Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Blair: 'I would have ordered Charge of the Light Brigade'

Following Blair's shock admission that he would have fought the bloody Falklands War, he has further angered what liberal opinion is left within his Party by his boast that the Crimean War (1854-1856) was also 'justified', and he would personally have been happy to order - but not actually lead into battle himself - the infamous and disastrous 'Charge of the Light Brigade'.

Blair admitted that the Crimean War took 'a lot of political courage' to fight but he would have done the same thing in Lord Palmerston's shoes because it was 'the right thing to do'.

Speaking to Simon Schama, the TV historian and lecturer at Downing Street, in a podcast for the No 10 website, the prime minister expressed his support for the historic decisions taken just over 150 years ago.

'When I look back, I mean I was much, much younger at the time I read about it at school obviously, but when I look back, yes, I have got no doubt it was the right thing to do,' Blair said. 'But for reasons not simply to do with British sovereignty but also because I think there was a principle at stake which is that, you know, a land shouldn't be annexed in that way and people shouldn't be put under a different rule in that way...unless, of course, it is us and our allies who are the ones doing the invading and occupying.'

Mr Blair also expressed his astonishment that more British lives were lost in that conflict than have been lost in Iraq or Afghanistan.

According to the Wikipedia website, the 2 year long Crimean war claimed the lives of 17,500 Britons, 90,000 Frenchmen, 35,000 Turks, 134,000 Russians and Bulgarians and 2000 odd Sardinians.

'It is astonishing,' Mr Blair said, 'when you think about how few British soldiers have died in Iraq in comparison'.

Schama retorted that Blair had killed more Iraqi civilians recently than the total dead in the Crimean war.

'That is for sure,' replied Mr Blair. 'But am I bovvered? Do I look bovvered?'

Schama acknowledged that the Prime Minister did not in fact actually seem that 'bovvered'.

However, others were angered by Blair's statement. Lord Tennyson, aged 197, denounced Blair for lacking any sense of history, and reminded him of a poem he had written at the time. Lord Tennyson argued that Blair had sent British soldiers 'into the valley of the shadow of death' in Iraq and 'into the mouth of Hell' in Afghanistan. From his conversations with serving British soldiers, Lord Tennyson felt they were not 'dismay'd' by being sent to fight a criminal and disastrous war though 'the soldiers knew someone had blunder'd' somewhere' and most of them felt that 'someone' was in fact Blair himself.

However, Blair was unrepentant. Quoting from Lord Tennyson's poem, Blair said he liked the passage about British soldiers which noted 'Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die' and thought his critics - inside and outside the armed forces - might like to think about this in future.

Edited to add: When questioned further about his retrospective support for ordering the Charge of the Light Brigade, Blair commented 'Hey, look, y'know, people who know me know that I'm a pretty straight charge sort of guy...'

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At 7:12 pm, Blogger twp said...

Jesus 0 the charge of the Light Brigade was one of the most militarily buggered up part of the war.... oh wait that does suit Blair....


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