February 2, 2009


The Trial of Tony Blair (Hal G.P. Colebatch, 2.2.09 , American Spectator)

I turned on the recent teleplay The Trial of Tony Blair (well, it's been around in Britain for a while but has just got to this part of the world) with some anticipation.

In fact, it is a disagreeable piece of work for a number of reasons. It attacks Blair from the left not for the almost innumerable things he got wrong but for almost the only big thing that he got right and showed real courage over: the need to stand by America in the war on terrorism. The whole thing driving its hatred is the assumption that Blair was an American puppet ("Poodle" has generally been the term used, far beyond the point of cliché).

Further, it does this with both childishness and the grossest artistic crudity and a personal savagery that seems somehow disgusting even to me. It has been widely advertised as a "sharp satire." That is one thing it certainly isn't. Sharp satire is what you get from the likes of Tom Stoppard, with a genuine clash of ideas and argument, not to mention wit. Even Bernard Shaw gave his bad characters good lines. The Trial of Tony Blair, however, is just crude venom, with what is really an anti-American agenda, very much in the line of all those British lefty rantings against Margaret Thatcher. It looks like a revival of the Leninist technique known as "animalization of the enemy." I think there is a good chance that such a play would simply not have found a producer a few years ago, not because of its politics but because of its forensic infantilism.

...is that the Right can't forgive him for how far Left he is nor the Left for how far Right.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 2, 2009 9:10 AM
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