Where Have All The Backbones Gone?

British prime minister Tony Blair showed both a callous disregard and lack of respect for the British and Iraqis killed in the war he insisted on supporting, by failing to turn up for the first debate on the Iraq war in the British parliament, since 2004. Instead, he attended a meeting with the Confederation of British Industry, a conservative think tank for business executives.

It’s been obvious for sometime now that Blair is determined to mimic George Bush by ignoring the opinions of his government and doing his own thing. With his retirement from politics imminent, pandering to the business community is obviously in his interests, and more important to Blair’s future than his responsibilities to parliament and the British people.

Pandering to those who can best serve his self-centered aims and ignoring those who elected him to office are, of course, nothing new. He’s been toadying to George Bush over Iraq for the last four years, much to the disgust of most of Britain.

In fact, the British government’s acquiescence to an obviously militarist US policy in the Middle East has alienated that nation from its true allies in the rest of Europe. No-one is advocating a permanent rift between the US and Europe. Yet, while America continues not only to tolerate, but implement, the crass psycho-political ideals of Leo Strauss, Europe in general, and Britain in particular, should stop toadying to Bush and make clear his policies are unacceptable in the 21st century.

The only European nation to firmly adopt this attitude has been France, which has been castigated in the US for doing so. Even that stance may well alter if Nicolas Sarkozy wins in the forthcoming presidential elections. He toured the US last September, ingratiating himself with Republican luminaries. Sarkozy may well take over from Tony Blair as the next ‘pet poodle’ of George W Bush.

Not so Ségolène Royal, the French Socialist presidential candidate. In a recent television debate she said:

““Since General De Gaulle, France has always embodied a certain pride and independence vis-a-vis the United States. We absolutely cannot accept the concept of preventive war, nor the concept of good versus evil, nor disengagement in the Middle East, nor the Americans preaching economic liberalism abroad and practicing protectionism at home. We cannot tolerate their refusal to ratify the Kyoto treaty when they are the world’s No 1 polluter.”

For four years, the British have longed for a prime minister with enough backbone to stand up in parliament and say exactly that. Tony Blair both lacked the courage and the commitment to his country, to do so.

He might well have said it yesterday. Instead, he was doing what he is best at – toadying to business leaders –

“Gi’us a job, mate!”

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