FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeWednesday, October 31, 2012
eoeke@aol.com


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TONY BLAIR, PLEASE HANDS OFF NIGERIA,
AND GOODLUCK JONATHAN BE CAREFUL OF THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

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t his recent attendance at the UN General Assembly session, the President of Nigeria was said to have attended a breakfast meeting where among the people in attendance were Tony Blair former British Prime Minister and Condoleezza Rice former US secretary of state among other ex-politicians and lobbyists. Blair was reported to have told Jonathan not to listen to the opposition and to be focused in his policies. In effect, he was telling him not to pay attention to what the opposition says no matter their validity. Well, if Blair was quoted correctly, I would not be surprised.

Tony Blair is a man whose political carrier in Britain I followed very closely. He was the opposition leader in 1996, when I arrived Britain and for one year, I watched him practically harass John major out of office. The Wednesday Prime Ministerís question time was his best time. It gave him opportunity to humiliate, taunt and disparage John major to the cheers of labour party members of parliament. This unique feature of British politics has done more than any other thing to make British children very rude and disrespectful to their elders. When you watch British Prime Ministerís question time, and then have the privilege to watch British students abuse their teachers, as I do in course of my work, you will be left in no doubt where they learn rudeness. To be candid, if John major listened to the opposition and took many things Tony Blair said to him, albeit in a rude and disparaging manner into consideration, who knows, he might not have lost the election. You will therefore understand my surprise at the reported advice by Tony Blair to Goodluck Jonathan not to listen to the opposition.

After watching the British prime ministerís Question time for a while, I stopped because of the way Blair talked to John major. He showed no respect to him and always spoke to humiliate, be little and show that he did not know what he was doing. Major who already suffer inferiority complex because he did not have a university degree in a profession dominated by Oxbridge graduate, found Tony Blairís antics very hurtful and dreaded the question time. It was a mismatch between an Oxford trained Barrister and a former bank Clerk in Lagos. That Tony Blair almost always won was no surprise. He made John major, who was a very good leader to look very stupid and the Tory party having been in power for 18 years did not help matter as they went into melt down through intra party fighting, and the desire for change finally swept Blair into power in May 1997.

I felt that it was not the best way of practicing politics. However, when I watched the house of Lord Debate, I realised that there are two ways of talking to people. You can choose to talk to people with respect and consideration in a way that preserves their dignity or talk to them with contempt and with the view to show that they are ignorant, not important and their position irrelevant. The latter is what happens in the House of Commons at question time and the former in the House of Lords. Several years later, I have come to know that truly, the British house of common is a political theatre where politicians come to perform for the people in order to give them the impression that Britain is a democracy when indeed, it is a Monarchy with remote control.

To Tony Blairís credit he tried to implement some of the labour partyís manifesto. He published the McPherson inquiry report on Stephen Lawrence and attempted to ensure justice for the family. He also made improvement in the welfare state, albeit in a way and manner that worsened British dependency culture and increased the peopleís sense of entitlement. He injected a lot of money into the NHS majority of which found their way into the pockets of NHS managers as increase in salaries but unable to make the one change which the organisation needed which is empowering professionals to decide in clinical matters, reduce wastes and lead the organisation. He continued the attack on employeeís rights and making it easy to fire people from their jobs. One of his greatest achievements was introduction PFI in the building of Hospital and Academy School. These two programs have turned out to be some of the greatest scams a government can perform. Lastly he took Britain to a war on a lie. Even though he knew that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, he secretly agreed with George Bush to support him on his revenge attack to Saddam Hussein. He allowed a false dossier to be published which claimed that Saddam Hussein had ability to lunch a missile that could reach London in forty-five minutes and persuade the British people on lie to go into a war. When the war started, he supported America to look for a man who was hiding in Tora bora in Bagdad. For his role in this infamous war on terror, he was honoured with the American congressional medal.

However, there is a positive to his Premiership. Tony Blair, with the support of Bill Clinton helped to broker the Good Friday agreement which has brought relative peace to Northern Ireland. This is perhaps the only thing he did right while in power and it is important to say that it was the john Majorís conservative government that laid the foundation for the peace he midwifed. The consequences of his decisions while in power, in form of car bombs in the streets of Bagdad, Kabul, London, Madrid, and thousands of dead NATO soldiers are still with the world today. His policies while in government contributed to Britainís economic collapse and he is not the right man to be advising the president of a country like Nigeria that has serious issues with government corruption and opacity, individual liberty and human rights and the freedom of the press and ethnic and religious intolerance and prejudices. Things which he has very little or no real life experience. Nigerian president knows what to do but he lacks the courage to confront the evil forces that have contributed to the problems of Nigeria.

The private Finance initiative ( PFI) was implemented for the first time in the UK by the Conservative government of John Major in 1992. It immediately proved controversial, and was attacked by the Labour Party (Tony Blair) while in opposition. Labour critics such as the future Cabinet Minister & Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, considered that PFI was really a back-door form of privatisation (House of Commons, 7 December 1993), and the future Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, warned that "apparent savings now could be countered by the formidable commitment on revenue expenditure in years to come".[ Noe Monbiot, George (4 September 2007), "This Great Free-Market Experiment Is More Like A Corporate Welfare Scheme", The Guardian (London) Nonetheless, the Treasury considered the scheme advantageous and pushed Tony Blair's Labour government to adopt it after the 1997 General Election. Two months after the party took office, the Health Secretary, Alan Milburn, announced that "when there is a limited amount of public-sector capital available, as there is, it's PFI or bust". PFI continued and, in fact, expanded under Labour, resulting in criticism from many trade unions, elements of the Labour Party, the Scottish National Party (SNP), and the Green Party,[7] as well as commentators such as George Monbiot. Proponents of the PFI include the World Bank, IMF and (in the UK) the CBI.]

Today in Britain, many NHS hospitals have been bankrupted by the PFI. There is evidence that the cost of hospitals ordered through PFI is adversely affecting the UK's National Health Service. Jonathan Fielden, chair of the British Medical Association's consultants' committee has said that PFI debts are "distorting clinical priorities" and impacting the treatment given to patients. Fielden cited the example of University Hospital Coventry where the NHS Trust was forced to borrow money in order to make the first £54m payment owed to the PFI contractor. He said that the trust was in the ignominious position of struggling for money before the hospital's doors even opened. The Trust could not afford to run all the services that it had commissioned, and was having to mothball services and close wards. A BBC Radio 4 investigation into PFI noted the case of Balmoral High School in Northern Ireland which cost £17m to build in 2002. In 2007 the decision was made to close the school because of lack of pupils. But the PFI contract is due to run for another 20 years, so the taxpayer will be paying millions of pounds for an unused facility. (Sheeran, Robin (21 June 2007), "Buy Now, Pay Later", BBC} With regard to hospitals, Prof. Nick Bosanquet of Imperial College London has argued that the government commissioned some PFI hospitals without a proper understanding of their costs, resulting in a number of hospitals which are too expensive to be used. He said: There are already one or two PFI hospitals where wards and wings are standing empty because nobody wants to buy their services. There will be a temptation to say 'right we are stuck with these contracts so we will close down older hospitals', which may in fact be lower cost. Just closing down non-PFI hospitals in order to up activity in the PFI ones is not going to be the answer because we may have the wrong kind of services in the wrong places.[ "PFI Hospitals 'Hit Patient Care'", BBC, 12 June 2007]

What Tony Blair did to the British NHS is like a man owing a house and wants to rebuild it asking another person to rebuild it and the person claims he rebuilt it at four times the cost, if he had built it himself and then charge him rent and very high interest for thirty years. So a house which a man would have built by borrowing one million from the bank is built at 5 million and the man is charged rent for living in the house for several years. This is how Blairís economic works. The evidence would suggest that PFI has been a ripe off. This is the reason why Tony Blair would not live in Britain and prefers to live in Jerusalem. If he lived in Britain he would require a higher level of security which no past British prime minister has needed. He is openly called a war criminal and many respectable people like Bishop Desmond Tutu would not share a table with him and many more would not shake his hand.

Furthermore, Goodluck Jonathan should study closely what happens to Tony Blairís friends. At the peak of Gadhafiís dictatorship, Tony Blair was his best friend. He reintroduced him to the West and claimed that he was a changed man. His role in helping Gadhafiís son obtain his degree at LSE has not been investigated. Tony Blair is still resisting the call for him to declare how much Gadhafi paid him for his PR job. We know what happened to Gadhafi a few years later. Good luck Jonathan should tell Nigerians how much The government of Nigeria paid Tony Blair to attend a breakfast meeting with him in New York. We know that Tony Bair do not do such things on charity.

The war on terror has cost Britain and America billons. In fact it is the real cause of the West economic collapse but no one wants to mention. It is surprising that in the analysis of the cause of the economic collapse in the west that the cost of the war on terror is rarely mentioned. This is a deliberate attempt by the west to manage the truth and continue to deceive the people. One does not need to be an economist to understand how war bankrupts nations. No country can fight a war for ten years in the way and manner America and NATO countries have done and not develop financial problems. In the past the vanquished paid the price of wars. Germany has just recently finished paying for the Second World War. Unfortunately, both Iraq and Afghanistan have not paid the west for the war and now the whole world is paying the price. To buttress the point I am making, half of the cost of the war on terror can pay for all the debts of Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy and more than a quarter of the American debt to China.

I have gone to this details to show the background from which Tony Blairís advice to Goodluck Jonathan should be viewed and why I am surprised that Tony Blair advised Jonathan to show contempt for the views of the opposition. I suppose this is a very bad advice, one that would ensure that Jonathan, political career like that of tony Blair will end in tears and ignominy. I know many decent people who can give Jonathan better advice at better cost than whatever advice Tony Blair can give.

Tony Blairís advice to Goodluck Jonathan is an insult to the long suffering Nigeria people who are bearing the brunt of the maladministration and corruption in Nigeria. How can a world leader, advice the president of a country as corrupt as Nigeria, not to listen to the opposition. Well, who will he listen to? The truth is that Tony Blair is a man who tells people what they want to hear. If the devil invites him to a party and ready to pay, he would attend and extol some of the good qualities of the devil. He tries to be all things to all men and has no fixed principles except to win. This is a man who have always been a Catholic but hid it from British people. His spin doctor infamously declared that Tony Blair did not do God, only for him to visit the Pope once he left Office to ask forgiveness for his sin. Today he is running a faith centre and acts as the quartet envoy to Middle East, a post he persuaded the leaders of the quartet to create for him to take him out of Britain at the end of his term because of how people hate his role in the war on terror. However, he continues to defend his role, more out of defiance than from any deep conviction that he acted out of noble motive. How can a man claim he was acting out of noble motive when he lied to convince the people? This is Tony Blair for you.

I can go on and on about Tony Blair. I know what the British establishment think of him. I know why he disagreed with Robin Cook about the Iraq war and Robin Cook resigned as his Foreign minister. Roy Hettersley , view of him is well known. He once said that one book he regrets that Tony Blair refused to read was ďA theory of justiceĒ by John Rawal. I bought the book and read it and understood what he was saying. There is more to leadership than oratory. Tony Blair is not known to do principle but deals which give him money, and he now has a lot of it. This is not a man any Nigerian leader who wants to solve Nigeriaís problems should be taking advice from and I am ready for anybody to take me on , on my views on Tony Blair. Goodluck Jonathan, be very careful of anything Tony Blair tells you. He speaks with both sides of his mouth.

E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind.

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