Tony Blair

Lady Di’s Death Revealed Unchanged Passions: Part 4— Tony, Champagne Charlie, Elton John, hugs & tears


Mr Blair was able to successfully walk the space between word and act due to the clear signals emanating from the people’s expression of grief at Lady Diana’s untimely demise. The funeral was practically stage-managed by the government, and the hillocks of flowers in front of Buckingham palace combined with the hints dropped in Mr Blair’s speeches pressured the Queen into coming from Balmoral to Buckingham for the funeral. She was not even allowed to passively disapprove of Lady Diana’s manner of living and dying. There were open tears and passionate speeches during the funeral ceremonies, uniting the high and mighty with the lowly and humble. Complete strangers just hugged and wept, and Lady Diana’s brother, also known as “champagne Charlie” made an impassioned speech the contents of which clearly criticised the royal family.;;;

Elton John composed and sang Lady Diana’s eulogy, Candle in the Wind, (putting Marilyn Monroe at par with a Royal) the translation of which was carried on the front page of the prestigious French daily, Le Monde, while not a whisper of reserve escaped from the Royal household to question the appropriateness of Elton John’s sexual preference. There was disappointment from the public about the Royal Family’s dry-eyed stiff upper lip reaction to the tragedy, and the courtiers gave no press statements on the subject. When the public espied Camilla Parker Bowles, she was liberally assaulted with bread-rolls. All these were signs that the Britain of that day was no longer the Britain of preceding years.;

However, before Victoria became Queen-Empress of the British Empire, the British might not have been described as touchy-feely, but they certainly were not Victorian in the sense of the term we now use. Victorianism is not a fundamental cultural or genetic trait of the Anglo-Saxon peoples. The words bawdy and raunchy had never lost their relevance since the Shakespeare. The Elizabethan age was the times of Shakespeare and Marlowe, when what is sexual innuendo today was explicitly expressed on the stage, and moreover, appreciated. We may go further back to the times of the legendary Robin Hood and his Merry Men, when, despite the religious fervour inspired by the Crusades, merriment was a sought after virtue. The British were a rambunctious, hard-drinking lot of tavern brawlers who became successful pirates before being legitimised as corsairs. The tradition of merriment continued to be appreciated through low-brow soap operas and street artists, and has now been democratised in an increasingly heterogeneous society in television sit-coms such as Benny Hill, Fawlty Towers, Yes Prime Minister, The New Statesman, East Enders, Coronation Street and Goodness Gracious Me.

Lady Di’s Death Revealed Unchanged Passions: Part 3— Fear for Britain

Part 3— Fear for Britain.

The death of functional conservatism within the British Tories led Dame Thatcher to give her blessings to Mr Blair, and shortly thereafter, Mr Blair made every effort to ensure that Dame Thatcher would not regret her decision. He shored up the special relationship with Washington, much to the United States’ advantage, as time has shown. Abandoning the traditional socialist approach, he merged the Self-Regulatory Organizations into the Security and Investments Board, lending it a structure similar to the United States Security and Exchanges Commission, and setting it up as a counter-weight to the Bank of England.

With the economic interdependence of the United States and Britain ensured, Dame Thatcher declared that “there was no fear for Britain under Blair”.

Taking a cue from the Chinese Prime Minister Deng Xiaoping, Mr Blair felt encouraged to launch his “four modernizations”, promising a flexible economy, a modern welfare state, constitutional reform and a role for Britain in the world. It was a tacit admission that Britain’s economy was rigid, its welfare state outdated, its unwritten constitution an anachronism, and that its grip on Uncle Sam’s coat tails was slipping.

Mr Blair then put act to speech, and Britain certainly changed. There was less unemployment, and seen as a whole, the British economy was doing well, with corporations thriving. Britain took firm steps to shift from an industrial to a service economy, and the housing market was booming. The effect on the middle and upper classes has been positive, but on the lower middle class and the poor, devastating. There was no job security, and the closing down, or relocation of traditional industries left people dependent on temporary employment agencies. For many job seekers, service industry translated as outsourcing with further job losses.

The results of the modern welfare state are overcrowded hospitals, poor schooling, and overworked police faced with a choice of chasing armed juvenile delinquents or hardened, home-grown terrorists. Constitutional reform stopped short of actually producing a written constitution compatible with the charters of European Union member states, and had to content itself with devolution of legislative power to Wales and Scotland. Since the bombing campaign of Serbia in 1999, the daily telephone call between the U.S. president and the British Prime Minister was ritualised, if that may be considered a foreign policy achievement.