Now that Tony Blair has some difficulties in justifying the Iraq war, and his credibility with the British public is on decline, some are talking of the “Crisis of Blairism”. They say that Tony Blair has failed to follow the traditional values of the Labour Party, and this is why he is in such a mess.
But it was Tony Blair, and his “Blairism” that has given the Labour Party a new lease of life (with the invaluable support of John Major and his colleagues, without whose help even Blairism would not have resurrected the Labour Party).
But what we are witnessing is not the crisis of Blairism, but the crisis of politics as a method of government. Tony Blair is a candidate to becoming the Gorbachev of the British Party Politics.
There was no real opposition to Communism in Russia. But the system was so hopelessly unworkable, that even the communist ruling elite could not help understanding it and had to look for ways to “reform Communism” to make it work. But Communism was wrong in its basic principles. All the assumptions on which it was based were wrong. It needed to be scrapped completely rather then attempting to make it work. But the communist elite were themselves the product of Communism, and they could not “get it out of their system” completely. So, Gorbachev's attempts to reform Communism initially made him popular, but in the end they failed, and he was replaced by those who were ready to scrap the whole thing.
Tony Blair is in a similar position. He is a politician to the marrow‐bone. And he sees himself as a “left‐of‐centre” politician. But he does understand that the old class‐based party politics is obsolete. So he is trying to change party politics by making it less class‐based. And this has been the source of his initial popularity, which has lasted for over a decade. But he is still a politician, and he is still trying to cling to politics as a method of government. But politics as a method of government is just as wrong in its basic principles as Communism. And in the same way as the reason for the existence of Communism was human stupidity, the reason for the existence of politics is human stupidity.
What people need is government, that is, a dull, boring and difficult administrative activity, the purpose of which is to protect the society as a whole from stupidity and dishonesty of its members, and to perform some organizational and administrative tasks on behalf of the society as a whole. This activity must be totally impartial, otherwise the powers of government will be abused to favour some people at the expense of others, and the government will be corrupt.
But politics is favoritist and partisan by its very nature. It means using the powers of government to achieve ambitions, gratify wishes, and advance interests of some at the expense of others. Even in an “ideal democracy”, where everything is decided by vote and everybody “participates” in all the government decisions, the majority will be favoured at the expense of some minorities.
Thus politics is by its very nature corruption of government and is incompatible with honesty and justice, which are the pre‐requisites of successful governance.
Having understood that class‐based politics has no future, Tony Blair abandoned the traditional Labour rhetorics, but he did not abandon politics. But politics is all posing, posturing, ideology and rhetorics. Being unable to reject politics altogether, Tony Blair began to look for new rhetorics, while still yielding on some of the minor traditional “Left” issues, like banning fox‐hunting or “same‐sex partnerships” and promoting homosexuality in state schools.
When George Bush announced his “War on Terror”, Tony Blair saw in it a new ideology and the new rhetorics he was looking for. It had emotional appeal and potential for justification of unlimited “political” powers. It was a new idealism, similar to Communism, and Tony Blair seized this opportunity with his both hands.
But as with all idealisms, attempts to implement them in practice result in proving that they are unworkable. So, now we see how the American War on Terror is proving to be just another disaster, similar to the 20th century socialisms.
But it is not just Socialism1 and War on Terror that are unworkable. All politics, like all fraud, is bound to be discredited once the reality behind the ideologies, the posings, and the posturings is revealed. And as the events today are on a much larger scale and move at a much faster pace, and are seen by all the world in live motion on their TV screens, the fraud of politics becomes unmasked much faster than it was in the past.
So, now Tony Blair has a choice of either clinging onto politics while trying to make it work … and being swept aside like Gorbachev, or rejecting politics as a method of government completely and moving towards government by honesty and justice.
1) Some will object and say that it was Communism, not Socialism, that collapsed. But they are just different manifestations of the same envy‐based ideology — Social Justice. And all socialisms, nationalisms, the War on Terror and all the other ideologies are examples of use of politics as a method of government.