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Tony Blair

Editorial: Rats, Hypocrites and Bastards

Every Labour MP is entitled to make one valid observation, even though most of them decline the opportunity. Aneurin Bevan described the Tories as being "lower than vermin" - a verity which should have had the average rat rushing for his libel lawyer. Churchill described the Tort Party as "organised hypocrisy" - until he left the Liberals and joined it with the conviction of a true-blue hypocrite. Major called them "bastards", so proving that nobody gets everything wrong. And Tony "Dim-But-Nice" Blair reckons they're bloody good blokes and why can't the Labour team be a bit more like them?

Socialists say that Tories are unashamed defenders of the indefensible: a social system which puts profits before needs. The only good Tory is a repentant one.

Proper Gander: Stripped Blair

Proper Gander

IN THE dark corridors beneath the Chilcot theatre, Gordon Brown has finally caught up with Tony Blair. He raises his gun and Blair tries to talk his way out of a tight situation one last time: “I think you’ll make a great Prime Minister. You’ll love it. The girls. The parties. Power’s a great aphrodisiac.” Brown doesn’t listen and, trembling, he pulls the trigger.

And so marks the end of Blair’s escape from those who turned on him, as imagined in The Comic Strip Presents: The Hunt For Tony Blair. This enjoyable one-off reunited the team who have been making short comedy films since Channel Four’s launch in 1982. Previously, their output has included both the miners’ strike and Ken Livingstone’s takeover of the Greater London Council filmed in the style of Hollywood blockbusters. The Hunt For Tony Blair developed this approach by presenting Blair’s downfall as a 1950s film noir.

Book Reviews: 'Why Marx Was Right', 'Speak for Britain!', 'The Political Economy of Development'

Marx was righter than this

Why Marx Was Right. By Terry Eagleton (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011) £16.99

Was Marx right? As Terry Eagleton points out in the preface to this book, of course he wasn’t. No thinker gets everything right, nor can any reasonable person expect them to. But was Marx “right enough of the time about enough important issues to make calling oneself a Marxist a reasonable self-description”? In this sense, Eagleton says the answer is yes. And Eagleton is right.

Editorial: The side show

Reform of the House of Lords, changing the voting system, elected local mayors, these are the issues the politicians and media have wanted us to get interested in recently. But why, when a recession is looming, are they trying to get us so worked up about constitutional issues?

The experience of the three previous recessions since 1973 has taught politicians that they can do nothing to stop a recession coming. All they can do is brace themselves and wait for it to pass by. There is, however, one field where a government does have some power to change things—the constitution. The Blair government has been exploiting this to the full, in a bid to avoid losing credibility through appearing to be completely powerless.

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