MAESTRO OF SELF-DELUSION; Ignore Education Decline, Tax Rises, the Collapse of His European Dream, the Immigration Shambles and Mounting Social Problems ... Mr Blair Seems to Have Obtained a Divorce from Ordinary Cares and Real People While Occupying a World of His Own into Which Only the Almighty, Cherie, George Bush and a Handful of Apostles May Intrude

Daily Mail (London), September 28, 2005 | Go to article overview

MAESTRO OF SELF-DELUSION; Ignore Education Decline, Tax Rises, the Collapse of His European Dream, the Immigration Shambles and Mounting Social Problems ... Mr Blair Seems to Have Obtained a Divorce from Ordinary Cares and Real People While Occupying a World of His Own into Which Only the Almighty, Cherie, George Bush and a Handful of Apostles May Intrude


Byline: MAX HASTINGS

CONSIDER a historical cameo of Blairism. In 1802, a European ambassador in St Petersburg described a mass baptism beside a hole in the ice of the frozen river Neva.

The bearded Russian patriarch conducting the ceremony dropped an infant whose body plunged into the depths, never to be seen again. 'Davoi drugoi,' intoned the archbishop impassively. 'Pass me another.' Omitting only the black beard, here was a performance immediately identifiable with our Prime Minister. Yesterday, Tony Blair was perhaps the only person in Labour's conference hall at Brighton apparently oblivious that he has presided over a national disaster, the war in Iraq, together with a host of lesser failures.

'We have been change-makers,' he proclaimed proudly, 'and that is what we must stay. It is a privilege to be Prime Minister of such a country.' From far, far away - from some mountain infinitely more remote than the stage on which he stood - he delivered the gospel to us common mortals.

Accept we must stick out his war. Ignore the decline of our education system, looming tax rises, the collapse of his European dream, the chaos of the immigration system, the budgetstarved Armed Forces, ever-mounting social problems, disappointed hopes and broken promises.

'Davoi drugoi,' demands Tony Blair.

Pass him another infant.

He is determined to go on and on, not merely because his wife has so much more shopping to do, but because he believes that triumphant vindication of his premiership lies just over the horizon.

LIKE some 15th century flat-earth navigator who sailed ever onward, confident that eventually he would reach the edge of the world, Blair thinks another year or two, or three, will secure his legacy.

The British people will perceive that our schools and hospitals are getting better.

Europe will start looking good again. Democracy will take root in Iraq. Tony Blair's status will be confirmed as one of the foremost statesmen of our time.

And, of course, he keeps for that much longer the delicious sweetmeats of power: outriders and helicopters, deferential aides and secret reports, obsequious colleagues and splendid residences.

'Why should he give up?' a Tory veteran, who himself came tantalisingly close to the premiership, said to me recently.

'He's got the best job there is.' For all Gordon Brown's relentless public pacing of the steps of 10 Downing Street, the Chancellor seems to have no clue how to evict the sitting tenant. That tenant yesterday served notice that no offer of compensation will induce him to pack his bags before he chooses.

A year ago, many of us asserted that the last phase of the Blair era had begun, that it was hard to see how the British people, or even the Labour Party, could profit from the Prime Minister's continuance in office much past the General Election.

Yet here we all are, approaching the end of 2005, and not a single minister or commentator in Brighton is willing to wager that Blair will be gone next year, never mind this one.

He addressed conference yesterday as a man convinced that only he can continue the visionary struggle to make Britain safe for Blairism.

'Nothing good comes easy,' he said. 'You just have to persevere.' He spoke with the fervour of a leader auditioning to fight his first General Election, rather than just past his last one.

It is extraordinary, is it not?

The polls show public respect for Blair once more waning after the brief upsurge following the London bombings, yet his self-belief remains impregnable. 'Government is not just a state of office, it is a state of mind,' he said dreamily.

We may suspect that President Bush's compact with God is at least partly cynical.

The Prime Minister's equivalent arrangement is not. He is sincerely convinced that he represents the forces of virtue, and that only heretics do not recognise this. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

MAESTRO OF SELF-DELUSION; Ignore Education Decline, Tax Rises, the Collapse of His European Dream, the Immigration Shambles and Mounting Social Problems ... Mr Blair Seems to Have Obtained a Divorce from Ordinary Cares and Real People While Occupying a World of His Own into Which Only the Almighty, Cherie, George Bush and a Handful of Apostles May Intrude
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.