Ten glorious years

A leaked memo from some of Tony Blair’s closest advisers was revealed today, outlining a strategy for a glorious departure after ten years in office:

The memo describes how Mr Blair should depart from Number 10 in a whirlwind of TV and radio appearances, city visits and photo opportunities including plans to appear on Blue Peter, Songs Of Praise and Chris Evans’ radio show, according to the Daily Mirror.

The five-page memo says Mr Blair needs to “go with the crowds wanting more”

This is a truly frightening revelation, which shows that Tony Blair’s closest advisors are completely out of touch with the national mood.  They simply do not understand how damaged Blair’s image is today.

I personally think he was a good Prime Minister – for his time.  But that time ended a few years ago, and instead of bowing out with the “crowds wanting more”, he will leave unmourned and unloved by a public impatient to move on. 

I pray that this memo is a hoax by Blair’s political enemies, but somehow I don’t think this particular prayer will be answered.

Nation building and counter-insurgency

The BBC had this to say in the aftermath of the Nimrod aeroplane crash in Afghanistan:

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood said: “A lot of people hoped that it would be a peace-keeping, nation-building mission instead it is an active, counter-insurgency campaign.”

The implication, left hanging, is that counter-insurgency activities cannot be a part of a nation-building mission.  

The problem is, sometimes nation-building missions are more difficult than we would hope.  There will always be groups opposed to a nationa-building mission’s success, and sometimes they be well enough backed, and well enough organised to present a formidable opposition.  

At this point, nation building missions have to take stock and retrench somewhat, moving more into ‘nation-defending’ missions which try to preserve what little there is of a fragile government, while its opponents are defeated.  These kinds of missions are, of course, likely to require a far greater use of counter-insurgency tactics.

Blair to go on trial for war crimes – Drama

The television screens of England, it seems, are soon to be awash with political docu-dramas

Robert Lindsay, who played the prime minister in its satire of the David Blunkett affair A Very Social Secretary, will reprise his role for The Trial of Tony Blair. Also written by Alistair Beaton, the political satire imagines a future in which Gordon Brown is in No 10 and Mr Blair is put on trial for war crimes.

I’ll leave aside, for now, cracks about how some impressionable young prosecutor might try to emulate the movie and ruin an upstanding Prime Minister’s life by putting him on trial.

Because, actually, I’m quite looking forward to this show.  The cynic in me thinks there will be one of two endings:

  • He’ll be found guilty.
  • The programme will demonstrate conclusively that he is guilty, but he’ll get off on a technicality.

I hope, though, that Beaton takes the more challenging route of having the court exonerate Tony Blair.  Not necessarily because I believe he is innocent (or that he is guilty, for that matter), but because I think it would make for a more challenging and thought-provoking piece of television.

Stupid people don’t understand that drama is not real

British tv channel More 4’s new drama “Death of a President” has stirred up a controversy among the stupid peoplein our society.

The programme uses computer effects to portray an assassination of current US President, George W Bush during an anti-war rally in Chicago (althought what he’s doing at an anti-war rally is anyone’s guess).

And the reactions from the stupid? Well, try this for starters:

John Beyer, of TV watchdog MediaWatch, said it was irresponsible.

He said it could even trigger a real assassination attempt and told the Daily Mirror: “There’s a lot of feeling against President Bush and this may well put ideas into people’s heads.”

Yes, apparently there are people out there who are so suggestible that a tv drama will induce them to assassinate the President. 

(Update: Mediawatchwatch (!) spots Beyer’s even better follow up, which the BBC didn’t think to include in its report: “If something happens as a consequence of this film, then blood is on their hands.”  Priceless).

The Republican Party’s response wasn’t all that much more rational:

Spokesman Gretchen Essell said: “I cannot support a video that would dramatise the assassination of our president, real or imagined.”

“The greater reality is that terrorism still exists in our world. It is obvious that the war on terror is not over.

She added: “I find this shocking, I find it disturbing. I don’t know if there are many people in America who would want to watch something like that.”

And we all remember how badly Harrison Ford’s President in peril flick Air Force One flopped, don’t we?

Frankly, the only sensible response I heard came from the White House itsef = they refused to comment on the film.

I wonder how long before Michelle Malkin picks up on this story?