News Release

After Blair’s Weak Victory, Key Issues Remain


Many observers note that Tony Blair’s support for the Iraq war did significant damage to the Labor Party’s showing in yesterday’s British election.

Mittal is founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute, a progressive think tank that focuses on economic and social policy issues. She said today: “Anti-war sentiment and lack of trust in Blair were responsible for sharply reducing the margin of his win. Blair’s decision to champion and join the Bush administration’s war in Iraq and his centrist plans to privatize public services have cost him support within his own party as well. … If Blair and the Democrats could move beyond their myopic U.S.-centric and Eurocentric view of the world, they would learn from the political phenomenon sweeping Latin America. The disfranchised in Venezuela voted in favor of President Chavez last year, supporting his economic policies which are bringing education and health care to the poor. Tabare Vazquez of Uruguay has swept into power for challenging the ‘Washington consensus,’ which has pushed the poor further into poverty while profiting the rich. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist mayor of Mexico City, who can jam the streets with thousand of supporters, is considered the favorite to be elected president next year. This is what democracy looks like when the poor, the indigenous, and the voiceless topple governments to elect leaders who can govern with integrity and can actually represent their aspirations.”
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Palast is a former columnist for Britain’s Guardian newspapers and author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. He commented: “The prime minister’s coterie sold his nation on the re-conquest of their old colony, Iraq, by making up this cockamamie story about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction that could take out London in 45 minutes. … Blair likes American presidents. While his habit of keeping his nose snug against Bill Clinton’s derriere was a bit off-putting, his application to George Bush’s behind makes Blair’s countrymen retch. … Blair will hold onto office — for now — due only to a sly campaign that relied on the public’s accepting on faith that, sooner rather than later after Thursday’s vote, Blair will do the honorable thing and end his own political life, leaving the British-to-the-bone Brown to inherit the parliamentary throne. Tony’s political corpse can then be mailed to Texas — wrapped in an American flag.”
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Vltchek, a senior fellow at the Oakland Institute, is a political analyst, journalist and filmmaker who has covered armed conflicts in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America for Der Spiegel, Asahi Shimbun, ABC News and many other outlets. He said today: “The ‘special relationship’ with George Bush and his neocons across the Atlantic is one, but not the only, reason for scorn so many Britons feel towards their prime minister. [The] well educated and informed majority of the British public was opposed to the invasion of Iraq. However, it was first ignored and then offered a primitive and twisted lecture about democracy and freedom. … On the international front, the United Kingdom under Blair, while sounding increasingly compassionate and concerned about the fate of the poor world (at least two-thirds of the planet), remained practically idle and indifferent towards the lands devastated by the colonial and more recent neo-colonial past.”
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For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy at (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan at (541) 484-9167