Anorak News | What Is Blairism? Deconstructing Tony Blair

What Is Blairism? Deconstructing Tony Blair

by | 29th, April 2007

TONY Blair is going. When? Not sure. How? Not sure? What did he stand for? Not sure.

This from Simon Jenkins on Blair and Blairism:

“We are to be overwhelmed. A tidal wave of epitaphs, eulogies and obsequies of Tony Blair is upon us. His era will crave definition. The flesh must be made word, and the word is Blairism. It hangs on the lips of friend and foe alike.

“Let us get one thing straight. Blairism does not exist and never has. It is all froth and miasma. It consists in throwing a packet of words such as change, community, renewal, partnership, social and reform into the air and watching them twinkle to the ground like blossom until the body politic is carpeted in sweet-smelling bloom. An -ism implies a coherent set of ideas, an ideology capable of driving a programme in a particular direction.”


“Blair is in line of descent from such 19th-century exponents of messianic authority as Nietzsche and Max Weber. Like their ‘ideal leader’, he is never politically specific, always visionary, never partisan, always charming and disarming, a ‘friend to the people.’ Such qualities are quasi-religious, those of exposition rather than decision. They are what we now call spin not substance. Blair’s 1995 conference speech, an hour-long confection of pure verbal candyfloss, was a classic of the genre. He has been a remarkable exponent of this style, but it remains a style, a technique of public relations, not an -ism.”

As in autism. Beardism. Populism. Schism – as in who will stand against Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership? Syncretism.

Posted: 29th, April 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink