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Clinton or Blair, is there a difference?

Having spent the past eight months in the United Kingdom (Scotland specifically), I can safely say that King George is not alone in his madness.

The proof lies in Bush’s partner-in-crime, one Anthony Charles Lynton Blair. But it is Bill Clinton, rather than Bush, whom Blair uses as his muse. And, unlike in the United States, British society can hold its prime minister’s feet to the coals without having the sanctity of office held as an excuse to commit crime (so much for the Revolution).

Blair was a baby boomer, born in 1953. Like Clinton, he studied law at Oxford, where he joined a rock band while working with campus socialists.

Blair’s public speaking skills and good looks helped him ascend quickly within the ranks of the Labour Party, holding several positions during the Conservatives’ reign under Margaret Thatcher and John Major in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The Conservatives oversaw the rollback of the extensive public service network developed by Prime Minister Clement Atlee’s Labour after World War II.

Blair assumed the Labour Party’s leadership in 1994, two years after its defeat under arch-socialist Neil Kinnock. In order to attract the Conservatives’ less enthusiastic constituency, Blair “amended” Clause IV, removing the tag of “democratic socialist” from the party charter.

This allowed Blair to introduce a moderate Labour to middle Britain, one which welcomed low taxes, privatization of industry and services and tough laws on crime and immigration.

Blair abandoned labor for Labour to win, much like Clinton and the “new” Democrats embraced Republican economics.

Blair’s movement was dubbed “New Labour” by the press. The 1997 election proved Blair to be an excellent public speaker who was in touch with the youth of Britain, tapping into a national rebirth culture known as “cool Britannia” (for more, see the music documentary “Live Forever”).

Like Clinton, Blair’s inner circle was full of fresh, young faces seemingly ready to change the world. Labour won the elections, and took Parliament with an overwhelming majority.

Blair, like Clinton, had professionals mold his image, led by ex-reporter Alastair Campbell, Blair’s communications director. Campbell was ruthless in marketing Blair to the media, keeping his image untarnished despite vague answers to questions from reporters and politicians regarding policy, as well as Blair’s shady dealings while an attorney.

While critics complained of Blair’s ambiguity and abandonment of socialism, his image was such that, to this very day, no significant external political opposition exists against Blair.

Sept. 11 changed politics for Blair within his own party and throughout the country. While Blair’s cooperation on Afghanistan had support within Britain, some Britons were suspicious of the motives of George Bush.

This was confirmed with Iraq, a war extremely unpopular especially in Scotland. Blair’s enthusiastic bidding for Bush was inexplicable to many Labour parliamentarians.

Several of Labour’s old guard (including ex-leaders) were especially incensed by it, but were momentarily silenced by “proof” in the form of a dossier released by Campbell citing intelligence that Iraq had smuggled uranium from Niger, and could launch a nuclear or biological weapon within 45 minutes of activation. This document was also used as Bush’s evidence for war.

We now know this is untrue. There is no such weapon in Iraq (Saddam would have used it by now anyway), and the BBC, using a source within government, reported that Campbell intentionally “sexed up” intelligence to provide a case for war where none existed to begin with.

When the source, government scientist David Kelly, turned up dead on a road from self-inflicted wounds, Parliament launched an investigation into the kind of government Blair is running, one which puts so much pressure on those who could speak against it, like Kelly. Now, with Campbell resigning, Blair’s days may be numbered.

Blair was seen as a breath of fresh air when he first entered office – it seemed incomprehensible then that he could lie to his people (while Bush almost begs you not to believe him).

Yet, there’s been a lot of lying happening in London. The investigation into Blair and his officials’ interactions with Kelly has the potential to unravel Blair’s government, with the most damaging accusation coming from the BBC, a corporation ostensibly controlled by Blair.

It is thus incomprehensible that pro-war Republicans and Democrats are a model of everything Bush truly represents.

Maybe that’s why in Britain Blair is called “President Blair,” a term for a man who has inspired contempt in those who once saw him as Britain’s savior but led them down a path of death in Iraq, with the bill was footed by the British taxpayer.

But in America, while Clinton, Blair’s alter-ego, was brought to his knees lying about sex, Blair and his “friend” Bush stand tall for lying about war.

Then again, if Clinton had nine lives, maybe Blair has 10 – everybody seems to like a pretty face.


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