Saturday, May 19, 2007

Blair's lies and linguistic manipulations

My Dad used to call people like Blair a 'twerp'. But I fear he is a vicious little man

By Robert Fisk

"By great good fortune, I studied linguistics at Lancaster University. Indeed, I read the books of Noam Chomsky, many years before he became a good friend of mine; to be honest, when I read his work, I thought Chomsky was dead. What a pleasure, therefore, to discover that he shared my world - and my views on Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara.

But I have to admit a moment of regret this weekend. Lord Blair is going from us. His self-serving memoirs will, of course, remind us of his God-like view of himself (and, heaven spare me, we share the same publishers) but I doubt if Chomsky's "foregrounded elements" will save him. A "foregrounded element" was something unusual, a phrase placed in such a way that it warned us of a lie to come.....

And now I have before me Blair's repulsive "goodbye" speech to the British people, uttered at Sedgefield. Putting the country first didn't mean "doing the right thing according to conventional wisdom" (Chomsky foregrounded element: conventional) or the "prevailing consensus: (Chomsky foregrounded element: prevailing). It meant "what you genuinely believe to be right" (Chomsky foregrounded element: genuinely). Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara wanted to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Britain's oldest ally, which he assumed to be the United States. (It is actually Portugal, but no matter.) "I did so out of belief," he told us. Foregrounded element: belief.

Am I alone in being repulsed by this? "Politics may be the art of the possible (foregrounded element: may) but, at least in life, give the impossible a go." What does this mean? Is Blair adopting sainthood as a means to an end? "Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right." Excuse me? Is that Blair's message to the families of all those dead soldiers - and to the families of all those thousands of dead Iraqis? It has been an "honour" to "serve" Britain, this man tells us. What gall......

My Dad used to call people like Blair a "twerp" which, I think, meant a pregnant earwig. But Blair is not a twerp. I very much fear he is a vicious little man. And I can only recall Cromwell's statement to the Rump Parliament in 1653, repeated - with such wisdom - by Leo Amery to Chamberlain in 1940: "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go." "

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