The closer we get to the moment when Blair finally throws in the towel, the more we hear about his legacy. Many people will obviously think his legacy will be Iraq, the cash for peerages scandal, the loss of so many civil liberties, the out-of-control surveillance society, the pensions scandal, his subservience to George Bush, the widening gap between rich and poor, the freezing of social mobility and the creeping privatisation of our public services.
Blair, of course, has other ideas, and in an effort to divert attention from his numerous failures which will be highlighted during next week’s elections, he has compiled his own 22 page dossier (yup, another dodgy dossier) of what he wants his legacy to be and distributed it among all Labour MPs. Needless to say it’s mostly garbage. It still links Saddam Hussein to 9/11.
“9/11 fundamentally changed the world,” he said. “We are still dealing with its impact, most obviously, in both Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Well, we can’t argue that 9/11 didn’t change the world but when it was used as a shoddy pretext for the illegal invasion of Iraq coupled with a load of nonsense about WMD pushed by Bush and Blair, his statement is as ridiculous as those still made by Dick Cheney. It gets worse:
“Our influence and access across the globe has increased with Britain helping to set the agenda rather than follow it,”
Yeah, right! Another depressing part for me was a bit about what his successors will inherit.
In an early contribution to the political obituaries that will mark his resignation, the prime minister said New Labour had created “the governing idea of British politics“, which all opposition parties had had to adopt in its wake.
Oh please God, no… How arrogant! Blair’s legacy will be what people remember, not what he tells them it is. Blair isn’t the first to do this obviously. Kings, emperors, and dictators have been doing this since the beginning of civilisation. Usually in these cases, however, the legacy is presented after the real, not the political death of the ruler in the form of an obituary or a commemorative monument. I wonder if Blair will be merely content to hand out a list for his loyal acolytes to recite on cue and, of course, the medal he hasn’t been able to collect from Bush, or whether he’s wishing for something more substantial like, say, the Res Gestae Divi Augusti that the emperor Augustus had emblazoned on various monuments around the Roman empire. At least Augustus achieved the things he boasted about.