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Change makers

Can you break a twenty?

Oh, hello again, Tony Blair! How’s that Middle East Peace Envoy gig going? Never mind. Tell us about why we had to invade Iraq again, I know you love it:

So that was the two sides of the argument, and then which side you came down on really depended on whether you thought Post-September 11th we had to be change makers or whether we could still be managers. Up to September 11th we had been managing this issue. After September 11th we decided we had to confront and change, and that’s, you know — even today that is the issue, because, as I say, we face exactly the same challenge over Iran. What do you do? Do you say we have to change this or not? ((Chilcot Inquiry, Blair transcript 21 January 2011 [pdf], pp39-40.))

It is reassuring to learn from Mr Blair that, even in this day and age, it is still the job of the British prime minister to “change” other parts of the world he doesn’t like, rather than being a “manager”. (The implicit contempt for which role expressed here seems to be inconsistent with most of his domestic policy while in power, but never mind.) Even before he was allegedly faced with the luridly cartoonish or reality-TVish choice of being either a change-maker or a manager, you see, Blair must have been basically in charge on a global level, at the top of the world, along with his chum the US president, gazing down with fond bellicosity at all those troublesome foreigners that need to be “managed” or have things “changed” for them. Long live the British Empire, I say.

I must admit to feeling slightly uncomfortable with this modern usage of change to Unspeak the killing of lots of people — “I had to be a change-maker in Iraq… by bombing Iraq!” and so forth — but perhaps I am just being squeamish. Let me try to get on message. Sure, we have to bomb “change” Iran as well! Hmmm. It does feel kind of exciting, doesn’t it, readers?

  1. 1  ovaut  February 2, 2011, 6:01 am 

    ‘fond bellicosity’ is sublime. Chuffed you’re back.

  2. 2  Guano  February 4, 2011, 12:09 pm 

    “So that was the two sides of the argument.”

    And where did this argument take place? In the Cabinet? In Parliament? In the Labour Party? As far as I can see, this argument only happened inside Blair’s head before he told Bush that the UK was in favour of regime change sometime in late 2001.

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