British Blairite goverment, was it ‘competent?’


This video from the USA says about itself:

Part 1: Tariq Ali on Chilcot Iraq Report: Tony Blair is War Criminal for Pushing Us into Illegal War

6 July 2016

While Iraq is marking a third day of mourning, a long-awaited British inquiry into the Iraq War has just been released. The Chilcot report is 2.6 million words long—about three times the length of the Bible. Using excerpts from private correspondence between former Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush, the report details how Blair pushed Britain into the war despite a lack of concrete intelligence. For example, eight months before the invasion, Blair wrote to Bush: “I will be with you, whatever.” Then, in June 2003, less than three months after the invasion began, Blair privately wrote to Bush that the task in Iraq is “absolutely awesome and I’m not at all sure we’re geared for it.” Blair added, “And if it falls apart, everything falls apart in the region.” For more, we speak with British-Pakistani writer, commentator and author Tariq Ali.

This video is the sequel.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Busting the myth of the Blair gang’s competence

Friday 26th August 2016

While the Labour right clings to the old New Labour values, SOLOMON HUGHES says it is they that are truly shambolic and the record shows it

A LOT of political criticism of Jeremy Corbyn is on “competence.” Partly this is about avoiding issues. Even the right-wing press don’t like to argue with Corbyn’s stance on, say, nationalising the railways, or regulating rents, or chasing tax avoidance. Because many Telegraph and Mail readers are often sympathetic to Corbyn’s positions. So let’s talk about “competence” instead.

For Labour’s anti-Corbyn MPs, the position is also easier to control. The basic argument is: “Jeremy isn’t competent because he can’t stop us all messing around.”

It’s a bit like how we used to treat the supply teacher. “He can’t be a good teacher because he can’t stop me running around the classroom and tearing up exercise books.” Labour MPs can “prove” he is incompetent by their own indiscipline.

For the press it is a similar self-fulfilling diagnosis: “He can’t run a competent media operation because he can’t stop us in the media writing rubbish about him.”

Of course there are real issues too. Your enemies will find your points of weakness. Corbyn is putting together an operation on the hop, without advanced planning and with too narrow parliamentary resources. Lots of Corbyn-friendly MPs are good, but there aren’t enough of them. Pulling together a team facing a mixture of hostility and incomprehension from the rest of the Labour MPs isn’t easy. Working with some of the sulks and obstructive types clogging up the Labour machine must be irritating.

Personally I think Corbyn and co. have generally done a good job considering the difficult circumstances.

The mix of experience from past campaigns and a lot of new enthusiastic volunteers counts for a lot. But no doubt the operation could be more sharply focussed.

However, “competence” isn’t just an abstract policy. It comes from who you look to for advice and what you want to do. Which is why the myth of Blairite competency is a myth. The failures are big and obvious and wilfully ignored.

Tony and Gordon thought bankers gave the best advice. They didn’t want to consult workers or unions or listen to Labour’s left or grassroots. They didn’t even set up the kind of “tripartite” union-management-government national bodies that “old Labour” and even some Tory governments could handle.

Instead, they appointed a series of bankers and management consultants and “business tsars” to advisory posts. The result was a widespread disaster. The “Treasury PFI Taskforce,” stuffed with bankers, advised that private finance initiative was great.

So Gordon and Tony wasted hundreds of billions. That wasn’t competence. The PFIs that succeeded were financially incompetent.

The London Underground “PPP” privatisation plan that failed was even less competent.

Celebrating the millennium with the business-sponsored but turgid and embarrassing Dome was a disaster, not competence.

Refusing to renationalise rail, then being forced into an emergency nationalisation of the track when a private firm’s failure lead to many deaths and the almost complete seize-up of rail traffic was not “competent.”

Handing over “workfare” to completely dubious private firms like A4e was a recipe for fraud and failure, not competence.

Deciding — unlike almost all previous Labour governments — to not build council houses, leading to a housing crisis, was not “competent.”

Starting the academy programme that handed schools to a bunch of cranks and some crooks was not “competent.”

Handing out slices of the NHS to over-charging private health firms was not “competent.”

New Labour’s NHS IT programme, driven by desire for privatisation — one of the worst, most expensive public-sector disasters ever — was not “competent.”

Announcing “the end of boom and bust,” deciding to deregulate the banks and then watching the worst financial crisis for decades unfold was not “competence.”

And finally, believing George Bush was our friend, and going into the Iraq war with a smile but no preparation was not just cruel and bloody, it was also deeply incompetent.

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