Is Tony Blair making a political come-back?

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No – in short, but he’s certainly doing the rounds. As with US presidents there is a tendency for former Prime Ministers to make less public appearances and political comments on their successors. However, in this Trumpian age of political divided-world and hyper-partisanship the most recent crop of Prime Ministers (Blair,  Cameron) and Presidents (Obama) seem to be far more open-mouthed than their predecessors as Prime Minister (Thatcher; Major; Brown) or even Presidents (Clinton; Bush).

But is this a sign of modern politics, that former leaders will now comment on their successors, just as their successors comment on them (Cameron on Blair; Trump on Obama).

So let me reclarify why the question here is important, and although Blair is highly unlikely to return to front-line politics, in the sense of a government position; it is possible, though unlikely, he’ll stand as a back-bench MP. What is most likely, aside from a seat in the Lords; which must surely be on its way – that Mr Blair will some-how become heavily involved in the current political fiasco.

He’s already campaigning for a second referendum. And if we’re honest, aside from some issues post 2003; Blair was probably “the last decent prime minister” we had.

I quite like Gordon Brown, but his reign was so short, its hardly worth commenting. I have heard someone comment Major was one of the greatest PMs because he did very little (towards policy) – but the early 90s are for many lost in some kind of political fog – between the red-esq-sunshine of 1997 and the blue-deluge of Thatcher.

So what are we to make of Blair’s repeated rounds of the chat-shows and constant press briefings? As an elder statesman (as he technically is now) – forget your personal vehement against him; Mr Blair is now on the media circuit, which is either a way of lining his pocket – which no one can rule out – but what is also likely is, he is making some sort of political come-back.

I can’t say in which way, or how, or why – but I’m pretty certain Blair is back – I’m just not sure what he’s back at. What I will say is, this is a “watch this space” moment with regards to Tony Blair.

Do Cyber-Nats exist?

University of Stirling’s Iain Black, Professor in Marketing in Marketing & Retail; who is listed as an expert in Climate change and consumption; Sustainable consumption; Barriers to sustainable consumption; Fracking and unconventional oil and gas extraction; and Consumers and Electric vehicles by the University – was recently giving a presentation lecture at the Political Branding Workshop hosted by the university, and his presentation was fascinating – as he discussed the concept of co-creation; particularly with reference to Yes Scotland (2014) and Yes Edinburgh North & Leith (2014-) – a campaign he was personally involved in; and alongside University of Glasgow’s Cleopatra Veloutsou was researching this concept of Branding Co-Creation.

During a moment in the 2014 referendum campaign Yes Scotland HQ asked the grass-roots Yes Edinburgh North & Leith (which they didn’t do)– to bin some campaign materials which featured a link to the website Wings Over Scotland, run by the not very Reverend video game designer, blogger, and journalist “Rev” Stuart Campbell. In response to this I asked the question around the concept of Brand Co-Creation; and preventing the tarnishing of the brand by Cyber-Nats (which I acknowleged was on both sides of the campaign) – how would a brand, even one in co-creation; as Yes Scotland was; manage to prevent this?

Professor Black had a two-fold response – his first was to say that no one has proven that there is such thing as cyber-nats, more correctly his argument was that those appearing to be cyber-nats weren’t necessarily actually supporting Scottish Independence (and he made reference here to Russian bots).

Embedded image from Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images
Embedded image from Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/PA Images – Wings over Scotland Writer & Founder Stuart Campbell, is he “Cyber-nat”?

Now before I tackle his second point – let me deal with this first one. I am not sure how Stuart Campbell, who was arguably considered so odious in his behaviour online by a judge it appears (f0r some) this was the reason wasn’t awarded damages, despite the judge saying he had been libelled (worded carefully, in case he tries to sue me, I have no money, never sue the skint people) – I am not sure how he is not a cyber-nat from Bath – unless Mr Black suggests he is not a cybernat, or that Campbell does not actually support Independence for Scotland.

Perhaps Professor Black was not thinking about Mr Campbell – but rather the anonymous trolls online who may or may not be provable as indie-supporting cyber-nats. Is Professor Black actually arguing some kind of false-flag; or Russian conspiracy theory – don’t get me wrong, there clearly is Russian involvement in large-scale political events such as Brexit and the US Presidential Election (2016) – but unless, and it is possible that the Scottish Indie ref was a practice for Brexit, which became a practice for the US Presidential elections (whilst Brexit as a practice has been shown to at least be possible, I’m not the Scottish Indie ref has been) – then I’m not entirely sure what Professor Black is actually arguing.

Anyway – on to his second point – Professor Black, an excellent academic, and someone I do actually hold in high regard, argued that those campaigning for Scottish Independence during any future referendum campaign would self-police, that is (he gave an example) report those who were not representative of the campaign to the appropriate authority and also to make it clear to the public that x, y or z was not appropriate or part of the civic nationalism the Indie campaigners believed in. Whilst I love the optimism of this answer, and ideally agree this is how society should function – I fear that campaigners on both side of the debate, if they were truly to self-police in this manner, would possibly end up spending more time calling out bigotry and bad-behaviour than actually debating the topic at hand – alternatively they would ignore all those who aren’t “representative” and end up deleting them from social media – which possibly leads to the problem of not actually being representative; but also the fact this would, in my view probably be such an onerous that I’m not sure it will happen in a widespread enough manner; or consistently to work. Thus in this case the Yes Scotland brands will again be tarnished by cybernats, effectively un-policed. Of course I also believe it will happen on the opposing team too – and what is on the whole a beautiful exercise in democracy actually gets bogged down in the mire of cyber-nats and cyber-unionists – and the problem is not solved.

Though I admire Professor Black, I wonder if perhaps time prevented him from explaining more fully his own position; and I would not wish to attribute to him views that weren’t really what he meant – so if corrected I promise to correct in an equally lengthy new article shortly.

Pete’s Other Ponderings

From a Facebook Comment I made, in relation to this picture:

“I was under the impression that the full extent of ‘the final solution’ was hidden from the ordinary people – that they were essentially seeing it as the confiscation of the riches property to help the people (a robin hood type thing, even if the confiscation of the property was not used for the ordinary people) – which is essentially the bit that I think is being repeated at the moment over here, the propaganda that immigrants (or whomever is an easy target) is responsible for our woes.

The question has to become would the full extent of such a government policy being easily seen by the ordinary people today – Windrush occured under Theresa May (initially) but wasn’t found out until Amanda Rudd was Home Secretary – so one concludes, that yes, I think it could be close to being repeated by a government without the majority realising, at least initially, but that it would probably happen for a year or two before being found out by the media… So the first step is usually the restriction of the press, as happened in Nazi Germany, question is, is it happening here?”

And I added further:

“Of course if we consider Benefit claimants and the demonization of them, and the austerity policies of this Conservative government which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, then perhaps we can already argue it is happening, just less obviously, and is essential going unreported by the free media, because it is linked by too many chains, and not directly linked.”

PS: (Join the conversation)

I can’t think of anything more today that I would care to comment on, so this is the lot this week – I’d actually like to hear your thoughts, so drop me a line and give your political ramblings, or even your spiritual ones, if you’re a Christian – I may just publish them as a guest post; if you’d prefer them not to be – why not add a comment, tell me why I’m wrong, how I’m wrong (I probably am somehow) and also your own views (keep it clean and polite).

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