Rough Music: Blair/Bombs/Baghdad/London/Terror

Tariq Ali, Author Verso $11 (104p) ISBN 978-1-84467-545-6
Leftists who think Bush is bad should get a load of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as pilloried in this lively polemic. British writer, filmmaker and activist Ali (The Clash of Fundamentalisms) calls Blair a liar, an authoritarian and a ""hypermilitarist"" who ""likes the smell of blood."" He shudders at ""the burning eyes and fake humility"" of Blair's ""facile simulacrum of sincerity"" and speculates that, like Posh Spice, Blair has ""never read a whole book."" And while Blair has happily prostrated himself to Washington's demands, the author contends, domestically he has consolidated Thatcherism, and even extended it in deplorable new ways while making Labour a party of ""the living dead"" and turning Britain into a ""banana monarchy."" Ali also carries on a spirited fencing match with Blair's media supporters, reprinting great swathes of their ""sycophantic pro-government drivel"" and replying with lengthy excerpts of his own speeches and articles and those of other Blair critics. It's not all invective; Ali offers a brief, well-supported critique of Britain's unrepresentative electoral system, cogently debunks the government's explanations of the 2005 London terrorist bombings and the subsequent ""premeditated execution"" of an innocent Brazilian immigrant by security forces, and survey's Blair's ominous infringements of civil liberties and due process. Ali's rancorous rehashes of obscure British political dogfights will leave Yanks feeling like outsiders. But caustic, partisan and exaggerated as it is, Ali's is a scintillating, elegantly written and thought-provoking take on the state of British politics.
Reviewed on: 04/17/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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