David Aaronovitch writes for the Guardian. He has suggested (‘Why do they hate Blair so much?’, 18 May) that opposition to Tony Blair has driven some of us crazy. I fear Mr Aaronovitch is right, and will try to explain why.
His argument is straightforward and, though directed more to Mr Blair’s critics on the Labour Left than on the Tory Right, it has application too to Conservatives like me.
Essentially, says Aaronovitch, we Blairophobes are in denial. We cannot accept what in our hearts we secretly fear: that Blair is right and — worse — that Blair has won. We therefore continue in a fool’s paradise where the present Prime Minister’s apparent successes are only hollow and will shortly be exploded; where Blair himself is a kind of vacuum and will shortly implode; and where the Gods of the Copybook Headings (according to the Left the truths of Marxian class analysis; according to the Right the virtues of small-state laissez-faire capitalism) will shortly come down from the mountain to break up the Blairite feast in honour of his Third Way golden calf, and re-establish the eternal verities we had temporarily forgotten.
I must say I do recognise in this caricature something both of myself and of some of my friends on the Labour Left. The Left keep thinking that New Labour is all falling apart, yet it never quite does. As for me, I wrote in the Sun seven years ago that readers should tear my column out of their newspaper, put it in a drawer, and return to it in 12 months’ time — whereupon they would recognise that the man they had at first worshipped as the prophet of a new dawn for Britain had within a year become one of the most hated men in the land.
Every year or two I write a column announcing a slight delay to this timetable but insisting that it will all come to pass just as I have written.