Author Topic: Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"  (Read 1348 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"
« on: February 15, 2020, 11:35:01 »
Quote
the public choose between politicians they do not trust at a surface level which is “pretty much all of them”, according to the ex-Prime Minister, and those they find untrustworthy at a deeper level

And in that statement, that admission, that acceptance .... we have the origins of our current politics and why our politicians are less admired than used car salesmen.

They are economical with the truth ..... and they are proud of it.

And the populace reacts accordingly.


Quote
How Blair 'stretched truth past breaking point' to hold Northern Ireland talks together

TONY BLAIR confessed he "stretched the truth past breaking point" when attempting to negotiate peace talks between the political parties of Northern Ireland back in 2006, according to his autobiography.
By KATE NICHOLSON
PUBLISHED: 12:16, Sat, Feb 15, 2020 | UPDATED: 12:17, Sat, Feb 15, 2020
   

Boris Johnson did finally manage to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly last month after three years of deadlock, enabling the parties to have a say in future negotiations about the Irish border in post-Brexit Britain. However, the Assembly has struggled with internal conflict for years as the Unionists and the Republicans have continually jostled for power. Mr Blair tried on several occasions to pull the parties of Northern Ireland together throughout his premiership, beginning with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Yet, by 2002 Stormont was suspended once again after allegations of an IRA spy-ring within the Assembly rocked the working agreements between the parties.

Although the then-Prime Minister did unify the parties by the end of his time in Downing Street, he later claimed he only achieved through taking “horrendous chances”.

In his 2010 autobiography, ‘A Journey’, Mr Blair said voters acknowledge a various amount of manipulation was required in politics.

He explained: “Politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even history it, where the interests of the bigger strategic goal demand it be done.

“Without operating with some subtlety at this level, the job would be well-nigh impossible.”

He used the Northern Ireland peace talks as an example of when the truth needed to be “bent” in order to make progress, especially when he was negotiating talks between the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein.

Mr Blair admitted: “I took horrendous chances in what I was telling each the other had agreed to – stretching the truth, I fear, on occasions past breaking point.”

He also discussed his concerns of the “whole thing collapsing” and added it was only through “creativity pouring out of every orifice” that the peace talks made any headway.

He tried to make sure the Assembly was to be recalled by May 2006, and gave the parties six weeks to elect an executive – but threatened that if, after a further three months, a multi-party devolved government had not been formed, salaries would be stopped.

Yet it was not until October that year that talks began to look more positive – a transitional assembly formed and by May, Stormont appeared to up and running.

He then confirmed an assembly election to be held on 7 March although the new power-sharing devolved government still had a rocky start as the parties went on to disagree over the very furniture of meetings.

Mr Blair explained the heated debates “came down to the shape of the table” within their shared meeting room.

He said: “The DUP wanted the sides to sit opposite each other to show they were still adversaries. Sinn Fein wanted everyone to sit next to each other to show they were partners and therefore equals.”

It was not sorted until a young Downing Street Official suggested a diamond-shaped table so the parties “could sit both opposite and with each other”.

Mr Blair also confessed in his autobiography that he is a master “manipulator”, able to play on the feelings of others.

He concluded that “the point is you need to be nimble, flexible and innovative” with the truth.

The former Prime Minister also implied that the public choose between politicians they do not trust at a surface level which is “pretty much all of them”, according to the ex-Prime Minister, and those they find untrustworthy at a deeper level.

He said: “This is the level of trust that really matters”, as it supposedly shows whether or not a politician has the public’s best interests at heart.

Mr Blair’s intervention in Northern Ireland maintained the Stormont Assembly from 2007 until 2017.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1242730/tony-blair-news-northern-ireland-stormont-boris-johnson-peace-talks-brexit-spt
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

"If change isn’t allowed to be a process, it becomes an event." - Penny Mordaunt 10/10/2019

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

ignoramus et ignorabimus

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2020, 12:21:39 »
Quote
“the point is you need to be nimble, flexible and innovative” with the truth.

The former Prime Minister also implied that the public choose between politicians they do not trust at a surface level which is “pretty much all of them”, according to the ex-Prime Minister, and those they find untrustworthy at a deeper level.

So, implications for the discussion of policy and principle.

If you cannot rely on the "word".  If, at best, the "truth" is an intention, a goal, a vision, then what is the point of fretting about discussing principle?  Principle must, of necessity, bend to "reality" as perceived by the politician.

In Tony's view, then, you are forced to rely on your estimation of the politician's character.  And how do you estimate the character? From the information that you gather - some of which you must seek but most of which you are given - propaganda. A mixture of hagiography and vitriol. None of which is to be trusted.  So the information becomes more and more scurrilous and focuses more and more on peccadilloes and less and less on policy.

More and more people get tired of the nonsense.  Some tune out wishing a pox on all their houses.  Others seek a solution in the comfortable knowledge that "my tribe is better than yours".

Tony, and Bill, and the George's and Barack and Theresa and Justin and virtually every other politician and spin-doctor have created our current politics.  But I am not sure that the politics are much different than they were in Walpole's day or even the day's of Burghley or John of Gaunt.

You still pays your money and takes your chances.

"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

"If change isn’t allowed to be a process, it becomes an event." - Penny Mordaunt 10/10/2019

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

ignoramus et ignorabimus

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2020, 12:47:05 »
I doubt the people are much different.  What has changed is the amount of power at stake.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Underway

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Re: Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2020, 13:47:46 »
Tony, and Bill, and the George's and Barack and Theresa and Justin and virtually every other politician and spin-doctor have created our current politics. 

I don't believe that.  The electorate has created our current politics.  We elect dishonest people who tell us what we want to hear.  We elect people without forcing them to show all their cards.  If we elected forthright and honest politicians to high office then forthright and honest would be what we got.  This is on us, not them.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2020, 15:36:44 »
If all the choices put before us are careless with the truth - and it seems to me they are - then it's hard for "us" not to elect them.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Underway

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Re: Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2020, 16:29:26 »
If all the choices put before us are careless with the truth - and it seems to me they are - then it's hard for "us" not to elect them.

I would disagree that all the choices put before you were careless with the truth during the last election.  I have no doubt in my mind the Green Party and the Peoples Party of Canada were completely honest with the world as they saw it, and their plans for government.  And it blew up in their face because the electorate doesn't want to hear the truth.  They want to hear what makes them feel good and comfortable and that the other guys are wrong and evil.  People vote because of tribalism and habit.  There is plenty of research on this.  One only needs to look south of the border to see the most obvious of examples of loose with the truth ignored by tribalism.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2020, 16:48:59 »
Or, perhaps, in a democracy, a government of the people, it should be no surprise that politicians are people too.

Quote
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

And perhaps we should adjust our expectations accordingly.

But perhaps, also, those attending our institutions of higher learning, need a bit of reminding that universities don't grow plaster saints either. Despite the fact that virtually every ancient university started off as a seminary, dogmatically instructing someone's version of the truth.

1636 Harvard Church of England Congregationalists (Unitarian)
1663 Laval Church of France Roman Catholic (Gallican)
1693 William and Mary Church of England Episcopalian (Deist)
1701 Yale Congregationalist
1740 University of Pennsylvania Methodist Non-Denominational
1743 University of Delaware Presbyterian
1746 Princeton Presbyterian (New Light)
1754 Columbia Church of England Episcopalian
1764 Brown Non-Denominational
1766 Rutgers Dutch Reform
1769 Dartmouth Congregationalist
1770 Charleston Non-Denominational
1789 Georgetown Roman Catholic
1827 University of Toronto Church of England Episcopalian
1841 Queen's University Church of Scotland Presbyterian

Arguably, institutionally, universities were not places where one went to learn how to discover the truth.  Universities were places where the truth resided and you went there to learn the dogma and disseminate that university's truth.

As institutions they were created to disseminate dogma.  If you wanted to think something else then you went to a different university.  Universities, and the professorship, are conditioned to be the arbiters of truth, and their graduates are their acolytes.

Have the universities changed or is it just the dogma they propound that has changed?




"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

"If change isn’t allowed to be a process, it becomes an event." - Penny Mordaunt 10/10/2019

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

ignoramus et ignorabimus

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2020, 20:39:16 »
>I have no doubt in my mind the Green Party and the Peoples Party of Canada were completely honest with the world as they saw it

Irrational foolishness isn't an improvement.  And it'd be a wonder of the world if the members of those parties didn't practice their own versions of economy with the truth.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline mariomike

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Re: Tony Blair on Politicians and "The Truth"
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2020, 09:18:08 »
We elect dishonest people who tell us what we want to hear.  We elect people without forcing them to show all their cards.  If we elected forthright and honest politicians to high office then forthright and honest would be what we got. 

Walter Mondale ( now the oldest-living former U.S. vice president ) put it this way, "We told the truth, obeyed the law and kept the peace."

One only needs to look south of the border to see the most obvious of examples of loose with the truth ignored by tribalism.

For our American friends, Happy Presidents' Day.



 

« Last Edit: February 17, 2020, 10:44:50 by mariomike »
In any war, there are two tremendous tasks. That of the combat troops is to fight the enemy. That of the supply troops is to furnish all the material to insure victory. The faster and farther the combat troops advance against the foe, the greater becomes the battle of supply. EISENHOWER