Democracy in Action
Thomas Jones · Tony Blair's 615 Fans
Bizarre lost causes, no.1 in an occasional series: the campaign to 'Keep Tony Blair for Prime Minister’. Failing that, they're keen for people at least to sign a petition to 'Ban Blair-Baiting’ for the duration of the Chilcot Inquiry. The petition has been online since the beginning of August last year. In seven months it's gathered a whopping 615 signatures. According to 'Keep TB for PM', the reason for this is a 'conspiracy of silence’ by the British press. Well, that's a charge they can level no longer – you heard it here first. Go on, sign it if you want to. Tell your friends. Let's see if we can't get it up to 616 by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the Facebook group 'I bet I can find a million people who DON'T want David Cameron as our PM’ has more than 142,000 members (slightly less than the population of Reading). They probably won't make it to a million before the election, and even if they do it obviously won't do anything to stop the Tories.
As for the actual prime minister, the LRB recently received this letter from a reader, Sean McGlynn:
I'm a little behind with my reading. In the 24 April 1997 issue of LRB, Ian Hamilton contributes a piece on the hazards of politicians when electioneering. 'Politicians, it is generally agreed, must never lose their tempers... a pol must always keep his cool. A single lapse and he is finished.' Seemingly, thirteen years on, the opposite holds true: when even repeated lapses occur then, as with Gordon Brown's well-publicised outbursts, the electorate responds positively. Or is that purely out of fear of being duffed up?
Hamilton also muses on 'what Gordon Brown conceals beneath his mask of stony moderation'. Well, now we know: further confirmation of Alastair Campbell's verdict of 'psychologically flawed'. (If this letter is published, would it be wise for the PM to know where I live?)