“From the crowds that hailed New Labour in 1997 to the despair of Kenneth Bigley is a vast emotional distance.”
—editorial in The Independent, 09Oct04
This week, the same Tony Blair who had promised “Decapitation, decapitation, decapitation” at the 2000 Labour Party conference finally made good on his chilling promise. Standing before an endlessly looping video of the demise of engineer Ken Bigley, Blair, cried out, “God is great! God is great!”. He was flanked by two of his most senior and trusted followers—thought to be feared former student extremist Jack Straw and the blind cleric David Blunkett—who took up the chant.
Despite the widely held belief that differences between rival Toni and Brownite communities could not be reconciled and that Blair’s menacingly named “Project” would fall apart before it was implemented, the latest videos of the militant leader show him determined to press on for years to come from his base in the urban areas of Britain. He told his followers that they would all be made “stakeholders” in a “forward-looking, modern, enterprising, knowledge-based economy” and warned that they would strike blow after blow against “the forces of conservatism.”
Later, in recordings shown on al-Jazeera, members of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s network of People Of Anger confessed tearfully on camera that extreme poverty brought on by the opening of halal branches of McDonald’s in their home countries, pollution caused by George Bush’s rejection of the Kyoto accord on climate change, and their hounding by armies of British and American terrorists had combined to force them to flee to Iraq and, acting in conflict with their devout religious beliefs, commit horrible acts of violence. “I wake up from nightmares about the faces of Tony Blair’s victims as they struggle to escape our blades,” lamented one of the Angry, “How that man can deliver these innocents into the hands of people like us, driven by his atrocities to executing them, and look himself in the mirror every morning I don’t know.”
Robert Fisk is 84.