The Daily Telegraph reports today that Tony Blair's 21-year-old son, Euan
, has snared a prestigious internship in Washington working under
Republican Congressman David Dreier, the powerful conservative chairman of the
House Rules Committee (and a hypocritical gay closet case who supports the Republicans'
homophobic political agenda). And Democrats aren't happy about the internship,
engineered by Daddy Blair, calling Dreier an "extremely surprising choice"
to train Euan in the intricacies of American politics.
The Telegraph, which says that Euan will be "mentored" by Dreier, notes: "Committee officials say the decision to offer the sought-after
position to the Prime Minister's son was taken at a senior level - not by staff
ordinarily responsible for sifting internship applications. The offer followed
a telephone interview with the committee's staff director. British diplomats in
Washington also played a part in the process. A Downing Street spokesman said:
'Given the obvious sensitivities, the Prime Minister asked the British embassy
to get involved in the process.'
"...Despite his father's close relationship with President George W Bush,
the news that Euan is to work for the Republican-led committee has stunned Democrats
in Washington. Eric Burns, the communications director for Congresswoman Louise
Slaughter, the leading Democrat on the committee, said: 'Working on the Rules
Committee will be quite a learning process as it has always been one of the
most partisan in the House. It is extremely surprising that the son of a Labour
prime minister would intern with the Republican majority staff on the committee.'"
Well, what's so surprising? Tony Blair began his reign by imitating the sell-out
triangulations of Bill Clinton and has moved steadily to the right of traditional
Labour policies ever since--not just on foreign policuy but on economic issues
and civil liberties. By getting the British Embassy to snaggle a job with Dreier
for his son, it looks like the prime minister wants to make sure young Euan
doesn't stray too far from the family right-wing line. In an editorial just
before the Brits' recent elections, The Independent growled that Tony Blair
"is essentially a con man." So is the two-faced Dreier, who keeps
his male lover on the Congressional payroll at a salary equal to that of Karl
Rove and the White House chief of staff Andy Card -- but continues to use his
power to step on the rights of gays to full equality before the law. Don't drop
the soap around Dreier, Euan. (See my article in the L.A. Weekly, "The
Outing: David Dreier and his Straight Hypocrisy.") Dreier is not only one
of the most powerful men in Congress, but one of the most influential politicians
in California -- he's a close advisor of The Governator, whose transition team
There's a solid, detailed analysis of Blair's New Labour and its sharp turn to
the right in the current issue of the New Left Review. Susan Watkins' carefully
footnoted article, "A WEIGHTLESS HEGEMONY--New Labour’s Role in the
Neoliberal Order," among other things points out how Blair's policies have
widened the yawning gap betwen the haves and the have-nots in Britain:
"Gross transfers to the rich from the poor have continued under New Labour.
Indirect taxes, though they have fallen slightly following the mass protests
against fuel prices in 2000, are still higher than in Thatcher’s day.
Brown’s tax credits for low-paid parents and pensioners—garnering
much praise from left-liberal commentators for giving the poorest decile an
extra £15 a week—have been offset by larger changes in underlying
income distribution...Wage differentials and the gender pay gap have widened
during Labour’s second term."
Watkins, after dissecting Blair's neo-Thatcherian policies on economics, foreign
policy, civil liberties, and the rest concludes her lengthy analysis with a judgement
from which there is no appeal: "There is no reason for any greater sentimentality
towards Labourism than Blair himself has shown. The Economist’s judgement
that he is the best right-wing prime minister Britain could have is perfectly
accurate. For the left, the logic should be clear: any other would be preferable.
It is an anachronism to think that the performance of rival parties competing
within the field of neoliberal politics can be distinguished, once in office,
by their ideological pedigrees or electoral bases. The policies they adopt correspond
to the balance of forces within that society—typically, the legacy of antecedent
regimes—and of the world outside it. Just as Clinton was far to the right
domestically of Nixon, so Blair has been of Heath; let alone Eden or Macmillan.
Today, the U.K.’s main opposition parties, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives,
are attacking the government from the left on student fees and pensions, attracting
the disapproval of the financial press. Judged against its immediate predecessors,
an objective audit can only conclude that New Labour has scattered a few crumbs
to the poor, while otherwise consolidating and extending Thatcher’s programme;
externally, it has a far more bloodstained record...."