Tony Blair’s latest controversy is the final straw. Labour must expel him immediately.

Blair on BBC news night
Nathan Griffiths

Tony Blair’s latest controversy should leave Labour with no choice but to expel him from the party.

The former prime minister has escaped exile one too many times. But his actions are indefensible. And his most recent fail should surely be the final straw.

Fresh controversy

Blair has just been photographed smiling alongside Brazil’s fascist president Jair Bolsonaro. The former Labour leader met Bolsonaro at the World Economic Forum and looked more than happy posing alongside the openly racist and homophobic president.

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.

Blair isn’t afraid of criticising leaders he doesn’t agree with, often choosing to criticise his own party’s left-wing leadership. But it seems this animosity doesn’t extend to fascists. They are greeted with smiles instead.

Bolsonaro’s record so far

Bolsonaro has already amassed a horrific record in his short time as president, unleashing further misery onto Brazil’s minority populations. His neoliberal plan for economic prosperity is specifically and explicitly targeting Brazil’s indigenous, LGBTQI+, and poorer communities (which are overwhelmingly Black).

The self-proclaimed “proud homophobe” has previously said “If I see two men kissing in the street, I’ll hit them”, and that he “would be incapable of loving a homosexual son”. He also described immigrants as “the scum of the earth” and claimed residents living in communities founded by African descendants who escaped slavery “do nothing” and “are not even good for procreation”. Back when Bolsonaro was a congressman, meanwhile, he told a congresswoman that she was “not worth raping” because “she is very ugly”.

Being the architect behind ‘Blair’s babes‘ and Labour’s expansive immigration policies, you would have expected Blair to be vehemently opposed to even being in the same room as someone like Bolsonaro. But it seems the former PM’s dignity didn’t quite stretch far enough to resist a photo opportunity. His actions here are shameful. The Labour Party should’ve expelled Blair following the devastating invasion of Iraq. It must stop letting him get away with completely indefensible behaviour.

Iraq

Blair masquerading as a statesman at international conferences after his criminal 2003 invasion of Iraq should sicken even his most ardent supporters. His unnecessary war saw the murder of over 500,000 Iraqis (or at least a million, according to some). It also facilitated the rise of Daesh (Isis/Isil) and the civil war that followed. Blair still defends his disastrous intervention, though, claiming that he acted in “good faith”.

In response to criticism from Corbyn, Blair asserted that Corbyn wasn’t able to make the “difficult decisions” that world leaders have to make. In reality, Corbyn predicted exactly what would happen with Iraq during a speech in 2003. If Corbyn had had his way, the obliteration of Iraq would never have happened.

Blair is a war criminal. And war criminals should have no place in British politics – let alone in a supposedly progressive political party.

Neoliberalism is dying

In his most recent attack on Corbyn, Blair stated that “the Labour party is lost… the game’s over”. The reality is that Labour has only lost one thing: patience with Blair. Membership figures soared following Corbyn’s leadership victory, with the number of members now standing at a huge 540,000 people. The 2017 general election saw Corbyn’s Labour exceed all expectations, despite the relentless mainstream media smears and scaremongering. The idea of democratic socialism with Jeremy Corbyn at its helm saw Labour’s vote share increase by more than that of any labour leader since 1945.

The conclusion is simple. The party has rejected Blair’s stagnant neoliberalism (capitalist extremism) and Labour members want real change instead. The Blairite faction is now heavily outnumbered in the party, and ‘New Labour’ is as good as dead.

Labour has returned to its grassroots under Corbyn. If any lesson has been learnt over the past two decades, it’s that Labour should always be a socialist party. Unlike Blair, Corbyn is finally offering real opposition to the Tory party instead of diluted appeasement. The resentment against neoliberalism is evident everywhere. The world is growing tired of neoliberals, from Hillary Clinton to Emmanuel Macron. And far-right candidates are thriving as a result. But while Corbyn fights this far-right resurgence, Blair is standing alongside them.

It’s time to say goodbye

The murder of many hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq should’ve been enough. But cosying up to fascists must be the final straw. Tony Blair is no longer an asset to the Labour Party; nor does he represent the party’s values. Labour must bring this dark chapter to an end and wave goodbye to the disgraced former leader immediately.

 

CORRECTION: Updated at 4:25pm on 25 January to clarify that Bolsonaro’s “not worth raping” comment was directed at a congresswoman, not a reporter.

Featured image via BBC Newsnight/YouTube

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support
  • Show Comments
          1. As I said, the problem was that nobody knew the difference, the Blair govt. was every bit as right wing as the Tories (& the remaining Blairites still are), so nothing really changed for most people, except maybe that their hopes were smashed.

            1. For those too young to rememberhttps://keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com/labours-blairs-top-50-achievements-since-1997/

            2. Actually I am old enough to remember the Heath, Wilson & Callahan Govts. so please no more patronising, & pointing to a Blair supporting website to show how great Blair’s mob were proves nothing, I could point to a dozen sites that are far more impartial stating quite the opposite.

      1. And Blair got into power by cosying up to Murdoch, whose son’s baptism in the River Jordan he later attended. Margaret regarded Blair as her greatest legacy.
        “‘And behold an eagle descended upon him [Blair] saying ‘this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.'”

    1. The premise of this article seems to be that a person should be expelled from his political party for being photographed with someone unpleasant. That might prove a little worrying for Mr Corbyn.

    2. Ever since Murdoch was jealous his wife fancied Blair, even Labour supporters can only go on about Blair and Iraq. Who even remembers how Tories had made us so deeply involved with USA in the region, we couldn’t have left if we wanted? It isn’t surprising so many people want to leave EU because they want less people from Pakistan coming here, as they don’t know where Europe is.
      When Thatcher didn’t like EU preventing upper classes, bankers and corporations mistreating most British people, such as EU saying workers should have enough breaks and genetically modified ingredients should be labelled, the secret service whistle blower David Shayler told how she was going along with USA funding Al Qaeda against Gaddafi. A country people didn’t pay household bills, while more old British people were dying of cold than before.
      Then Thatcher helped cause Lockerbie by making Britain only country that allowed USA to use us as airport to bomb Libya which killed many. Other countries wouldn’t give them air space to make them fly around and Queen was upset at having such an uncaring PM.
      Then John Major made us 2nd largest force in 1st Iraq war, and then despite more British people being killed by USA friendly fire than Iraq, he committed us to staying in the region as 2nd largest force, so we had so many troops, equipment and contracts we couldn’t have left if we wanted. Who even remembers more Tories spoke in favour of 2nd war against Iraq, and more Tories voted in favour of it? When people go on about Blair and war crimes, why do they forget we wouldn’t have gone to war if more Tories hadn’t voted yes than other parties?
      It’s as if people have forgotten the great things Labour gave with only leader to win an election since the 70s. Encouraging more than ever go to university at low cost, which gave hope to many in communities destroyed by Tories when they made millions unemployed, so their only hope was 0 hours contract in supermarket. When people even bring up past wars, why do they forget generation that fought in the war were ones dying of cold in 80s after Tories stole and sold off public owned energy. Labour under Blair helped stop old people dying of cold

    3. I don’t understand why Labour seem to purposely want to lose the next election. It’s as if Corbyn doesn’t care about what people want. Half the country voted to leave the EU based on immigration alone, because for some reason they think non EU immigration and asylum has anything to do with the EU, and they don’t realise that most UKIP is made up of extreme capitalist Tories who would destroy society and people for only the upper class and their tax dodging corporate donors who live in tax haven to make more money. It will be like the 80s again where by the time Labour have a leader after 18 years anybody wants to vote for, many people won’t remember reality to go along with Tory propaganda blaming Labour for everything Tory’s cause. Like how Tories left us an economy based on not much more than banking after they made millions unemployed, lying that ship building would go over to third world countries when it’s now in rich countries like Japan, and that economy crashes every few years when nobody can pay the debts back they’re encouraged to live on. It even crashed by the early 90s when Tories were still in power, giving them an excuse to not put money into what public services were left to make them the worst in Europe.
      The media made a fuss when Boris Johnson said a stupid thing on a TV show, but the media didn’t say anything when on the same show he said there wasn’t a vote on the 2nd war against Iraq, but more Tories spoke in favour of and voted for the 2nd war. Does that mean media against EU is stupid, or they’re in with him talking nonsense?

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.