Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Purity of Blair

In an otherwise round and round the garden piece in The Sunday Telegraph, Matthew d'Ancona writes, 'The fact is that Mr Blair believes he can persuade anyone of anything, and it is this that is his most tragic flaw.' There is much evidence for this, but it is, in fact, intuitively obvious if you simply watch the man perform. His rhetoric assumes the audience will follow and ensures this will happen by carefully constructed evasions. But, most interestingly, whenever it becomes apparent that it is not working, he resorts to a kind of elaborate shrug intended to indicate that he is the only right man in the room. On Iraq he said he would be judged by God, probably an unprecedented statement in contemporary British politics. Superficially, this would suggest that Blair suffers from the Rumsfeld disease of certainty. But there is a big difference. Rumsfeld's certainties are ideological; Blair's are, I think. spiritual. Being able to persuade anybody of anything leads to vanity. In this state, it does not matter what you say, it only matters that you are saying it. Truth for Blair is Blair. Within himself, he sees an inner purity that guarantees his words, irrespective of what those words are. Failure is only evidence that the world is not ready or good enough for such purity.


  1. I just remembered. 'He retires to his room and waters his inner garden,' was how one friend put it.

  2. I agree with this. A very well written piece Bryan.

    Blair's difference is that he has no ideology, No consistency. He is a man willing to change his views; How else could he have developed politically as a CND activist and now find himself campaigning for nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

    Yet, he to maintain his inner self-belief he must always think that he is correct. To do this he must ignore his own past beliefs and any criticism that he currently is receiving.

    This expalins his hatred of the past and love of mutlicultrualism and liberalism. These views seek remove the UK people from its history and linakges to the past; something Blair personally thinks is is a great idea for the reasons mentioned above.

    It is a powerful ability to do this and it has taken him to a long and successful (interms of office career; but he leaves our public discourse in a much reduced state

  3. "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world."
    2COR 10:3-5
    Of course, here Tony's religious interpretation regarding waging war with the weapons of the world is the more correct.
    "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
    EPH 6:10-17
    Of course again here, St Paul is mistaken and Tony and the authorities are firmly allied with God against evil.
    1JN 4:4 "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."
    As above it goes without saying that the gospel is erroneous in its implications regarding the world and its rulers.

  4. It's been stated more than once that Blair utilizes the 'sentence without a verb' to assist with these evasions. From the moment he was on the rise it was abundantly clear he ahd no policy and was riding on charisma. He is also one of Them [whom I've posted on today]. Hillary Clinton is another. Britain has been devastated and America is about to be.

  5. Not sure how I can justify inserting the following wonderful quote from the Governor of California, but perhaps I can get away with claiming it expresses the Purity of Schwarzenegger.
    "The greatest feeling you can get in a gym or the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump. Let's say you train your biceps, blood is rushing in to your muscles and that's what we call the pump. Your muscles get a really tight feeling like your skin is going to explode any minute and its really tight and its like someone is blowing air into your muscle and it just blows up and it feels different, it feels fantastic. It's as satifying to me as coming is, you know, as in having sex with a woman and coming. So can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am like getting the feeling of coming in the gym, I'm getting the feeling of coming at home, I'm getting the feeling of coming backstage when I pump up when I pose out in front of 5000 people I get the same feeling, so I am coming day and night. Its terrific, right? So I am in heaven."
    Blair suddenly seems posivitely banal. How the hell did we end up with leaders like this?!

  6. "Our wisdom has become entirely negative. All that we pass on to our children is the conviction is that nothing is true, final or enduring, including the culture from which they sprang." You will, I am sure, Bryan, recognize these words from Understanding the Present. Yet in this, as in the earlier post about Rumsfeld, it seems that "moral certainty" is being regarded as somehow undesirable. Yet I feel absolutely certain that the Holocaust - or the actions of the hijackers on 9/11 - were monstrously wrong morally. Now it may well be that Blair and Rumsfeld are wrong regarding what they are morally certain of, but that is an altogether different question. The primary question, it seems to me, is whether or not one can attain to moral certainty. I think one can. And I'm pretty sure you do also.

  7. Frank, I didn't recognise the words but you flatter me with quotation. There are two ways I can answer your point, neither of them convincing because, to be honest, you have me, though not exactly. Anway:
    1)Neither Blair nor Rumsfeld seem to me to have any kind of grasp of the true conservative value of cultural transmission and preservation of which I wrote. And I would not regard the certainties of either as being moral. Both, it seems to me, are in thrall of a technocratic dream. And so on.
    2)I am not the same person who wotre Understanding the Present. It seems naive to me now. Its terms have become blurred in my mind. The problem of redefining the culture that needs to be transmitted has become overwhelming, though no less urgent for that.
    Also, the sentence you quote is not about moral certainty but about cultural certainty - culture as a moral good, yes, but not embodying specific moral assumptions, other, of course, than those you mention.
    But these are deep waters and I am not sure I have the mind to plumb them.

  8. Well, Bryan, you may not be the same person who wrote Understanding the Present and I can see how in retrospect you may be sensitive to what you think are its weaknesses. But it's a hell of a good book, a rare example of passionate thinking, which contains some splendid explanations of some very complex matters. Your feelings about it now simply demonstrate that you are an honest writer.
    Thanks for the clarification. I did not grasp that you see both Blair and Rumsfeld as being in thrall to the technocratic dream. On that you may well be right - though I am not sure myself. In the biography of Blair that I reviewed a couple of years ago, he came off as very much a moralist - though that may not be the same as moral.
    As for the moral/cultural connection, as you say, these are deep waters - and it's just after 9 a.m. here and my brain isn't up to it either.

  9. i seem to remember Tolstoi, in 'War & Peace' analysing Napoleon's 'god-complex' in similar terms, something like: everything he did or believed or felt was right, because it was his, Napoleon's, deed or thought or belief.

    It's a common phenomenon in politics: mental isolation; the Fuhrer becomes godlike in his own mind, denying all opposing opinions, data. Shakespeare's Fuhrers (Measure 4 Measure's Duke, Lear, Richard II) often seem to inhabit a private mental landscape, a Disneyland in which they are godlike, not quite human, untouchable. There's a reason why solitary confinement is a dreaded punishment - isolation is injurious to the human spirit; imagine being so isolated while spending all your waking hours in meetings, parliament, hobnobbing and bullshitting. The Blair (i move that he be publicly recognised as "The Blair" to emphasize his ontological superiority to the human race) has been in mental solitary confinement for about a decade now - this isolation is also known as power, and is one reason why, as we know from the movie 'Patton', the Roman Emperors on their triumphs were accompanied by a slave whispering 'sic transit gloria mundi', or why Lear has his jester...a loophole out of power, out of isolation, a backway out of Mount Sinai, maybe.

  10. A very interesting quote from Blair in the aftermath of 911 gives rare insight into the mind behind the masquerade.
    “This is a moment to seize. The kaleidoscope has been shaken, the pieces are in flux, soon they will settle again. Before they do let us reorder this world around us and use modern science to provide prosperity for all."

    Hmm. A little chink of strange light from the powers of the dark world?

  11. "1) Neither Blair nor Rumsfeld seem to me to have any kind of grasp of the true conservative value of cultural transmission and preservation of which I wrote."

    Yep, I'm pretty sure that the man who said, "Stuff happens" as the Iraq Museum was being looted does not rank cultural continuity among the highest of human purposes.

    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder is More Fun Away From Home"