Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Disliking Blair to distraction

Martin Kettle in The Guardian writes a very confused piece:

Is Blair deceiving himself about America yet again?

Of course Kettle answers in the affirmative. His argument goes like this:

  1. Blair, unlike everyone else, thought that Gore would win the 2000 election. This was a big mistake because, according to Kettle, everyone else thought that Bush would win and this shows that Blair cannot read the US electorate. No matter that actually most people thought that Gore would win and some still maintain he did. Why let facts stand in the way.

  2. Blair will once again prove he cannot read the US electorate by getting it wrong this time round. But Kettle does not say how Blair will get it wrong since he gives no indication of who Blair thinks will win. All he says is that Blair believes that things won't change that much if Kerry wins. Kettle agrees with this assessment:

    "Around Blair it is fashionable to say that a Kerry victory would make little fundamental difference to the international situation. In important respects that is true."

    But then goes on to contradict himself by claiming that there will in fact be major change:

    "When Bush came in, Blair catastrophically underestimated the extent of the change - and he still does."

Blair got along well with Clinton and Bush and will get along with Kerry. Kettle's belief that the consequences of a Kerry victory will come as an unpleasant surprise to Blair is based entirely on a dislike of Blair and not on any intelligent reading of the situation.

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