An Open Letter to Tony Blair

Dear Mr Blair,

I just got back from across the Pennines. I was filming for my documentary Escape from Doncatraz at your Labour Party Conference, where there was the largest demonstration in the history of the annual event and, well – wow! – you’re really screwed, aren’t you?

While I was working, I kept having to check I wasn’t in some kind of alternative reality or something. As a kid, there was no way I’d ever have imagined such a protest against your party. I mean, these were your people, man! They finally booted the Tories nine years ago, and they put you into power. They – we – employed you all these years, to represent us. But you didn’t, did you?

Your policies of privatization, welfare reform, imperialism, and your attack on civil liberties were all in total opposition to the wishes of your employers (the British people), and you did it anyway. That’s insubordination. And it’s betrayal. Why, Tony? Why did you have to be such a sell-out? It’s costing you now. At the last general election, where you took a battering that resulted in a vastly reduced majority, you said you’d listened and learned. But then you continued to do all the same things, even going so far as to give George W Bush a sweater as a gift. Do you think that maybe that’s why people see you as a…lapdog?

Your party performed poorly again in the local elections, because you hadn’t listened, you hadn’t learned, and they hated Blairism. So what did you do? You blamed your cabinet, and fired people all over the place. But the thing is – and I don’t know any other way to put this – it’s you the people loathe more than any other person in your party. Sure, David Blunkett is seen as a traitor, especially to us folk in Sheffield. Charles Clarke has been regarded as sloppier than a Spectator publisher’s underwear. But the thing is, you are the leader, you are the face of your party, and we, the people, don’t like either of your two faces. Your charm – your smarm – no longer fools us. Since 1997 we have come to realize that the Labour Party does not do what it said on the tin. Can we have a refund, please? We kept the receipt – it’s your manifesto; the pledges your broke, the promises you never kept.

It’s time to go.

There is no one else left to blame, I’m afraid. You can keep reshuffling your cabinet, you can keep sacking people, and you can hold onto your dream of equaling Margaret Thatcher’s legacy. Well, be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. Maggie was forced from her own party, and in my part of the country she’s regarded, to quote my dear old dad, “on par with The Devil.” In the rest of the country, at best she is considered a memorable figure, who did what you failed to do: She told everyone her intentions from day one, and then went ahead with them; she said she was going to screw the working class, then screwed us. You, however, tricked us. You formed The Coalition of the Willing with your American pals, and you turned the Ministry of Defence into the Ministry of Offence, sending brave men and women with generally good intentions to die for a string of lies long since exposed. It’s time for the troops to come home.

And it’s time for you to go.

Go ahead and quit. Your people don’t want you, and your party doesn’t need you. You are damaging their chances of winning the next election, and letting the Tories back into the fold, which is why you were booed and heckled during your last speech to the TUC – it really doesn’t matter a bit anymore if your lot are destroyed, because you’re just as bad as the Tories anyway, so who cares if we let them in? Surely it tells you something when the TUC wash their hard-working hands of you, and people converge on the G-Mex while you and your inner circle arrange for a “ring of steel” around the place, to protect you in your luxury – in your sharp suits, outside of and out-of-touch with the real people outside, raising their fists.

So, say your goodbyes not in the next year but now, before you lose any shred of credibility you have remaining. Go now, and you can still be taken care of by your corporate buddies, do a speaking tour that the few remaining fools will pay to attend, and maybe even write a book that the same people will buy, and the rest of us will flick through in the store for a laugh. You’ll be okay. But, as former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Denis Halliday said, history will slaughter you.

Future generations will read about you in school text books and be astounded and astonished by this last chapter in our dark history, asking “Miss, did things like genocide and rendition flights and trial without jury and house arrest really happen in this country once?” “I’m afraid so, Johnny – we were once ruled by a war criminal.” If you are tried for war crimes, Tony, don’t worry – it will likely be a posthumous trial…there are many years of work ahead of us to repair the damage you have done to our wonderful country.

The sun set on the British Empire; let’s leave imperialism in the history books. It’s time to move on.

This letter is from me, just a filmmaker from South Yorkshire. But today, more than any other, I know you know in your heart that the vast majority of the people in Britain feel the same way as I do, because you saw them on your friend Rupert Murdoch’s news channel; it was impossible to ignore. The message is now, at last, loud and clear: It’s time for you to go. Go, Mr Blair. Go now – before it’s too late for your country, your party, and yourself.

Yours,

Jay Baker, Esq.

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