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June 26, 2005

TONY BLAIR'S SON TO INTERN WITH CONSERVATIVE CLOSET-CASE DAVID DREIER (Updated)

The Daily Telegraph reports today that Tony Blair's 21-year-old son, Euan (below, with his mother), has snared a prestigious internship in Washington working under Republican Congressman David Dreier, the powerful Euan_blair_and_mama conservative chairman of the House Rules Committee (and a hypocritical gay closet case who supports the Republicans' homophobic political agenda). And Democrats aren't happy about the internship, engineered by Daddy Blair, calling Dreier an "extremely surprising choice" to train Euan in the intricacies of American politics.

The Telegraph, which says that Euan Blair will be "mentored" by Dreier (at right),Dreier_1  notes: "Committee officials say the decision to offer the sought-after position to the Prime Minister's son was taken at a senior level - not by staff ordinarily responsible for sifting internship applications. The offer followed a telephone interview with the committee's staff director. British diplomats in Washington also played a part in the process. A Downing Street spokesman said: 'Given the obvious sensitivities, the Prime Minister asked the British embassy to get involved in the process.'"

Euan_blair_1 Euan Blair (left) is, as the Brits say, "a bit of a lad," with several drinking-related arrests and one drunk-driving incident having hit the British papers. Here's an interesting epistomological fact: so well-known are young Euan's night-time antics that his name has even entered Cockney rhyming slang as the auditory equivalent of Leicester Square, the hub of London nightlife, where one finds giant disco clubs like Hippodrome, Equinox, or Maximus (thus, one would say, in Cockney, "Meet me at Euan Blair.") And the internship with Dreier isn't the first time Euan's Mum and Dad have used their power in office to pull strings for their offspring: In 2002 a scandal (dubbed Cheriegate) was uncovered over Euan's mother, Cherie Booth, having used under-handed methods to acquire two flats for him and his guards to live in (in Bristol, where Euan was to attend university after failing to get the A-level grades needed for admission to Oxford), apartments which were secured with the help of a convicted Australian con-man, Cherie's pal Peter Foster. The Liberal Democrats later described these as "one [flat] to sleep in and one to party".

The Telegraph story, which didn't bother rehashing these well-known incidents for its British readers, went on to say that "...Despite his father's close relationship with President George W Bush, the news that Euan is to work for the Republican-led committee Bush_and_blairhas stunned Democrats in Washington. Eric Burns, the communications director for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, the leading Democrat on the committee, said: 'Working on the Rules Committee will be quite a learning process as it has always been one of the most partisan in the House. It is extremely surprising that the son of a Labour prime minister would intern with the Republican majority staff on the committee.'"

Well, what's so surprising? Tony Blair began his reign by imitating the sell-out triangulations of Bill Clinton and has moved steadily to the Mgcartoon010blairinbus right of traditional Labour policies ever since--not just on foreign policy but on economic issues and civil liberties. By getting the British Embassy to snaggle a job with Dreier for his son, it looks like the prime minister wants to make sure young Euan doesn't stray too far from the family right-wing line. In an editorial just before the Brits' recent elections, The Independent growled that Tony Blair "is essentially a con man." So is the two-faced Dreier, who keeps his male lover on the Congressional payroll at a salary equal to that of Karl Rove and the White House chief of staff Andy Card -- but continues to use his power to step on theDreier_and_arnold_1  rights of gays to full equality before the law. Don't drop the soap around Dreier, Euan. (See my article in the L.A. Weekly, "The Outing: David Dreier and his Straight Hypocrisy.") Dreier is not only one of the  most powerful men in Congress, but one of the most influential politicians in California -- he's a close advisor of The Governator, whose transition team he headed.

There's a solid, detailed analysis of Blair's New Labour and its sharp turn to the right in the current issue of the New Left Review. Susan Watkins' carefully footnoted article, "A WEIGHTLESS HEGEMONY--New Labour’s Role in the Neoliberal Order," among other things points out how Blair's policies have widened the yawning gap betwen the haves and the have-nots in Britain:

"Gross transfers to the rich from the poor have continued under New Labour. Indirect taxes, though they have fallen slightly following the mass protests against fuel prices in 2000, are still higher than in Images_18 Thatcher’s day. Brown’s tax credits for low-paid parents and pensioners—garnering much praise from left-liberal commentators for giving the poorest decile an extra £15 a week—have been offset by larger changes in underlying income distribution...Wage differentials and the gender pay gap have widened during Labour’s second term."

Watkins, after dissecting Blair's neo-Thatcherian policies on economics, foreign policy, civil liberties, and the rest concludes her lengthy analysis with a judgement from which there is no appeal: "There is no reason for any greater sentimentality towards Labourism than Blair himself has shown. The Economist’s judgement that he is the best right-wing prime minister Britain could have is perfectly Images_19 accurate. For the left, the logic should be clear: any other would be preferable. It is an anachronism to think that the performance of rival parties competing within the field of neoliberal politics can be distinguished, once in office, by their ideological pedigrees or electoral bases. The policies they adopt correspond to the balance of forces within that society—typically, the legacy of antecedent regimes—and of the world outside it. Just as Clinton was far to the right domestically of Nixon, so Blair has been of Heath; let alone Eden or Macmillan. Today, the U.K.’s main opposition parties, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, are attacking the government from the left on student fees and pensions, attracting the disapproval of the financial press. Judged against its immediate predecessors, an objective audit can only conclude that New Labour has scattered a few crumbs to the poor, while otherwise consolidating and extending Thatcher’s programme; externally, it has a far more bloodstained record...." Read this definitive NLR article in its entirety by clicking here.

UPDATE: Following the pick-up of this DIRELAND post over the weekend by the U.K. Gay News, The Independent for Monday, June 27, became the first Brit daily to pick up on my L.A. Weekly article outing Dreier; you can read The Independent's article by clicking here. This raises the question, when will the major U.S. dailies begin to write about the gaggle of prominent Republican Party top officials and Bush administration operatives who've been outed? This is a highly relevant part of the public discourse, given the Republicans' huge anti-gay crusade, but so far only New York Times columnist Frank Rich has had the courage to write about them in several articles....Also, Mike Rogers' blogactive.com website, which has led the outing campaign against the Republicans, has initiated an amusing "Write to Tony Blair" campaign asking him to "save Euan from the clutch of America's closets"...

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Posted by: laptop battery | Oct 12, 2008 10:38:03 PM

Hey...slow down on the soap jokes. As they say in my hood (the Castro)...that ain't cool. Just because Dreier is paying his partner(?) to be his chief of staff, it doesn't mean he's an out of control sex fiend.

But anyway, hopefully Gordon Brown (a truer Labour party man) will take over soon and Blair will be out of politics forever. Good riddance...how'd following Bushie on that Iraq thing work out for you?

Posted by: Brian | Jun 30, 2005 12:23:14 AM

Dreier happens to be my Congressman. Thanks to Doug for his continuing coverage of this insidious clown.

Posted by: Richard Bellikoff | Jun 29, 2005 1:50:33 PM

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