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Tony Blair has the sads over Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. In case you care what he has to say about anything.

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  • Jhoosier

    Both of them, please.

    • Thom

      To be fair, W has mostly gone away.

      • Nobdy

        He came roaring back into the public eye recently to support Jeb!’s candidacy.

        He did just as much good for Jeb! as he did for the people of Iraq too.

        Still has that Dubya touch.

        • GoDeep

          Good thing the Supreme Court is split 4 – 4 otherwise zombie Scalia might find a way to still get them into the Oval Office.

      • Judas Peckerwood

        Yup, too bad his lapdog lacks that same sense of shame/laziness/good sense/whatever.

        The only way Blair and Bush should be allowed to comment on public policy or any issue is from inside a bamboo cage.

    • AlanInSF

      He’s still allowed to go out in public without getting arrested?

  • Nobdy

    “It’s very similar to the pitch of Jeremy Corbyn,” Blair said. “Free tuition fees: well, that’s great, but someone’s going to have pay for it. An end to war, but there are wars.”

    It’s hard to argue with that. There are wars. Especially when you’re prime minister of Britain and you are instrumental in helping start 2 wars, which destabilizes an already unstable region. Then there are even more wars! You can even profit from some of them!

    I dislike Blair even more than Bush in some ways. Sure Bush was overall more damaging to the world, but he was also the guy he sold himself as. The people who voted for him mostly got what they wanted, and he’s still popular with them. Blair pitched himself as much more liberal but was in many ways just as bad. Having Blair as prime minister would be like electing Al Gore only to have George Bush take office. I mean I guess that happened too, but you know what I mean!

    • GoDeep

      Did Tony Blair start to wars or one? If my memory isn’t faulty it was Osama bin Laden who started the Afghanistan war.

      • Lee Rudolph

        The fuck it was, asshole.

        • Thom

          We could argue it was the Soviet Union, or, to go back further, the British Empire.

        • GoDeep

          Oh so that was Tony Blair who divebombed jetliners into the World Trade Center and killed over 3,000 people?

          And all this time, bin Laden has been getting an undeserved bad rap!

      • I’m afraid I have to agree here.

        I think the war in Afghanistan was a necessary response to 9/11.

        The Bush administration never really had their heart in it. They seemingly viewed it as a distraction from what they really wanted to do which was invade Iraq.

        Rumsfeld infamously said: “We have good targets in Iraq. We don’t have good targets in Afghanistan.”

        Kind of like the guy looking for his lost car keys on the opposite side of the street because “the light’s better over here”.

        • Nobdy

          Osama Bin Laden was never the head of state of Afghanistan and there are better reactions to terrorism than war.

          Note that the war in Afghanistan didn’t even ‘get’ Bin Laden even as it killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

          It sure as hell didn’t stop terrorism.

          • GoDeep

            Most times there a better reactions to terrorism than war. But 911 wasn’t most times. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks we thought over 5,000 people had been killed. This is not a case suited for NYPD detective Lenny Briscoe and crusading DA Jack McCoy.

            Or were you willing to serve that arrest warrant?

            • DrDick

              It did not even accomplish its stated goal of deposing the Taliban who gave Al Qaeda cover. Of course both groups were heavily funded and armed by Ronny Raygunz.

              • GoDeep

                Yeah well unfortunately George W’s execution was pretty shitty. Had Obama prosecuted that war Osama bin Laden would have been killed many years earlier and the Taliban routed.

                You’re deeply unserious if you think there was any alternative to war after 9:11. If there’s any time for war its when you think 5000 of your citizens have just been killed. Your naivete is precious.

                • DrDick

                  Your brutal sociopathy and ignorance are anything but precious. There were numerous alternatives to war, none of which were attempted. If anything the war in the Middle East made thing much worse than they were before.

              • AlanInSF

                Most people who thought about it any more deeply than “We’ve got to hit somebody!” knew that, whatever good reasons anyone could come up with for going to war in Afghanistan, the result would be exactly what happened: Spending hundreds of billions of dollars, killing and uprooting thousands of civilians, not capturing Bin Laden or setting back international terrorism, getting into something we had no way to get out of, and, after all that, making things worse than they were before. So there’s that.

                • LeeEsq

                  No elected politician is going to face the public and say even though we were hit by a deadly terrorist attack, we decided that the best thing to do is nothing. Going to war in Afghanistan might have tactically stupid but it was probably inevitable from the stand point of electoral politics.

        • djw

          I’m afraid I have to agree here.

          I think the war in Afghanistan was a necessary response to 9/11.

          That view is consistent with the view that, in fact, the US along with the UK and others started the war when they invaded Afghanistan in order to effect regime change.

          To argue that an act of terrorism committed by non-state actors actually starts a war, rather than motivates other parties to start one, is a back-door effort to avoid having to make the case that starting a war to depose the Taliban was justified and/or wise. Perhaps it was, but the case needs to be made. Godeep is just trying to avoid the burden of making the case, by changing the definition of words.

          • GoDeep

            No go deep is just underscoring the silliness of the argument by doubling down on the silliness. The Taliban and Osama bin Laden were allied, through marriage even, and the Taliban refused to hand bin Laden over. So the phrase “non-state actor” is doing a lot of work.

          • Craigo

            The al-Qaeda branch in Afghanistan was not a non-state actor, speaking of changing the meaning of words. That’s ignorance or hypocrisy talking.

            • IIRC we gave the Afghan government at the time the option of delivering them to us. They refused.

              If you’re hiding a mass murdered in your basement, don’t be surprised when the SWAT team kicks down your door.

              Since you wanted to use a law-enforcement analogy.

              • sonamib

                If you’re hiding a mass murdered in your basement, don’t be surprised when the SWAT team kicks down your door.

                So shouldn’t the approach have been “get bin Laden and get out”? That’s not what actually happened in Afghanistan. But that’s the way it did happen in Pakistan, with a lot less bloodshed.

              • Linnaeus

                If you’re hiding a mass murdered in your basement, don’t be surprised when the SWAT team kicks down your door.

                Although a SWAT team typically doesn’t flatten your house and occupy your neighborhood for a decade or more.

              • Judas Peckerwood

                If you’re hiding a mass murdered in your basement, don’t be surprised when the SWAT team kicks down your door.

                Or, you know, if you defaulted on your student loan.

              • Bill Murray

                Actually they said they would turn him over to a third country if any evidence of OBL’s guilt was given. President Bush saying we know he’s guilty was thought not to count.

                http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/oct/14/afghanistan.terrorism5

                • petesh

                  And that was after the bombing started. There were other talks before, if ultimata count as negotiations. Shortly before the WTC attacks, there were numerous signs that the Taliban was beginning to open up. No one took advantage of this. It’s a long-gone mess but I still do not think that war was inevitable — just politically convenient. A few people gathered spontaneously at our Town Clock when the launch of the Cruise missiles was announced. I am glad I was one, even though I missed seeing Bonds’ 73rd HR. Bathos sometimes helps us to live.

    • dm

      There will always be war when you have people like Blair/Bush/Obama/Clinton-Kissinger around and elites happy to profit from their policies.

      For those who say war was a reasonable response, maybe you can explain: how did war solve any of the problems brought to light by the 911 crime? How did war bring justice to the victims of that crime? It seems to me that it just made everything worse. 26,000 civilians died in Afghanistan and around 30,000 were wounded. The economy was shattered and replaced with a narcotics trade. Families lost their means of employment and homes. Innocent children were orphaned. On the American side all I see is a population filled with fear and elites using the attack as an excuse to remove gains in civil rights.

      • YRUasking

        The economy was shattered and replaced with a narcotics trade

        Uhhh… about that

        • dm

          That’s kind of misleading. What improvements they have seen come from foreign aid and opium production. Afghanistan remains one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 175th on the United Nations’ Human Development Index. Ordinary people continue to suffer from shortages of housing, clean drinking water, and electricity and high unemployment rates. And with the shift to opium production rather than food it is hard to imagine the situation will improve any time soon.

  • sibusisodan

    I actually pity Blair, in a way. He started believing his own hype, and has become tragic, sanctimonious, a vacuous husk of a person.

    But in 97 he was near the top of a political cohort Labour would kill to be able to replicate. And he’s ruined most of what they were able to create.

    I’d like to have lived in a world where John Smith and Robin Cook lived longer.

    • Lee Rudolph

      But in 97 he was near the top of a political cohort Labour would kill to be able to replicate.

      He eviscerated Clause IV in 1995, and everything after that was working out the details. Fuck him.

      • EliHawk

        The world eviscerated Clause IV. The idea that if it weren’t for Tony Blair, ownership of the means of production was just around the corner is just stupid.

        • Murc

          It is possible to believe that eviscerating Clause IV was a massive betrayal of core Labour principles and also that it was nowhere near being implemented at the same time, you know. Those two venn diagrams can overlap.

          • EliHawk

            At some point, an impossible promise stops being a core principle and starts being a fool’s errand. Principles are goals. Clause IV was a means to an end, and ill served that end. It was a “core Labour principle” ignored every time Labour were ever in Government. The current Clause IV, which states:

            “The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.”

            is actually a far better representation of Labour’s actual goals and policies, as they were actually implemented and believed, than the original 1917 version.

    • guthrie

      People who know more about politics than me say that between them, Blair and Browns egotistical activities and desire to crush opposition within their own party meant that there just weren’t any quality successors to them when they had to retire. This meant that almost all that was left were useless scum, unable to oppose a genuinely principled person whose views fitted with more of the electorate.

    • EliHawk

      I think the real question is where does Britain go if Al Gore gets a few hundred more votes in Florida. First term Blair was comfortably in the Clinton-Gore mainstream on humanitarian intervention/R2P as the basis for overseas military action. A world where US Foreign Policy stays on the Clinton basis instead of the neocons rushing into Iraq in 2002-03 is one where Blair avoids the Bush taint, never invades Iraq, and so never loses his popularity. New Labour was still about as popular in 01 as in 97 and mostly avoided the 01-02 recession. Even with Blair/Brown tensions and the 08 financial crisis, there’s every reason to think that, sans Bush, and thus sans Iraq, the Labour Party would still be in Government instead of heading off a cliff. At the very least, Blair would have retired a well liked Clinton-esque figure instead of a hated ‘war criminal.’

  • In a just world he’d be spending the rest of his life changing bedpans at whatever the British equivalent of Walter Reed is.

  • EliHawk

    Sanders is fine, but he’s dead right on Corbyn. He’s a fucking disaster. The Tories are tearing themselves apart over the EU, economic growth is still limping along over austerity lite, the collapse of oil should be sending shock waves through the SNP, but none of this matters because the Opposition is a complete and utter basket case, down in the polls by 10+ points, waging a civil war over Trident, a policy that will completely be decided and implemented before the next General Election. He’s a complete utter disaster for the Labour Party, someone who wants to be king of a tiny club rather than actually lead the country and do any good for actual people. People who think it’s no different whether Blair or Cameron (or, more accurately, Brown or Osbourne) lead the country are the same idiots who see no difference between Clinton and Cruz/Paul/Rubio/Bush.

    • sibusisodan

      On the flip side, we’re over four years away from a general election, so even the rejuvenated essence of Kier Hardie would be no more electorally significant than the incumbent.

    • Murc

      He’s a complete utter disaster for the Labour Party, someone who wants to be king of a tiny club rather than actually lead the country and do any good for actual people.

      If this is true about Corbyn (and I don’t accept that it is) then it was even more true for everyone he defeated in the leadership election.

      To the extent Corbyn might be a disaster, he was a foreseeable disaster caused by many, many years of Labour’s leadership riling up and ignoring an ever-increasing share of its membership. (Who, it is important to note, worked within the system to accomplish change; they organized and won a leadership election rather than bolting the party.) You might argue that said membership has unrealistic political goals that will never, ever be broadly acceptable to the British electorate… but if that’s the case, the problem isn’t Corbyn, it’s that the British left has severe and irreconcilable ideological cleavages that cannot be resolved through the normal compromise process.

      As far as leading the country goes… you need to get into power to lead, and in the near future that means Labour is going to need to accept the possibility of coalition with the SNP, which shows no signs of collapsing anytime soon. Without Scotland they’re completely irrelevant even if they make a historically strong showing south of the Firth of Forth.

      • Craigo

        Labour won a majority of English seats in 1997, 2001, and 2005. (It’s extraordinarily difficult to win a British majority without winning an English majority as well, especially since neither major party contests NI seats, IIRC).

        • Murc

          This is true, but my understanding is that the math has changed such that the vote percentages that produced wins in those years will now produce losses in the foreseeable future. And my read on that is that it means they either need to be winning vote totals that are implausibly high in England, or they also need Scotland.

          • EliHawk

            Or, more to the point, in the last election English voters don’t like the SNP enough that they don’t trust Labour not to give away the store to them in Coalition, so they won’t get a majority in England anyway unless their position is considered strong enough the SNP won’t matter. England voters won’t give them a mandate unless English voters have given them a mandate. They’re stuck in a Catch-22.

          • Craigo

            I don’t think the math isn’t there – they won 40% of the English seats last year, which is not terrible. UKIP has cut both ways so far, but if Cameron wins the referendum you could see a lot of English euroskeptics joining them.

            The rise of the SNP badly hurts, but even adding every single Scottish seat to Labour’s England and Wales haul would not have produced a minority government, let alone a majority. And one-party governments tend to become corrupt and shiftless, so it’s not out of the question that Labour never becomes competitive in Scotland again.

            If not for Corbyn’s deep unpopularity, Labour would have been strongly positioned in the next election. As it is, they may not have a chance until the current Scotland/Europe debates have run their course.

            • Murc

              I don’t think the math isn’t there – they won 40% of the English seats last year, which is not terrible.

              They won 35% of the seats, with 30% of the vote.

              In 2010, they won 39% of the seats with 29% of the vote.

              They increased their vote share and actually lost seats.

              The rise of the SNP badly hurts, but even adding every single Scottish seat to Labour’s England and Wales haul would not have produced a minority government, let alone a majority.

              Not saying it would have. I’m saying that the path to governing seems damned near impossible without the cooperation of the SNP on some level.

              And one-party governments tend to become corrupt and shiftless, so it’s not out of the question that Labour never becomes competitive in Scotland again.

              Yeah, but when? Sometime in the next ten years? Before the Tories finish wrecking up the place?

              • Craigo

                They won 206 seats in England, out of 533, which is what i was talking about. That’s a shade under 40%, and an increase from 2010. Labour’s net loss in 2015 came from the wipeout in Scotland.

                Cooperation with the SNP – or even openness to the idea – tends to produce hostility in England and Wales. There’s no easy way to thread that needle, but Labour has more winnable seats in the south than it does in Scotland – and if they signal cooperation with the SNP and Scotland leaves, they’re going to have to run in England and Wales with that hanging over their heads for absolutely no benefit.

                As for when they can win – 2025, maybe? I thought they had a chance in 2020, as I said, with Europe tearing the tories apart, but I’m pretty pessimistic now. Barring a black swan event, it’s another twenty years of Tory rule.

      • EliHawk

        To the extent Corbyn might be a disaster, he was a foreseeable disaster caused by many, many years of Labour’s leadership riling up and ignoring an ever-increasing share of its membership. (Who, it is important to note, worked within the system to accomplish change; they organized and won a leadership election rather than bolting the party.) You might argue that said membership has unrealistic political goals that will never, ever be broadly acceptable to the British electorate… but if that’s the case, the problem isn’t Corbyn, it’s that the British left has severe and irreconcilable ideological cleavages that cannot be resolved through the normal compromise process.

        Agreed in some respects. I really think it’s too easy to make the Corbyn/Sanders comparison, when his closer analogue is Trump. He’s the antipolitics tribune of a section of the party that absolutely despises their opponents but also their own leadership, and sees them as complete sell outs. It’s no surprise that the thing that turbocharged his leadership campaign was the Labour abstention on Osbourne’s welfare bill. Labour’s interim leadership rightly saw it as a political trap to be avoided and that they couldn’t stop anyway, but the membership saw it as being insufficiently anti-Tory and anti-Austerity. It was the British equivalent of being pissed at Boehner/McConnell for not being anti-Obama enough.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          “He’s the antipolitics tribune of a section of the party that absolutely despises their opponents but also their own leadership, and sees them as complete sell outs.”

          You say he’s more like Trump than Sanders, but this is a dead-on description of Sanders supporters’ attitudes towards the Democratic leadership.

      • If this is true about Corbyn (and I don’t accept that it is) then it was even more true for everyone he defeated in the leadership election.

        My feeling is that Corbyn is very much like a successful Sanders (though Sanders wasn’t really the quotidian rebel against the Democrats that Corbyn was against Labour): He entered the race to push things a bit and ended up winning. Now we have the problem that 1) he wasn’t really ready to win, 2) the party apparatus really wasn’t ready to have him win, and 3) he isn’t an extraordinary sui generis talent.

        2 is something worth complaining about and, to some extent, so is 1. We need a plan and we need the party to pull together around that plan.

    • MPAVictoria

      Blaming Corbyn for this is the height of dishonesty. Corbyn is the one whose policies reflect the beliefs of the party members. However instead of accepting this and rallying around the party these traitors would rather see the Tories in power. Fuckers.

      • EliHawk

        Members don’t equal voters. This isn’t like a US primary system, where ultimately 40-50% of the people who vote for a party in November end up selecting the person who leads the ticket. Members are roughly 1% of a party’s electorate. Saying the party should be only beholden to the most agitated activists is like the Tea Party effort to nominate candidates by state convention instead of general primary. A terrible, unrepresentative idea. And a recipe for doom. It’s like saying Cameron should only govern for the Little England soft-UKIPers that make up the Tory membership.

        • Craigo

          One correction – the leadership election turnout was equal to about 5% of Labour’s GE turnout, not 1%.

          That said, 5% is not very representative. And Labour’s GE turnout wasn’t great to begin with. American-style primary elections don’t appear to work very well outside of American-style mass parties.

        • MPAVictoria

          You would have a point if Corbyn’s policies were not also popular with the average voter. Of course they will never know that because he is being betrayed by those who should be defending him and attacked by the ridiculously right wing media.

        • Murc

          This isn’t like a US primary system, where ultimately 40-50% of the people who vote for a party in November end up selecting the person who leads the ticket.

          AHAHAHAHAHAHA.

          If you think primary turnout is that high in the US you are dead wrong. If 25 million people were participating in the Democratic primary we’d be fucking over the moon.

          Members are roughly 1% of a party’s electorate. Saying the party should be only beholden to the most agitated activists is like the Tea Party effort to nominate candidates by state convention instead of general primary. A terrible, unrepresentative idea.

          If not members, then who should be picking party leaders?
          Every other Labour leader was picked by methods that were even more unrepresentative and involved even fewer people than the one that resulted in Corbyn. If Corbyn is illegitimate so were they.

          • MPAVictoria

            This! Also the left wing of labour bought the “lesser of two evils” argument and supported Blair. Time to return the favour.

          • EliHawk

            If you think primary turnout is that high in the US you are dead wrong. If 25 million people were participating in the Democratic primary we’d be fucking over the moon.

            I was using 2008 numbers because that’s the last time there was actually a ‘national primary’ (i.e. it wasn’t over before half the world had voted. So you had closer to a uniform national turnout than you will if this is over on Tuesday and nobody shows up to vote in California or New York in two months.) Granted there was record turnout, but the total Democratic vote in that primary was 36 million. Obama won 69.5 million votes that fall. Was turnout up that year? Yes. But that’s at least somewhat cancelled out by the fact that Obama also won in a landslide (i.e. your numerator and your denominator were both above average). And that’s above 50%, outside of my range anyway.

            Hell, in New Hampshire, McCain got 316,500 votes that fall, and there were 235,000 GOP primary voters that spring. That’s way above 50%. In New Hampshire this year, there were 251,000 Democratic Primary voters, and 284,000 Republican ones. Four years ago, Obama won 369,500 votes and Romney 330,000. So that’s 68% and 86% of their fall electorates. Even if turnout is up this fall, that’s way, way, way above my 40-50% estimate.

            Even in California: McCain won 5.01 million votes that fall. The GOP primary that year? 2.9 million voters. Above 50% again. Even in 2012, when it took place long after Romney was the nominee, the GOP primary had 1.9 million votes, and Romney won 4.8 million in the fall: 40%.

            If not members, then who should be picking party leaders?
            Every other Labour leader was picked by methods that were even more unrepresentative and involved even fewer people than the one that resulted in Corbyn. If Corbyn is illegitimate so were they.

            I’m not really saying he’s more or less legitimate, I’m saying that basing your political party around what the people most committed to show up to meetings are is a terrible idea. The members are NOT the party. The electorate is.

            • Murc

              I’m saying that basing your political party around what the people most committed to show up to meetings are is a terrible idea.

              Do you have a better idea, tho?

              Decisions are made by those who show up. They just… are.

              • EliHawk

                Do you have a better idea, tho?

                Decisions are made by those who show up. They just… are.

                Well, yeah. It’s called listening to the voters. Decisions are made by those who show up all right, on election day. And there are a lot more of them than those who can show up for a meeting of the Subcommittee of the East Walthamdale and Stratfordshire Labour Party Planning Committee.

                • Murc

                  Well, yeah. It’s called listening to the voters.

                  Okay. If those voters refuse to turn up for anything other than election day, despite given a lot of inducement to do so, explain to me what mechanism and structure the Labour Party should adopt that adapts to their preferences in their absence.

                  And also what mechanism can account for a genuinely shattered constituency.

                • EliHawk

                  Okay. If those voters refuse to turn up for anything other than election day, despite given a lot of inducement to do so, explain to me what mechanism and structure the Labour Party should adopt that adapts to their preferences in their absence.

                  In a world where those voters elect actual Members of Parliament, I generally don’t have a problem with said MPs voting for their leader. It’s the way we elect our Congressional Leadership. It’s not perfect, but it’s a fair enough system to represent the aggregate will of the party’s voters in a representative democracy. Representatives are generally attuned to the beliefs of their constituents. It’s not as good as a primary, but it’s still better than the alternative narrow selectorates, and might have the benefits of mitigating the British system’s increasing Presidentialism.

                • Murc

                  … so three hundred or so Labour Party members are sufficiently representative of the electorate as long as they have the letters “MP” in front of their name, but tens of thousands of Labour Party members from all walks of life are not.

                  Gotcha.

    • AMK

      Blair is also responsible for the rise of the SNP, which was a glorified street protest for 50 years until he decided to hand them a parliament to use as a soapbox.

  • twbb

    Blair serves a valuable purpose, as something to throw back at outraged Brits sneering at American foreign policy, particularly since GWB actively and enthusiastically used Blair’s support as evidence of his supposed foreign policy effectiveness.

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