Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"It is my legacy, see? My place in history."

One of the things that struck me about the long, drawn out death rattle of the Blair tenure in Number 10 was the pointless floundering and posturing done by the utterly tainted PM as he desperately tried to seek a worthwhile legacy for the history books. Of course, he couldn’t do it. By the time he actually got round to resigning, he had utterly fucked his perceptions for perpetuity through egregious blunders such as the Iraq War.

But it has occurred to me that, whilst people questioned whether Blair would be able to find a positive legacy or not in his final weeks in Number 10, everyone seemed to accept that it was his right to try to find a place in the history books. It was almost as if being Prime Minister meant you had an automatic right to try to be a key historical figure.

Actually, no. This is all completely and totally wrong. Being Prime Minister – or holding any senior role in government – does not earn you the right to seek a place in history. In fact, the mentality where senior politicians grasp at that legacy is precisely what is wrong with politics in this country. Whatever happened to the concept that you become Prime Minister – and, indeed, an MP – to try to make the country a better place to live in? When did being Prime Minister become nothing more that an ego boost for whichever slack-jawed narcissist happened to have got into Number 10?

Think about it this way. The Prime Minister is effectively the CEO of our country. How often do you hear CEOs looking for their place in history? You don’t. They would rather just get on with their job of running their company. Sure, they might try to change things when they first arrive at a company in order to make a splash, but their main focus is doing their job effectively. Not looking for a place in history to boost their egos.

We should expect the same mentality from our politicians – particularly those in senior positions. They should want to become PM so they can run the country more effectively, not so they can see their names in the history books in twenty years. And they should have the intelligence to realise that you can’t make a place in history – it comes to you with circumstance. Had he not been in the right place in the right time then Churchill would be remembered as a political underachiever who couldn’t decide which side of the Commons he wanted to sit on. He didn’t go out and create World War Two to get a legacy – he responded to the circumstances of the day.

Because when you do try to go out to make a place in history, that’s when things tend to go wrong. Witness Blair’s attempts to become a War Prime Minister – Iraq will be his legacy, but it won’t be a positive one. And this flawed mentality is not just displayed by members of the Labour party – one of the reasons why that corpulent fuck Ted Heath took us into Europe was to ensure history remembered him.* The Prime Minister should be happy just to manage the country if all that is required is to just manage the country. He or she shouldn’t be trying to mould events to get a legacy.

And I would go so far as to say we should bar from High Office in this country anyone who even thinks in terms of their place in history. They should want to be PM for more worthy reasons than massaging their flaccid egos by getting positively assessed tweed wearing academics in fifty years time.

*And, indeed, history does remember him. As a dick.

6 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

Blair has already disappeared from the history books, all we'll remember him for is a complete muddle of endless 'radical shake ups', cash for honours, allowing his Chancellor to expand the State by about a quarter and Iraq. And those memories will soon fade.

guido faux said...

Blair thinks he has the chance to redeem himself as 'middle-east envoy' but he will soon find the rug pulled from under his feat.

Pogo said...

"And I would go so far as to say we should bar from High Office in this country anyone who even thinks in terms of their place in history."

I'm inclined to go even further and support the late Douglas Adams's suggestion that "the desire to be a politician should be enough to bar someone from ever being allowed to become one".

Neal Asher said...

Perhaps his place in history should be as one of these pictures they intend putting on cigarette packets. They need something to illustrate impotence, and he's certainly a limp dick.

Ed said...

You are rather kinder about Heath than I would have been.

Robert said...

I spotted this quote from George Bush, in an article at the Daily Dish:

“He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. “It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”"