September 21, 2001
11:38 AM   Subscribe

So while Bush has looked like a small rodent caught on a dual carriageway, Tony Blair has addressed the nation, met with the French and German prime ministers, attended a memorial service, met with both Clinton and Bush, been namechecked in the latters big speech, initiatied negotiations with Iran and, last but not least, been pictured looking photogenically concerned and statesman-like in a well-cut black suit. I don't think anybody does crisis as well as Blair. He's turning into Thatcher. Pity he doesn't have the support of his own party.
posted by Summer (27 comments total)
...oh man, what a post.

I now declare this flame war officialy open!
posted by thewittyname at 11:45 AM on September 21, 2001

He was already Thatcher, Summer...

Anyway, from the perspective of Labour MPs, Blair was far too eager to suck up to Bush as soon as the US election was decided, particularly over the NMD (non-)proposals. (This from the PM who was a member of CND during the dark days of the 80s.)

It may have worked out for the best, paradoxically, at least in terms of Our Glorious Tony's own status: by running such exhaustive shuttle diplomacy, Blair has manoeuvred himself into a position where Bush can't afford to embarrass him.
posted by holgate at 11:47 AM on September 21, 2001

Blair creates the problems he handles so well.
posted by Satapher at 11:49 AM on September 21, 2001

He said "namechecked"...
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 11:53 AM on September 21, 2001

My problem with Blair is that I just can't see where he's coming from. With someone like Bush it's easy to see who he is and what he stands for, but what about Blair? He comes across as a well-meaning 'third-way' liberal yet his actions reveal him to be a right-wing control freak. But if he handles this right he's guaranteed himself a third term. And you're right, holgate, he's made himself invaluable. I can't help admiring him, much as I disagree with nearly everything he does.
posted by Summer at 11:57 AM on September 21, 2001

Yep. It was nuffin' compared to the The Women's Institute.

"[A Blair loyalist] said that Women's Institute might have done a "sterling service" to the party by finally proving to the prime minister that people would not play a scripted part in choreographed politics."

Would that we had their wisdom and strength.
posted by RichLyon at 11:58 AM on September 21, 2001

Hey look! A troll!
posted by revbrian at 11:59 AM on September 21, 2001

Blair is doing a great job, it's true that Britain is indeed a great friend to the United States.

It is possible criticize or compare our President through observations instead of carefully placed, snarky insults meant to draw attention. And since the point of the post and the article were focused solely on the commendable actions of Tony Blair with no other mention of Mr. Bush, it seems the former comment was inserted Just Because.
posted by tomorama at 12:01 PM on September 21, 2001

Enough of this greatest allies hypocrisy. I agree with Summer and holgate - Blair is using Bush.
For a flavour of what the average Brit thinks of Americans check out Lord Gnome's editorial today in Private Eye... Even less tasteful, but even funnier, is the cover.

Excuse my linklessness - all I get are several thousand inexplicable characters, like Captain Haddock's swearing in Tintin - but both can be found on

A bookmark if ever there was one, BTW.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:02 PM on September 21, 2001

But if he handles this right he's guaranteed himself a third term.

The election of IDS guaranteed that, I think. (Besides the impact of "events", those political wild cards.) Any Tory MPs in their right minds will be sitting on their hands for the next four years.

And yes, the Dead Diana suit'n'tie combo was on for Congress last night. An ideal apprenticeship for dealing the Current Situation.
posted by holgate at 12:03 PM on September 21, 2001

Nei. Jeg er ikkje trollen (vis du snakker til meg?)

Lets stay completely dry eyed on this one.

"Mr Blair disagrees with Mr Bush on a huge range of issues, some of them at the core of their personal beliefs."

"The prime minister makes a point of getting on with other leaderships in the world, no matter where they come from on the political spectrum."
posted by RichLyon at 12:06 PM on September 21, 2001

I wasn't trying to provoke attack with the bunny in headlights comment, I just thought that's what he looked like in the first few days. I happen to think actions speak louder than, er, facial expressions.
posted by Summer at 12:06 PM on September 21, 2001

Not sure 'the average Brit' reads Private Eye, but the cover is a good one. I'm not sure it's tasteless, it didn't make me wince as some others have (state visit of Emporer Hirohito in Eye early days - picture of him getting off plane, FO man at bottom of steps saying 'Nasty Nip in the air today').
posted by vbfg at 12:36 PM on September 21, 2001

No fair comparing Bush to an ELECTED LEADER!
I now declare that a deliberate troll! :)
posted by nofundy at 12:40 PM on September 21, 2001

I not really surprised that Blair, Chirac et. al. all showing up in NYC at this time of the year. The UN holds its annual GA meetings during September. Almost all world leaders had their round trip tickets to NYC in their hands even before the tragedy on the 11th. Blair is playing this whole crisis just like a camera-hog American politician. If it doesn't work out for him in UK, he can always camp out at the Kennedy compound in Boston and try his luck here.

[I don't know why, when I see Blair, I keep thinking of a Blair-for-Clinton trade, which may involve some 'politician-to-be-named-later'.]
posted by tamim at 12:41 PM on September 21, 2001

No fair comparing Bush to an ELECTED LEADER!

Well, the only people who got to vote for Blair were the good people of Sedgefield, and they don't get much say in whether he gets to be PM. (God save the Queen.)
posted by holgate at 1:25 PM on September 21, 2001

I'll trade you Bill Clinton for Tony Blair and a side of rice pilaf.
posted by fusinski at 1:25 PM on September 21, 2001

It's at times like this you really start to think like you're granddad and wonder where all statesmen went. Say what you like about pre-1960s politicians in the UK, but at least you could look up to them. You could trust that they might have your best interests at heart. Apart from Neville Chamberlain, who as just an idiot.

It is somewhat surprising that a politician from our little island is visibly doing more work and a better job at all this than the man from the big country. It's a pity Mefi doesn't hold polls, because I'd love to know who we would actually all trust if the fate of the world was in their hands, Bush or Blair. Personally, I'd vote for Charles Kennedy...
posted by feelinglistless at 1:43 PM on September 21, 2001

I think Tony Benn is the last of the politicians you're talking about listless. Or perhaps Ken Livingstone. People like that don't get to the top anymore, too prone to stepping out of line.
posted by Summer at 1:52 PM on September 21, 2001

Oh feelinglistless, tell me about it! You're so right it's almost arthritic.
It's vintage Port and Kennedy votes all round, I'm afraid.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:01 PM on September 21, 2001

Congratulations to Tony Blair for being slightly more moderate than even Colin Powell. But he loses major points for all this war talk. We've had enough wars for now, thank you very much, including a still as-yet-unresolved disagreement with those nasty fellas in the IRA. So please ask Messrs. Bush and bin Laden if there's any way we can sort this out over a nice cup of tea and a plate of biscuits.

My favourite Blair quote so far: "Whatever the technical or legal issues about a declaration of war, the fact is we are at war with terrorism".
posted by skylar at 2:26 PM on September 21, 2001

I think Tony Benn is the last of the politicians you're talking about

You're right. Although I was thinking more of those who wield actual power...
posted by feelinglistless at 2:26 PM on September 21, 2001

Well, it's nice to see that the rest of the world, starting with the UK, is finally starting to absorb American habits; however that the very first should be the boorish behaviour of the stereotypical "Ugly American Abroad" is rather regrettable.

Yes, Mr. Blair has appeared to be a good deal more collected than Mr. Bush during this time. This is not really surprising. Evidently our friends across the pond have not yet been informed that the incidents in question occurred in New York City, not London. I am quite amazed that the BBC should evidently have forgotten to mention that minor bit of information; however I am quite glad to help by letting them know.

Now, being no stranger to London myself I am well aware that the City has sustained a number of terrorist attacks in the not-terribly-distant past, but frankly I doubt that the Prime Minister would act so calmly if, say, a hijacked 767 steered by some lunatic yahoo had happened to crash in the midst of London's financial district, only to be joined by another fifteen minutes later.
posted by clevershark at 7:28 PM on September 21, 2001

Hey! Our president may be a little dim, but he's doing the best he can under terrific pressure and that's all we ask of the poor little guy. Besides, my mayor can beat up your Prime Minister.
posted by nicwolff at 12:10 AM on September 22, 2001

Don't worry Clevershark, you did actually state the obvious. We do all know that America's disaster was bigger and resulted in more casualties than any other single terrorist attack in history.

But I worry about all this horrendous "my disaster's better than your disaster" flagwaving of late. Any loss of human life whatsoever, small or large, is a terrible, terrible tragedy. And the IRA has been bombing the UK mainland for THIRTY YEARS, okay?
posted by skylar at 1:36 AM on September 22, 2001

Tony Blair is such a smarmy, smug bastard.
posted by eclectic glamazon at 6:54 AM on September 22, 2001

Tony Blair is such a smarmy, smug bastard.

And yet we elected him. Wonder what that says about the state of the United Kingdom...
posted by feelinglistless at 11:59 AM on September 22, 2001

« Older Powell vs. The Pentagon.   |   Cafe Con Pelvis Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments