well as left-wing anti-authoritarians. He said that in their case, it was mostly about the freedom of the individual to do what he liked with his money. But they shared with the left-wing radicals the hatred of authority that has led to the radical individualism at the heart of the woke rejection of tradition.

      • Mark Pattie Says:

        Peter Hitchens does seem to be the exact opposite of most of those Limbaugh-esque right-wing bullshitters on GB News (Creepy Dan Wootton, Mark “Bosnia” Stein). Somehow I cannot see Aaron Bastani debating Anne Marie Waters- even though she, shockingly, was also once Labour. She seriously thinks, b/c “you can’t criticise Islam in this country!”- Bullshit- that descending to the level of Fascist ghoulish thugs is acceptable!

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