Blair: winning hearts and minds *and* the War on Terror

This entry was posted on
Monday, November 15th, 2004
10:41 am and is filed
under The War on Stupid.

Independent – Blair places ‘war on terror’ at heart of election campaign: Tony Blair has decided to confront opponents of the Iraq war head on by placing the “war on terror” at the heart of Labour’s campaign in the coming general election. The Prime Minister has privately admitted that attempts to “move on” from Iraq are doomed to failure. He has ordered a new “twin-track” strategy for the election, expected this spring, based on the themes of “opportunity and security”.

Puppies, flowers, sugar, spice and look out – terrorists!

I’ve maintained all along that Blair couldn’t hope to separate his mismanagement/exploitation of the War on Terror (highlighted so markedly by the diversion into Iraq) from domestic affairs – now he’s admitted that to himself, but appears to be reshaping the argument along the (very familiar) lines of:

We’ve made you safer. We’re making you safer. Additionally, the War on Terror keeps your council taxes low, reduces hospital waiting lists, prevents small post offices from closing, etc. etc. etc.

It also makes for a great excuse for the tighter regulation of immigration. Murdoch will love that.

General ElectionThe obvious argument against this is that the incursion into Iraq hasn’t made us safer… but unfortunately, this involves a rather complex argument (by most people’s standards) and the realisation of a few truths that fear and arrogance will stop many people from accepting.This is a bold move, and it shows Blair’s confidence in the lowest common denominator – especially when you consider that the move has been made immediately following the airing of The Power of NightmaresCS Monitor – Terrorism and Security: Mr. Curtis’ comments are interesting, since he is about to debut a controversial three-part series on BBC-TV called “The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear,” which examines the growth of the idea that an “dedicated band of international terrorists” is out to destroy the West. The Daily Telegraph says that Curtis’s film makes the case that “in a post-ideological age, politicians increasingly use fear, rather than vision, to bolster their positions.”Telegraph – Be afraid, be very afraid… it’s what Blair and Blunkett want: In 1997, Tony Blair won his landslide election victory by offering hope. He described a dream of a young and dynamic “new Britain” that would stride into the future with pride. At the next general election, the Prime Minister will campaign on a platform of fear. He will promise to protect the voters from a nightmare of international terrorism, pension chaos, global warming, spiralling housing costs, obesity and anti-social behaviour.So rather than dodge it, Blair has chosen to embrace Iraq and shape it into something he can use. With a willing media and an overwhelming culture of sound-bitery, he may just get away with it.”Iraq was pointless? But… but… but.. Saddam is gone! War on terror a lie? How can you even say that? (911, the horror, 911 the spectacle, etc. etc. etc.)… You shouldn’t change horses mid-stream! Especially when the alternatives are worn-out nags or inexperienced colts!”But the problem on that last point is that we’re on a horse that has a habit of bolting into streams and then resolutely standing their ground as the water gets higher and higher…Now there’s a reason to be afraid.

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