Sunday, 14 November 2010

Tony Blair - Amateur Sleuth

Tony Blair, erstwhile Prime Mover of this here country of ours, did a big pamphlet all by himself. And with some other people, but mainly him. His macabre, gormless look of repressed sexual longing stared out at everyone from the cover and so we can assume that he put most of the work in. And it's about the job he had before he wrote the book about the job.

People started hiding it, or moving it around to other sections. These were the twee-er types of protester, who presumably had to fill the void left in the lives by the cancellation of Last of the Summer Wine by coming up with other attempts at almost offensively gentle comedy. Some people wanted it banned, because apparently Freedom of Speech doesn't apply to people that you really don't like. Hiding it is also a form of censorship of course, though not a very good one. But it was done en masse as an act of protest, accelerated by a Facebook group.

Now, I'm not massively keen on Tony Blair. I think he's convinced himself of the benevolence of his actions, but then I think that anyone who wants the job of Prime Minister is dangerously insane anyway. Who wants to have all those deaths on their hands? Because being an MP is likely enough to give you direct responsibility for having to lie, and cheat, and occasionally cause a death. You have to OD on idealism to get anywhere near Number 10 or else you'd have a breakdown. 

However I think that the idea to move his book, far from being a 'wonderfully British protest' (which must be why we're such a dominant world power these days) is a pathetic indication of how little ability the average citizen has to influence anything. Some people seemed to acknowledge this, and said 'At least it'll be a bit of fun for us!' Which seems to be paraphrasing Nietzsche to saying 'I stared into the Abyss, and the Abyss stared I mooned the Abyss, and people were like "Yeah, you totally pwned that Abyss!" and the Abyss was like "Dude, I have literally no idea who you are."'

There was also the argument that satire and humour are the best weapons to bring down the political classes. Except that this seemed to presume that the message was going to filter through to Tony Blair, and also to people visiting the bookshop.

NO-ONE, absolutely NO-ONE is going to go into a bookshop looking for the new Mark Billingham and say: 'Why, but this is Tony Blair's book! In the Crime Section! Surely some mistake? But wait, NO! I see it all now! This means he's a criminal! Oh the wool has been pulled from my eyes and no mistake! Thank heavens that some responsible citizen has taken the book and put it here so that I can see that, rather than being the Prime Minister whose decisions I wasn't entirely comfortable with but I kept voting in anyway, the man is a mass murdering zealot! I shall now go forth and devote my life to putting him behind bars!'

But on the other hand, Tony Blair came into the bookshop I work at the other day. He was skipping merrily, as is his wont. 

'Hullo boys and girls, ladies and germs! Isn't it a wunnerful day! he cried, beaming his mesmeric smile across the entire bookshop despite this being a physical and mental impossibility. 

He radiated sunbeams from his anal cleft, and came Factor 50 Suntan Lotion into the face of a small child so he would not burn his soft body by farting UV rays on him. 

'Thank you Tony Blair!' chirruped the small child, who ran straight to the embrace of his adoring mother's hip. Tony saluted the mother, who waves her lace handkerchief at him in celebration at this people's champion. But then the smile disappeared from Tony's face, and disappeared forever.

There was a copy of his book in the Crime section.


Tony Blair's upper lip was not stiff. His eyes lost their lustre.

'But...unless I wrote a Crime Fiction book starring myself as the main character hunting down the terrible Sadsama B'Insania and his Cudgels of Massively Traumatising A Series of Prostitutes About the Head and Arms...unless all of that...then that means...'

At this point Tony Blair let out a terrible roar. No words. Just the raw and horrible sounds of a wounded animal. He grew so loud that he woke up Keir Hardie. He bellowed so terribly that God shed a single tear. Looking down from Heaven, Diana immediately cried out in empathy.

Tony Blair bellowed. 

He continued bellowing for around seven to eight minutes.

Then, when he had finally stopped, bloody saliva flecking the floor around him, he curled up into the foetal position around the Non-Fiction 3 for 2 browser, and never got up.

Security Camera footage showed his body turning into ash at around 3.47 am.

Strangely enough, this happened in every single shop people moved his book in.

Actually I'm lying. It happened in none of them. If someone told Tony Blair that several thousand people moved his book, I doubt it'd peturb him more than the many thousands more who went on anti-war protests. Anyone who saw the book in the Crime section and agreed with the sentiment laughed once, possibly saying 'LOL' out loud, and then got on with their lives. The end result was some severely irked booksellers and people who may have been neutral coming to Tony Blair's defence. I witnessed this happen several times.

No-one who was meant to be annoyed was even slightly bothered by this protest. Not that it was much of a protest, just a load of people sharing an in-joke that wasn't sufficiently funny to bear repeating. At best it was a political statement that would entertain people who did not need to be convinced of the sentiment it represented. At worst it was a colossal waste of fucking time and effort that could have been better spent coming up with an actual protest that didn't compromise anyone's values.

But then I am biased. I work in a bookshop. We sell Mein Kampf. Twilight. Harry Potter. The Chopper books. A 'Painful Lives' section. A whole section devoted to religion and Mind, Body and Soul books. I don't think a bookshop's job is to pick what people should read, but to stock what people want to read, even if it's controversial and even if it's utter crap.

So if you think that Tony Blair is a war criminal, perhaps it is time for one of them to write a book about it? There's a market after all, and compiling a list of the evidence could hardly hurt. And hey, it'd give you a chance to show how tolerant you are when Cherie hires people to go around and put it in the Conspiracy Theories section.

Which is, oddly, shelved in between Mind, Body and Spirit and Religion as the filling in some sort of bullshit sandwich.

November 2010.

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