Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Blair Necessities

I had a few anxious moments after yesterday’s post when I tagged five of my favourite blogs for a Thinking Blogger Award after being tagged myself by Ros Barber of Shallowlands. It seems this meme had been associated with viral marketing and web advertising and may have been rather cynically pandering to the vanities of bloggers who fancy themselves as a bit on the clever side (i.e. all of us). We’ve already established that I AM so vain that I DO think this blog is about ME.

One of my taggees, Ms Melancholy, raised the alarm (see yesterday’s comments – sorry my techno-twatedness is not in dispute). However, Reading the Signs (who had nominated Shallowlands – I know it is all a bit incestuous), quelled the panic by revealing that we, the people have triumphed over cynicism and claimed this meme for our very own. The tag no longer has links to its original source where it could earn hard cash by pandering to our weaknesses. Human foibles, priceless – for everything else there’s Paypal. So, a bit of harmless fun then. No wonder the Nobel Prize people haven’t called yet.

It got me thinking about vanities in general and some I wouldn’t mind seeing on a bonfire in the not too distant future. Gordon ‘Scrooge McDuck’ Brown is about to ascend to a job that he is no more suited to than Scooby Doo is, yet he insists on having it and is openly offering to turn the head of anyone who dares stand in his way into haggis. David Mild’n’Bland’s head is currently a funny shape and he obviously doesn’t want to risk further confusion or being served up as the plat de jour next time he’s in The Fat Duck. Charles ‘Grizzly’ Clarke’s head is, in fact, a haggis but he’s already given his pledge to Scooby Doo.

The question of what Tony ‘Blah Blah’ Blair will do next has become a national pre-occupation. Former heads of state generally turn their hand to a role for which they are supremely unsuited. Bill ‘The Clinch’ Clinton is lecturing the world on moral responsibility and personal restraint for example. The catalogue of non-skills that our soon to be former prime minister possesses is formidable, however I think I may have come up with a field in which he will clearly suck on a scale worthy of the world stage – Communications.

I can see him now in a room full of eager thousand US dollars a plate beavers, hanging on his every dangling participle as he delivers such gems as this from his recent ‘legacy’ speech,

‘The cultural change, which seems obvious now, is you transform from it being a set process in which the public service deliverer is in the dominant position to it being much more driven by the particular needs of the person to whom you’re providing the public service, which then leads you into giving to all the public the choices which currently only the middle classes have in relation to the provision of vital services like health and education.’ (commas optional)

It will give me a great deal of pleasure in the future to imagine these paying customers’ bafflement met with Blah Blah’s famous ‘you just don’t get it’ look. Might they be left wondering why the lower and upper classes in Britain are not allowed to attend school or go to the dentist? It would probably clarify a lot about Britain – like why all the rich people they meet seem so thick and have bad teeth.

For the last two weeks, one’s precious Guardian newspaper has been reprinting some of the famous speeches of the 20th Century. It’s interesting to speculate on how Blah Blah might have tackled Winston Churchill’s ‘We will fight them on the beaches’ speech. Might it have gone something like this,

‘Look…. What’s happened here is wrong and we as a community need to think about ways in which we can ensure that when these things happen there are ways and means of dealing with what is clearly unacceptable and I know that people want to feel that their community is safe and that the people who deliver those services are able to do so with the support of the whole community.’

I wonder what he might have done with Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech. I’m thinking,

‘I mean, you know. I was on Richard & Judy the other day doing my ‘am I bovvered’ thing for charity. Richard doesn’t think it’s as good as his Ali G by the way. I was in the green room and there was this little boy from some ethnic minority or other who’d got cancer or something anyway he didn’t have long to live and I got to thinking wouldn’t it be a great legacy for my premiership if I could stop little children like that from, you know, dying which is an appalling tragedy for their family and for Britain as a whole.’

I suppose a man is entitled to a sense of purpose. Maybe he’d be more at home in the Bermuda Triangle. That’s where most empty vessels end up. My money’s on Scooby Doo…

Fine art from Steve Bell


MrZhisou said...

Blair could cure cancer and deliver a unifying theory of physics and he´d be remember for Iraq.

No matter how good his intentions may have been, it´s the signature policy of his decade and time will tell if he got it right or not - but it looks extremely unlikely that he did not.

It seems a pity, so much hope, so much ability - and, to some extent, a reasonable list of achievements - but all obscured by Bush´s incompetence.

Reading the Signs said...

Pants, I think you have put your finger on it and it's even worse than 1984's newspeak: language and thought is being thinned out but made to look like something we should swallow - like the way fat extension (which Thatcher helped to invent) works in Mr. Whippy icecream.

Re. "incestuous": in a "Bloomsbury" kind of way, you mean, don't you?

That's so pants said...

Hi Mr Z

I need to take issue a bit here because I've worked on 'delivery vehicles' and I don't mean the John Lewis van and I can tell you that a lot of it is smoke and mirrors. Education and so called 'community cohesion' initiatives have been particularly ineffective.

There has been plenty of building work - a lot of it not very good and most of it with no sustainable plans for future maintenance and a frightening amount of housing has gone up with inadequate infrastructure. There have been some spectacular, some might even say titanic maiden voyage sinkings of flagship projects. Every borough in Britain probably has a mini version of The Dome. Here in Hackney we are blessed with two major leisure facilities that closed within a couple of years of being built.

I think you're right that the fiasco that is the Iraq war will be Blair's signature failure but there are plenty of other fuckups that can be laid at his door. I really think the fact that, after ten years, he STILL can't articulate his government's policy direction points to a not very incisive mind. He gives a speech, you are none the wiser. What's that all about then?

You are far too charitable about this government's record which I believe is marred by arrogance and laziness and that will become more rather than less apparent as the gloss starts to wear off some of those shiny new buildings.

Hi Signs

I agree. Language has been rendered meaningless by the cynical spin cyclists. That one will come back to bite too. This government will learn the true meaning of the phrase 'leading by example'. If you don't give a fuck, neither will anyone else.

Of course, I meant it in a Bloomsbury kind of way - although I hasten to add I draw the line at menages-a-trois.

Ms Baroque said...

Linked. Bravo.

Political Umpire said...

Great post. Suppose Blair had been in Neil Armstrong's astronaut's suit at the moment of humanity's greatest achievement. He would have run out of oxygen before stepping foot on the moon, because he couldn't have shut up giving the speech (though, as he wouldn't have used the words 'man' or 'mankind', might have avoided that famous line-fluffing - or static, as NASA has it ...)

That's so pants said...

Thanks Ms B.

That's so pants said...

Dear P-Ump

Thanks. Now you've got me thinking. They're going to start those moon missions again right? Maybe he could be persuaded...