This was the place we reached; the ditch beneath
held people plunged in excrement that seemed
as if it had been poured from human privies.
And while my eyes searched that abysmal sight,
I saw one with a head so smeared with shit,
one could not see if he were lay or cleric.
I’ve been pondering theology of late.
If there is a God, and the medieval Catholic conception of hell is broadly correct, which circle of the inferno would be reserved for Tony Blair?
Perhaps the most appropriate would be the higher levels of the Malebolge (evil ditches) where panderers, seducers, and flatterers are sent to be eternally immersed in human excrement, the ocean of urine and faeces representing the false flatteries and empty words they secreted in life?
Or maybe he would be more at home in the frozen lake of Cocytus, the circle of traitors, forever encased in freezing ice for his pre-mortem treasons?
No? What about the leprous pit reserved for falsifiers, diseases upon society, who are themselves afflicted with a panoply of hideous afflictions too numerous to mention? In this circle, some of the afflicted lie prostrate while others rampage through the pits, tearing their fellow denizens to pieces. This is fitting. It would give Blair a taste of life in post-invasion Iraq.
The problem with Dante is that, having never met Tony Blair, he failed to specify whether the nine circles of hell could be arranged in an infernal Venn diagram in order to accommodate the former PM.
Alas, an irreconcilable materialist, I can only indulge these fantasies for so long. There is no Hell (although there is a Hague).
The thing that provoked these eschatological quandries was, of course, Bliar’s return to the spotlight, mainly to protest Brexit and ineffectually warn the Labour Party against the dangers of Jeremy Corbyn. Having been proven wrong about Corbyn, WMDs, and everything else of significance ever, has not dented the grimacing little toerag’s self-confidence. In fact, this week he declared ‘a new sense of mission’ (sending chills up the spine of Iraqis everywhere) and declared, in essence, that Brexit could be reversed, just so long as the UK was able to secure immigration controls. This is, of course, a load of old bollocks and, moreover, suggests that the only solution Tony Blair can offer to the pro-globalisation centre he claims to represent is a larger consignment of those ‘Immigration Controls Now’ mugs from the 2015 election.
Why does he bother giving this sort of advice? Who’s listening? Some, astonishingly, still are. One would be shocked to learn how many see Blair as their neoliberal saviour, the one man who can point a way forward for them in a world that they lack the intellectual apparatus to comprehend. Indeed, it’s a remarkable feature of some of the more out-of-touch amongst the hysterical windmill-tippers of the collapsing centre that they are all so firmly committed to the delusion that Tony Blair is popular, a strange notion that we have seen expressed or implied by various dumdums in recent months.
Unfortunately for the likes of Bill Emmott, still firmly in the denial stage of neoliberal grief, their emperor is very, very naked. In the words of Matthew Norman, he is fighting a war against his own irrelevance. This dismissal is not entirely accurate. Blair is not only struggling against irrelevance, but also contempt. One third of the British public want Tony Blair to be tried for war crimes, while more than half will ‘never forgive him’. These are the sort of opinions normally expressed about Liberian warlords, rather than European heads of government.
But if the public revile you, and even your own potential support base are wisely trying to avoid any association with you, what then is to be done?
Luckily, beneath the surface of formal politics, of elections, campaigns and parties, there is a fetid underbelly of think-tanks, NGOs and other forms of subterranean political or semi-political activity. The advantage of this sub-system is that, unlike the overt world of parliament and parties, where one has to go through the trouble of actually winning support from real humans, NGOs and think-tanks usually require only a big pile of money and a suitably inclined sugardaddy. This, after all, was the funding model of the crisis-ridden Blairite coven known as Progress and the preferred modus operandi of Right-Libertarians, the latter of whom have always struggled to carve out mass political support but don’t face much trouble in convincing individual plutocrats that driving licenses and age-of-consent laws are acts of Orwellian tyranny.
It’s no surprise then than Blair decided to descended into this spongy morass, his many millions of pounds proving a more than adequate replacement for any support outside of the Economist staff-room.
Tony Blair, twice as bad as most terrible people, in fact had two such projects, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (not including the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women), which have now been scrapped and streamlined into one organisation, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
The now-defunct Tony Blair Faith Foundation appears to have been staffed entirely by people born without the ability to comprehend irony (or morality). A quick glance at their ‘about’ page causes one’s eyes to roll with sufficient vigour to power the electricity grid of a small, provincial city.
We provide practical support to counter religious conflict and extremism in order to promote open-minded and stable societies.
See the sterling work our patron has accomplished in Northern Mesopotamia.
Over recent years we have witnessed deplorable acts of violence in the name of religion.
And in the name of an expansionary liberal interventionism / phantasmic WMDs.
Conflicts between and within religious groups in countries across the world continue to rage, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands and displacing millions of people.
These conflicts have nothing whatsoever to do with our founder, who is just lovely.
Those who distort religion for these ends are prepared to fight without hesitation, kill without mercy and die without regret.
As is Tony Blair himself.
Actually, that’s slightly unfair. Tony Blair may be willing to ‘fight without hesitation’ and ‘kill without mercy’ (by getting other people to do it), but I don’t think he would ‘die without regret.’ This would severely underestimate both his cowardice and smug sense of self-importance. I could go on, but the fact that the Tony Blair Faith Foundation put the following graphic on their website without the smallest hint of irony is a fairly shocking indictment of everyone involved.
The new Tony Blair Initiative for Global Change, presumably looking at the changes Tony made to Iraq and thinking ‘more of that will be good’, is even worse than the organisations that preceded it. One of its most striking features is just how obvious it is that the group is how little effort it makes to pretend to be anything other than a mouthpiece for Blair’s half-baked opinions and pronouncements.
A quick run through the organisation’s latest pronouncements makes this pretty clear. They include a podcast on how the ‘centre-left’ has to be a little bit racist in order to combat populism (astonishingly all the participants suddenly arrived at the same position as their boss, at the exact same time that he announced his opinion) and positive coverage of a conference love-in where Blair announced that he ‘can see a peaceful way through to the future in the Middle East.’ Tony Blair announcing that he can see a peaceful way through to the future in the Middle East is a bit like a convicted sex offender declaring that he can see an inconspicuous means of entering a school playground.
The saddest thing is that someone who isn’t Tony Blair had to write and post that press release.
So what exactly is the point of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, other than as a comfort blanket for a retired crypto-Thatcherite mass murderer? Let’s investigate the about section and see.
We are a team of 200 people united by the desire to face the hardest challenges across the world today
These challenges include:
- Attempting to rehabilitate the reputation of Tony Blair, who is less popular than venereal disease.
- Occasionally having to spend time in the company of Tony Blair.
- Looking in the mirror and knowing that you work for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
- Navigating those awkward situations at parties where someone asks you what you do for a living, you tell them that you work for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and then they inform you of the fact that you don’t deserve to live.
The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to making globalisation work for the many, not the few.
Take that Jeremy Corbyn!
Also, given that Blair has come out in favour of immigration controls (but not capital controls), it is actually the case that he is, in a very literal way, in favour of making globalisation work for the few not the many.
We offer new thinking and new approaches to addressing some of the most intractable problems leaders today are wrestling with.
‘Do more PFIs and bomb some places’
The Institute works to provide policy and strategy in support of a vision of globalisation designed to improve the well-being of the people, economically, politically, and socially. Our focus is on tackling the big challenges which hold such a vision of globalisation back:
And these are?
Poor governance which stops the benefits of globalisation being shared because countries cannot build the institutional strength and resilience to transform their situation and deliver for their people
Yeah, start running your governments like our friend Nazarbayev and you’ll be grand.
Conflict which entrenches sectarianism and paralyses progress, particularly in the Middle East
Ladies and gentlemen, a thing which was written and then posted unironically.
Western politics which is in urgent need of a new agenda to provide radical but sensible answers to the new challenges presented by globalisation, technology, and the rise of a new false populism.
The Institute will draw on the best ideas in both public and private policy spheres, and drive forward practical solutions to some of today’s global challenges.
We are focused on the big policy challenges that globalisation presents to today’s leaders, and aim to revitalise the centre ground through a corpus of new thinking.
So far, this new thinking has consisted of claiming (falsely) that significant immigration restrictions can be imposed within the confines of the EU. In true Blairite fashion, ‘new thinking’ essentially means telling bald-faced lies.
We aim to articulate a vision of liberal democracy that can garner substantial popular support, and to push back the destructive approach of populism which offers anger but no real answers.
Populism, conveniently, is never actually defined. So whether or not it can deliver answers is impossible to say. We don’t know to whom is being referred, though I have my suspicions.
This new populism may differ in some respects between left and right, but what is remarkable is the convergence between them, especially around isolationism and protectionism, in what is an essentially closed-minded approach to globalisation and its benefits.
This is yet another example of ‘People advocating the abolition of tuition fees and people who want to build gigantic border walls with Mexico are the same’, a morally retarded line of reasoning that only the sort of shameless, semi-sociopathic sycophants who work for the Tony Blair Institute for Change could possibly adhere to.
We are not a think tank. We are a non-party platform to inform and support those in the active front line of politics, and help them counter short term solutions based on a false ‘populism’. Our purpose is to provide radical but sensible answers to people’s concerns, and create a fact-based dialogue, not one in which emotion supersedes fact.
Where are the WMDs you ‘fact’-loving fuckwits who are lapdogs for the world’s most infamous liar?
Christ. By the way, if any of this sounds appealing, the Tony Blair Institute are hiring. They are looking for a Research Associate, Institutional Funding Manager and a Head of Events and Visits.
If you are considering applying for any of these positions then hope your parents are sufficiently ashamed of you.
So what is the actual purpose of the Tony Blair Institute for Change?
In the real world, Tony Blair might be a unique combination of irrelevance and pariah, but Tony doesn’t have to live in the real world. In the offices of the Tony Blair Institute for Change he can live in a much better world, one of his own creation, surrounded by well-paid lackeys who tell him exactly what he wants to hear, no matter how imbecilic. In this plush potemkin village, he is still important. All he has to do is look up at his name on the wall, at his own sleek website, and comfort himself with the delusion that he still significant, still on a mission, with a mission statement and everything.
Maybe, just maybe, you’re one of these lackeys. Maybe your job is to shred copies of the Chilcot report to reduce the chances of the boss encountering one in the wild. Maybe you just whisper nice things into his ear while pouring his coffee. Maybe you give PR advice to central asian kleptocrats. Maybe you just do part-time secretarial work.
You are the worst person ever.