Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Legacy of Tony Blair

I've been meaning to comment on a column this week by Theodore Dalrymple, the nom de plume of Anthony Daniels, a British psychiatrist who worked for a long time in the British prison system. He is highly critical, and I think rightly so, of Mr. Blair. It's a lengthy article but perhaps these two paragraphs best sum up the man:

Tony Blair was the perfect politician for an age of short attention spans. What he said on one day had no necessary connection with what he said on the following day: and if someone pointed out the contradiction, he would use his favorite phrase, "It's time to move on," as if detecting contradictions in what he said were some kind of curious psychological symptom in the person detecting them.

Many have surmised that there was an essential flaw in Mr. Blair's makeup that turned him gradually from the most popular to the most unpopular prime minister of recent history. The problem is to name that essential flaw. As a psychiatrist, I found this problem peculiarly irritating (bearing in mind that it is always highly speculative to make a diagnosis at a distance). But finally, a possible solution arrived in a flash of illumination. Mr. Blair suffered from a condition previously unknown to me: delusions of honesty.

I'll give Tony Blair credit for recognizing the threat of Islamist terror and on supporting the war in Iraq despite its unpopularity but on scores of other issues such as British civil liberties and what the Samizdatistas might call the panopticon state, the right of self defense (even in one's own home), growth of the nanny state, political correctness, etc., I have to give him failing marks. Dalrymple chronicles much of it. My only worry is whether the British people will wake up in time to save themselves. A disarmed populace with an increasingly militant Islamist population could very well find itself taken over from within. I hope it never comes to that. Anyway, read the whole thing.
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