Pilger on Britain’s New Labour

I don’t normally read The Guardian, but yesterday’s carried this piece by John Pilger (whose essays I always read). In his typically undisguised style, Pilger argues that Tony Blair and ‘his cult’ have ‘destroyed the very liberalism millions of Britons thought they were voting for’. He writes:

In the murdochracy that Britain has largely become, once noble terms such as democracy, reform, even freedom itself, have long been emptied of their meaning.

Gone is the bourgeoisie that in good times would extend a few rungs of the ladder to those below. From Blair’s pseudo-moralising assault on single parents a decade ago to Peter Hain’s recent attacks on the disabled, the “project” has completed the work of Thatcher and all but abolished the premises of tolerance and decency, however amorphous, on which much of British public life was based. The trade-off has been mostly superficial “social liberalism” and the highest personal indebtedness on earth.

And, according to Pilger, things are not looking any different under Brown:

Behind a facade of liberal concern for the world’s “disadvantaged”, such as waffle about millennium goals and anti-poverty stunts with the likes of Google and Vodafone, the Brown government, together with its EU partners, is demanding vicious and punitive free-trade agreements that will devastate the economies of scores of impoverished African, Caribbean and Pacific nations. In Iraq, the blood-letting of a “liberal intervention” may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, while the British occupiers have made no real attempt to help the victims of their lawlessness. And putting out more flags will not cover the shame. “The mortality of children in Basra has increased by nearly 30% compared to the Saddam Hussein era,” says Dr Haydar Salah, a paediatrician at Basra children’s hospital. In January nearly 100 leading British doctors wrote to Hilary Benn, then international development secretary, describing how children were dying because Britain had not fulfilled its obligations under UN security resolution 1483. He refused to see them.

Whole British communities now live in fear of the police. The British are distinguished as one of the most spied upon people in the world …

The cause of any real civil threat to Britons has been identified and confirmed repeatedly by the intelligence services. It is “our” continuing military presence in other people’s countries and collusion with a Washington cabal described by the late Norman Mailer as “pre-fascist”. When famous liberal columnists wring their hands about the domestic consequences, let them look to their own early support for such epic faraway crimes.

Britain is now a centralised single-ideology state, as secure in the grip of a superpower as any former eastern bloc country.

Dear John, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path …’ (Isaiah 30:10b-11a)

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