BLAIR, the universally hated and reviled ex-Labour prime minister, was thrown a lifeline in his quest to resurrect his political career as an anti-Brexit ‘insurgent’ on Wednesday. Labour MPs turned out en masse to ensure the overwhelming defeat of a motion calling for him to be held to account for the Anglo-US 2003 slaughter of the Iraqi people. Labour united with the Tories to stab the Iraqi people in the back, and to prepare to do the same at home to the UK workers in the days ahead!
The motion, put down by the SNP and supported by individual MPs from all parties, called for an investigation and action to be taken against Blair in the light of the Chilcot inquiry which ‘provided substantial evidence of misleading information’ being sold to parliament by Blair in order to fulfil his pledge to US President Bush contained in the infamous memo which stated, ‘I will be with you whatever’.
The ‘whatever’ in fact turned out to be the full-scale invasion of Iraq, the murder of its president and the killing of millions of Iraqi men, women and children as the country was smashed up and turned into a killing ground for imperialism’s jihadist allies.
These crimes were shrugged off, with a few honourable exceptions, as both Labour and Tory MPs jumped up to attack the very idea that Blair should be held responsible. Even Labour MPs who had voted against the war were quick to exonerate Blair from blame, insisting that he was ‘sincere’ in his belief in weapons of mass destruction, ignoring completely the existence of manufactured dodgy dossiers ‘sexed up’ by Blair and his advisors.
The final vote tells the whole story. Of the 70 MPs voting for, only 5 were Labour, with the bulk (48) being SNP with 6 Tories and the sole Green MP. Of the 439 who voted against, a massive 158 Labour MPs joined with 271 Tories to ensure Blair’s political survival.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had a ‘longstanding engagement’ in his constituency that conveniently meant he was absent for the debate and vote. Corbyn’s cowardly absence was matched by those of his ‘left’ allies in the leadership, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott.
With the vast majority of people believing that Blair should not just be investigated but brought to trial for war crimes, this overwhelming display of support is a betrayal, and a warning of what is ahead on the home front.
In fact, Blair has already announced that he is preparing to intervene once more in British politics to reverse the democratic decision to leave the EU by any means that should prove to be necessary.
He has pledged to launch what amounts to a new party, a third force, in the New Year to fight what he calls the ‘resurgent populist politics’ with the same dirty tactics as in Iraq. Blair is bidding to be the chosen bourgeois would-be dictator to take on the working class, who are not prepared to see their lives destroyed by a bankrupt capitalist system to pay off the debts of the bankers.
A group, including another ex-PM John Major (who objects to the ‘tyranny of the majority’ while being all in favour of the tyranny of bankers), is coalescing around Blair to give support. This emergency formation of political has-beens is a reflection of the desperate political crisis gripping British capitalism.
With the Tories completely shattered by the Brexit vote, Blair is preparing the ground for a right-wing coalition, a government of national salvation to save capitalism from a revolutionised working class.
Corbyn has no stomach for any fight against the right-wing or Blair; instead he is content to act as a safety valve for the hatred of workers towards this bankrupt capitalist system. He deliberately ducked out of a fight to break decisively with Blair and the right-wing just as he has ducked out of any real fight over the attacks by the Tories on wages, jobs, the NHS and the smashing up of the welfare state.
What is required today is not a leadership that talks ‘left’ but then runs away from a real fight, but a leadership that will call for and lead a struggle to bring down this Tory government and bring in a workers government and socialism. Only the WRP is building this leadership. Join today!