The Third Leader: Tainted love

Click to follow

Marx, you will remember, was very clear on the close relationship between history, current events and farce, but this does not quite prepare us for the revelation that Tony Blair was a keen student of the old grey sage. And there I was thinking his pre-parliamentary interests were Newcastle United and air guitar. Time, following the appearance of a 22-page letter written in 1982, for some urgent revisionism.

Comrades, of whatever group, cadre, or international, will be poring over the Blair letter, and, in particular, the phrases, "I came to Socialism through Marxism" and, "Socialism ultimately must appeal to the better minds of the people. You cannot do that if you are tainted overmuch with a pragmatic period in power."

And they will, I venture, be detecting a clear implication that Mr Blair was already selflessly planning to lay down his ideals so that the way could be prepared for an untainted Socialist leader. I see banners unfurling, dust being shaken from donkey jackets, and David Cameron growing a beard.

The less ideologically committed will be wondering if this letter contains Mr Blair's last criticism of America, and speculating how different the past 25 years might have been, given that the 22 pages were written in his law chambers, if only his clerk could have found him some work. The entirely cynical will select two quotes from Marx: "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies", and, "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." But that was Groucho, of course.

Comments