Ah, Tony Blair…. inheritor and champion of Thatcherite neo-liberal economics and Zionist neo-conservative foreign policy, presidor over a dramatic rise in British Islamophobia, appointer of unelected Zionist tycoons to manage the good behaviour of the Palestinians while they lose the last of their land and rights, holy liar, war criminal, hypocrite, a man complicit in the Gaza massacre, and in the 2006 assault on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure … and soon, perhaps, first president of the European Union. I’ve written about this lovely chap before. Those of you who believe the appointment of Blair to the EU presidency would be the worst possible start to the post and a sure sign to the rest of the world that Europe has no interest in justice or good governance, can sign this petition. I certainly have. On the other hand, some of you may agree with George Monbiot’s provocative argument that Blair’s appointment to the post will provide the best opportunity for having him tried for war crimes. So far, Blair has only been rewarded for his crimes, with directorships, a book deal, and the joke post of ‘Middle East peace envoy’, which Monbiot calls “the supreme crime against satire.”
There’s something very odd going on with the British political system when the Chancellor of the Exchequer can lose his job over less than £700 whilst billions are squandered on illegal wars, nuclear missiles, corporate subsidies and bailouts. George Monbiot’s latest piece on Znet uncovers the massive corruption behind the M25 project. It is but one of many examples of the way the political system is designed to ensure the socialisation of risk and privatisation of profit.
It’s a thousand times bigger than the one we’re talking about, so why doesn’t it ignite public anger?
For a moment, my heart leapt. The headline on the front of yesterday’s Daily Mail contained the words travel, scandal, extortionate and £6.2. I imagined, until I read it properly, that it referred to the £6.2bn contract to expand the M25 motorway, which has just been signed. Some hope. “The £6.2m bill: Scandal of how MPs are taking taxpayers for a ride with extortionate travel expenses” referred to a rip-off precisely 1000th of the size of the travel expenses scandal that interests me.
I understand the public anger and fascination about MPs’ expenses, and the burning question of whether you can obtain capital gains tax exemption on your second duck house. But it is microscopic by comparison to the corruption that has been bubbling along merrily for 15 years in the UK, unmolested by the tabloid press.
An excellent article by George Monbiot, setting the abominable policing of the G20 protests into context. Monbiot explains that we are not merely dealing with “a few rogue officers [who] got out of control”, as much of media commentary in the UK would have it, but state-sanctioned violence that is “organised and systematic”.
If a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged, a liberal is a conservative who has been twatted by the police. As the tabloids turn their fire onto an unfamiliar target – the unprovoked aggression of Her Majesty’s constabulary – the love affair between the cops and the rightwing press has never been more fragile.
The policing of the G20 protests at the beginning of this month was routine. Policemen hiding their identification numbers and beating up peaceful protesters is as much a part of British life as grey skies and red buses. Across 20 years of protests, I have seen policemen swapping their jackets to avoid identification, hurling people against vans and into walls and whomping old ladies over the head with batons. A friend had his head repeatedly bashed against the bonnet of a police van; he was then charged with criminal damage to the van. I have seen an entire line of police turn round to face the other way when private security guards have started beating people up. I have seen them refuse – until Amnesty International got involved – to investigate my own case when I was hospitalised by these licensed thugs (the guards had impaled my foot on a metal spike, smashing the middle bone).