Posts Tagged ‘Bloomberg’

Counterpunch on the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair

February 25, 2017

Tony Blair emerged from under whatever plush, money-stuffed rock he’s been hiding under since he left power last week to deliver a speech to encourage Brits to remain in the EU. This, however, wasn’t the real point of his reappearance back into British politics. Mike in his piece about the speech stated that Blair’s real intention is simply to undermine Corbyn. Corbyn is trying to heal the rifts created by the Brexit vote. Blair, however, wishes to keep them open. He wants to undermine Corbyn, because the Labour leader represents a return to genuine, traditional Labour politics, while Blair simply wants it to carry on being a pale blue version of the Tories.

See Mike’s article at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/02/17/blairs-dog-whistle-rallying-call-for-remain-is-another-bid-to-split-labour/

Mike’s right, of course. Blair’s entire electoral strategy was based on embracing Thatcherism and Neoliberalism, imposing even more strict limits on the unions and their ability to defend their members, and privatising the post office, the education system and massively expanding the Tory privatisation of the NHS. This was all done to appease the City, the right-wing press and gaining votes from swing voters in marginal constituencies.

Blair’s old ally, Peter Mandelson, also came out of the woodwork to support his former boss. On the Andrew Marr show on Sunday Mandelson announced that Labour needed unity and ‘sureness of touch’ to win elections. Mike pointed out that the division in the Labour party, which was succeeding in turning some people away from it, as he knew from his own experiences interviewing people on their doorsteps, had been created by Mandelson and the other Blairites. They’re not interested in Labour winning elections. They just want Corbyn out, and so are prepared to do anything to achieve this, including scuppering Labour’s chances of winning elections. Mike concluded that Mandelson was therefore ‘an enemy of the people’. It’s a strong phrase, but it accurately describes the New Labour attitude of tolerating and encouraging even more privatisation and welfare cuts, with the horrific suffering and death they’re causing to the poor, in order to make themselves electable to the rich.

See:http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/02/19/mandelsons-mixed-message-on-brexit-is-designed-to-confuse-not-help/ and http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/02/21/enemy-of-the-people-peter-mandelson/

Mike also noted that Labour MPs seemed to be less than enthusiastic about Blair’s return, with some making very lukewarm comments about it. The shadow Brexit minister, Jenny Chapman, made the point that it would be a mistake to argue in favour of remaining in Europe, as this would cut no ice with voters outside London.

Mike in his comments about Blair’s reception states that Labour MPs are aware that Blair is trying to keep the party divided and is a menace to the party’s chances of winning an election. Hence the frost reception the former PM got when he made his speech.

See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/02/17/labour-mps-turn-on-tony-blair-shock-horror/

The American radical magazine, Counterpunch, was also highly critical about Blair’s return. Their columnist, John Wight, points out very clearly that much of the current political climate, which has encouraged and facilitated the rise of the extreme right, is a direct result of the corrupt policies pursued by Blair in Britain and Clinton in America. Blair’s support for the Iraq invasion has been one of the causes of the massive carnage and destabilisation, not just of that nation, but of the entire Middle East. And the rise of the far right at home has been fuelled by their destruction of traditional working class politics in the Democrats and the Labour party in order to bolster the power of the business elites. He writes

Just when you thought it was safe to venture out, Frankenstein returns – at least its political equivalent in the shape of Tony Blair, Britain’s former prime minister and poster child for the venality, corruption, and opportunism of Western liberalism in our time.

Blair’s decision to intervene in the ongoing political crisis that has engulfed the UK over Brexit can only be described as offensive. His call to arms, urging the British people to “rise up against Brexit”, which he issued from that renowned fortress of people power, Bloomberg headquarters in the City of London, will only harden support for it given the fact that Blair’s time in office only helped pave the way for it.

The man is a deluded fool if he really thinks that he has the credibility or clout to make any such intervention in frontline politics anything other than a car crash. With the anniversary of the start of the 2003 war in Iraq upon us next month, bringing with it the memory of the role that Blair played in the deaths of up to one million people, along with the destabilization of the region and an explosion of terrorism that has wrought so much carnage in the years since, the only place that Blair should be giving any speech nowadays is from the dock at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where his presence is long overdue.

Tony Blair, along with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, exemplifies everything rotten and depraved about liberal democracy. Whether it be their attachment to the interests of Wall Street and City of London, the abandonment of the poor and working class in the interests of the politics of identity, the worshipping at the altar of the free market and neoliberalism, not forgetting the slavish devotion to Western imperialism under the rubric of democracy and human rights – these people have turned the world upside down and enriched themselves and their cronies beyond measure in the process.

And concludes

Not until the political establishments in both the UK and US finally accept their responsibility for the rejection of everything they represent will there be an end to the political and social polarization that is the new normal in both countries. In this respect they remain stuck in the past, holding onto a belief in the verities of the free market, in NATO and Western exceptionalism. In this regard they are akin to those Japanese soldiers who failed to emerge from the jungles and foxholes in which they served during World War II until over a decade after the war ended.

Returning to Tony Blair, this is a man who not satisfied with helping to set the world on fire thereafter swanned off into a sunset of unparalleled riches and wealth, the wages of sin he’s received in return for services rendered to the some of the most corrupt and unsavoury governments, corporations, and causes in existence. His every public appearance and utterance is an insult to the millions of men, women, and children in Iraq who were slaughtered as a result of the brutal and illegal imperialist war he unleashed in conjunction with Washington in 2003.

It reminds us that their cry for justice from the grave is one that is yet to be heard.

See: http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/21/firestarter-the-unwelcome-return-of-tony-blair/

Hail, Trump? Trump Gets Followers to Raise Right Hands and Swear Personal Allegiance

March 6, 2016

This is extremely ominous. Yesterday at a meeting in Orlando, Florida, Trump got his supporters to raise their right hands and swear their personal allegiance to him. This was reported in the Hill. Mike in his report on it notes the similarity to the oath every German citizen was required to swear to Adolf Hitler. The strangeness of the scene was also not lost on a columnist for Bloomberg. Mike states

The scene is reminiscent of Hitler in 1930s Germany – the crowd with their right hands raised echoing the Nazi salute, and the oath echoing the oaths of personal loyalty to the Nazi leader that Germans were ordered to swear.

Bloomberg’s Steven Dennis tweeted: “I’ve never seen someone swear allegiance to a politician in America, until today. To the Constitution, many times. To the flag, daily.”

See http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/03/06/whats-worse-donald-trump-what-this-looks-like-or-what-it-really-is/

Trump Allegiance

I don’t know, but I can kind of guess what Trump would say about this in his defence. He’d probably argue that it’s no different to raising your right hand to swear on oath in the church or in court. Many evangelical Christians raise their right hand during church services when they’re carried away with the worship. German evangelical Christians, obviously, very definitely do not. They raise both hands, just to make it very clear that they are not saluting the Fuehrer and the horror of the Third Reich.

But I don’t think the parallels with swearing oaths in court, or ecstatic gestures during Christian worship, really hold. It is far more like the mass oaths the citizens of the Fascist tyrannies were expected to swear to their dictators – to Hitler, Mussolini and the other goose-steppers. And Mike goes on to make the comment that its unacceptable either way whether or not Trump is ignorant of the historical comparison.

It’s frightening that Trump has the support of David Duke and the Klan, that he’s invited the White supremacist National Cesspool to his rallies; that he intends to deport 11-12 million illegal immigrants, build a wall with Mexico and ban Muslims from entering the US. Let alone his intention to resume torture and kill civilians in the War on Terror. Or is that the War for Terror?

Hitler claimed to be sent from God, and you can hear the same rhetoric around several of the Republican candidates. They claim that they are called by God, or their supporters claim that God has meant them to run for president. It all recalls the line in the oath to Adolf, ‘Oh my Fuehrer sent from God’. To their credit, the Jehovah’s Witnesses would not comply with these claims. They saw Hitler as a secular messiah, and so refused to swear loyalty to him. The only messiah for Christians is Jesus. And they paid for that with internment in the concentration camps.

Nuremberg Rally

The Wehrmacht at the Nuremberg Rally: Trump’s model for the Florida meeting?

Trump’s certainly Fascistic, but I don’t know whether he really is a Nazi. It could be that Trump is deliberately pushing the Far Right aspects of his campaign, both in style and substance, as far as they’ll go on the grounds that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. He’s getting talked about, and extensive media coverage. And the more sober media commenters or the Left note the similarities between him and the Fascists, the more popular he seems to become. He seems to be determined to push it as far as possible, until it rebounds.

Or until it’s too late. For America. For freedom. And for millions of innocents around the world.

A line from an old Space Opera I used to watch on TV comes to mind, a prediction given by a departing mage to a fiercely ambitious alien politicians: I see a hand reaching out of the stars. It is your hand. And I hear a billion voices calling your name.’
‘My followers?’
‘No. Your victims.’

Bravo: Tom Pride and Vox Political Cited in ‘I’ Newspaper

February 12, 2015

Net satirist Tom Pride and the very serious Vox Political have been spotted in today’s I newspaper. The I has a column, ‘The Opinion Matrix’. Subtitled ‘Comment from Home and Abroad’, this features quotes different newspapers and other sources commenting on various stories from around the world. In the extreme right-hand column are the comments about the sad death of Malcolm Burge, who died starving after having his benefit cut off by the DWP. Tom wrote an excellent piece commenting on Mr Burge’s death, and pointing out where the blame really lies: IDS. I reblogged it, and so did Mike over at Vox Political. The I’s piece, ‘Malcolm Burge: Lessons from a Claimant’s Suicide’, quotes first from Mike’s Vox Political and then from Guardian. The quote from Vox Political is actually from Mike’s reblog of Tom Pride’s post on Mr Burge’s death from Pride’s Purge, and duly credited to Tom:

Note that housing benefit is now run by the Department for Work and Pensions, so the responsibility for Mr Burge’s death belongs with Iain Duncan Smith.

Bravo and congrats to both Tom and Mike for getting quoted in the I along with the big boys like the Daily Mail, Financial Times, New York Times, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Channel 4, Evening Standard, the Telegraph, the Groaniad.

Let’s hope this is by no means the last time they get quoted and taken up by the legacy media. And the next time they do, I hope they work out that Tom has his own site separate from Mike.