Tariq Ali on the state of British politics today
As another NATO airstrike kills at least 90 people in Afghanistan (prompting this piece of genius analysis from the BBC) and as an aide of Brown's quits in protest at the slaughter going on out there, what better time to read an interview with Tariq Ali by Socialist Review, where among other things he discusses the state of British politics today.
Gordon Brown is relying on propaganda about "supporting our boys" and demonisation of the Taliban as his sole defence of the war in Afghanistan, but the rise in soldiers' deaths has opened up a public debate about the war and why we are there. Are we seeing the beginning of the end for the perception of this as "the good war" in contrast to the unpopularity of the Iraq war from the start?
Brown is a pathetic figure because he knows what he's saying is total nonsense. Tony Blair actually believed in holy wars. New Labour are so gutless and spineless that they cannot even now admit that their foreign policy of positioning themselves in the "arse of the White House and staying there" has been a disaster and is now leading to unnecessary deaths. Playing up these deaths as patriotism plays straight into the hands of the local fascists who have replaced Jews with Muslims in their demonology (at least for public consumption; in private they remain anti-Semites). The fact that not a single political party is calling for a withdrawal from Afghanistan is a symptom of where this country is at the moment, the moral equivalent of the Vichy regime in France during the Second World War...
The Labour government appears totally bankrupt and incapable of recovering, and everyone now assumes that David Cameron will be the next prime minister. What are your thoughts on the prospect of seeing the Tories back in power?
It will make absolutely nil difference. New Labour were very proud of being even more right wing than the old Tories. I think a crushing defeat for the New Labour project would be very positive, regardless of who wins. We shouldn't, of course, ever pretend that a New Labour defeat will automatically lead to an opening for the left. The mood in Europe is very right wing. The fact that the bank bailouts in Britain have excited little anger is a sign of the times. Those who cling on to New Labour from a sociological assumption that it represents the working class are living in the clouds.