Is there a Blair/brown po­lit­i­cal pact?

Lesotho Times - - Scru­ta­tor -

DID Bon­tate Pakalitha Mo­sisili and Monyane Moleleki ever reach a Blair/brown gen­tle­man’s po­lit­i­cal pact? I have been won­der­ing, par­tic­u­larly in light of the sus­tained blood­let­ting within the Demo­cratic Congress (DC).

To the mul­ti­tudes of the po­lit­i­cally unini­ti­ated among us, the Blair/brown pact in­volves a po­lit­i­cal agree­ment be­tween two prom­i­nent lead­ers of the Labour Party in Bri­tain; Tony Blair, suc­ces­sor to the Con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal flop John Ma­jor as Prime Min­is­ter of Bri­tain in 1997, be­fore Blair was him­self ef­fec­tively top­pled by Brown, in 2007.

It is com­mon cause that af­ter al­most 17 years of rule by the Tories in the 1980s up to the late 1990s, the Labour Party was hun­gry to re­gain power. But back then Labour had strug­gled with poor un­charis­matic lead­er­ship. In fact un­der Neil Kin­nock, Labour was al­most as dead as it is to­day un­der Jeremy Corbin. It even be­came worse un­der Kin­nock’s suc­ces­sor, the portly John Smith.

Then all manna sud­denly dropped from heaven for Labour. Smith died of a heart at­tack in May 1994. This marked one of those rare cir­cum­stances when death is cel­e­brated. Just imag­ine the fire­works that would ex­plode in Harare if the ar­chaic fos­sil, Robert Mu­gabe drops dead.

Smith’s death pro­vided the Labour Party with an am­ple op­por­tu­nity to re­new it­self. Un­der Kin­nock and Smith, re­form­ing the Labour Party from an ar­chaic left wing out­fit had been painful and slow. The party then looked to the two young turks, the im­mensely hand­some Blair and Brown to re­ju­ve­nate Labour.

Blair and Brown im­me­di­ately re­branded the party New Labour and moved it to the right of cen­tre. They were evenly matched in terms of the race to as­sume the Labour lead­er­ship from John Smith. To avoid an ac­ri­mo­nious suc­ces­sion race, it is said that Blair and Brown sat over their favourite in­tox­i­cat­ing drinks. Af­ter one or two, they then con­cluded what is now dubbed in world pol­i­tics as the Blair/brown Po­lit­i­cal Pact.

The pact en­tailed that Brown stands aside for Blair and al­low Blair to be elected Labour leader and then Prime Min­is­ter in the en­su­ing 1997 elec­tions. Bri­tons were weary of the Tories par­tic­u­larly af­ter Ma­jor’s un­event­ful years. They wanted a fresh face.

There was noth­ing stop­ping the charis­matic and like­able Blair. In­deed Blair led New Labour to a crush­ing vic­tory over the Tories in 1997. Un­der his pact with Brown, Blair would serve at least one term and then hand over the ba­ton to Brown, whom had been al­lo­cated the plum job of Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer (Fi­nance Min­is­ter).

But power be­ing power. And in par­tic­u­lar, be­cause of power’s rav­en­ous in­tox­i­cat­ing abil­i­ties, Blair is said to have re­neged on the deal. He saw through his first term. Then went on for a sec­ond af­ter an­other elec­toral land­slide. Not only that, Blair went on for a third. By this time, Brown was com­pletely gatvol.

His squab­bles with Blair were now spilling into the open, just as we are wit­ness­ing the ruckus be­tween Bon­tate Mo­si­sisli and Moleleki. Brown is said to have re­peat­edly told Blair: “You are not a man of your word. I will never trust you ……”.

In public, the two al­ways de­nied that they ever en­tered such a po­lit­i­cal pact. How­ever its truth­ful­ness be­came part of the Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal lex­i­con.

Why the Bri­tish peo­ple were so fix­ated with Blair to give him three elec­toral wins, the most of any Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter in re­cent his­tory, is a sub­ject for his­to­ri­ans. But as far Scru­ta­tor knows, it was not be­cause of any pol­icy pro­fi­ciency on Blair’s part though he did well as PM. It was all for good one rea­son: good looks. You see, Western coun­tries are highly de­vel­oped. Their cit­i­zens en­joy the good life. Can you imag­ine that in­fla­tion in Bri­tain has never scaled be­yond two per­cent? Com­pare that with Zim­babwe where the in­fla­tion rate once scaled a Gazil­lion per­cent, be­fore it be­came com­pletely in­cal­cu­la­ble. In other words, statis­ti­cians could no longer add enough ze­ros to keep pace with the ever sky­rock­et­ing in­fla­tion rate.

Be­cause of their priv­i­leged sta­tus, Western vot­ers tend to vote on is­sues we would con­sider pe­riph­eral, if not mun­dane, here. Their main fo­cal point is a leader’s good looks. So it was cer­tain that Blair would cling on be­cause of his looks. But then he com­mit­ted that grave er­ror of join­ing war­lord Bush in in­vad­ing Iraq. By then Blair had also lost his orig­i­nal looks, prob­a­bly be­cause of the stresses of of­fice.

In Europe, they se­lect lead­ers on the ba­sis of how hand­some or pretty they are. If coun­tries could ex­change lead­ers and Ntate Tha­bane moved to the USA, he will al­most be cer­tain to suc­ceed Barack Obama on ac­count of good looks alone. Not even Hil­lary, not even Trump would be­come Obama’s suc­ces­sor.

The tragedy that be­came Iraq en­abled Brown to mo­bilise the Labour party and en­sure Blair’s top­pling as Labour leader. Brown then be­came premier in 2007 af­ter Blair’s forced resignation from the lead­er­ship of the Labour Party. Un­for­tu­nately, by that time and be­cause of the pres­sures of be­ing Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer, Brown had also lost all his fa­cial ap­peals.

His face ap­peared swollen. His cheeks like they were about to drop from his face. His en­tire face was wob­bly. The Bri­tish vot­ers were not im­pressed. Some even felt em­bar­rassed.

The Bri­tish vot­ers seized their next mo­ment at the 2010 elec­tions and top­pled Brown. In came the fresh­man and im­mensely hand­some face of David Cameroon.

As I have wit­nessed the blood­let­ting in the DC and the new re­cently un­think­able ri­valry be­tween Bon­tate Mo­sisili and Moleleki, I have been ask­ing my­self. Did these two gen­tle­man ever en­ter a Blair/brown Pact? The an­swer is I truly don’t know. But one well-placed source tells me that the gentle­men in­deed have such a pact. How­ever, theirs is dif­fi­cult to de­ci­pher be­cause it was made in sign lan­guage.

So could it be that Ntate Moleleki is now im­pa­tient, just like Brown was. Me thinks so. The next ques­tion be­comes: Is Ntate Moleleki right in be­com­ing im­pa­tient. The an­swer is, of course he is right. Un­less you are am­bi­tious, you have no busi­ness be­ing in pol­i­tics. In fact you have no busi­ness be­ing a hu­man be­ing. Am­bi­tion de­fines ev­ery hu­man be­ing. Ev­ery sol­dier must want to be­come an army com­man­der. Ev­ery po­lice­man must want to be­come po­lice com­mis­sioner. Ev­ery civil ser­vant must want to be­come prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary. Ev­ery min­is­ter must har­bours am­bi­tions to be­come Prime Min­is­ter (as long as this is not un­guarded am­bi­tion). Ev­ery sheep and goat herder must have the am­bi­tion to one day own his own flock and kraal. Ev­ery politi­cian who claims to not want to be­come Prime Min­is­ter or Pres­i­dent is an un­couth liar. They have no busi­ness be­ing in pol­i­tics.

Even if one as­sumes that BON­tate Moleleki and Mo­sisili never reached a Blair/brown pact, Ntate Moleleki’s am­bi­tions re­main per­fectly un­der­stand­able. It could be that as the years have waned, Ntate Moleleki had a le­git­i­mate ex­pec­ta­tion that he would one day re­ceive a call from Ntate Mo­sisili for a cor­dial con­ver­sa­tion over some sooth­ing tots of Glen Fid­dich 21 (def­i­nitely not 12).

Af­ter two or three dou­ble tots, Ntate Mo­sisili would then break the news: “Ntate, we have had a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship over the years since our days in the BCP. We have been to­gether as we have split from the BCP into the LCD, then into the DC. Now I know how it feels to be a peren­nial deputy. Not even deputy prime min­is­ter in your case. But deputy leader in the party.

“I Pakalitha Bethuel Mo­sisili have had my time. I want to pass the ba­ton to you now. I will quit my lead­er­ship of the party and coun­try and pave way for you to be­come Prime Min­is­ter. But to pre­serve my legacy you must re­name Kingsway Road into Berthuel Mo­sisili High­way. Fif­teen years is a long time in power. Al­low me to go into sun­set…… In a nut­shell, it’s now your turn Ntate.” Imag­ine how such a frank dis­cus­sion would do to the DC. I can as­sure you that there will be no but­ter­flies ( Liru­rubele) and girl­friends ( Lithope) in the DC.

Ntate Mo­sisili has al­ready done it once be­fore when he passed the ba­ton to Ntate Tha­bane. So it should re­ally not be dif­fi­cult for him. But Africa be­ing Africa. Le­sotho be­ing Le­sotho and power be­ing power, it would re­ally need a mir­a­cle for this to hap­pen.

Just con­sider the case of Robert Mu­gabe again. The old fos­sil is 93 years old in three months’ time. He has been in power for 37 years. He was lucky enough to snatch a woman, nearly 50 years his ju­nior, from an­other man. So he be­lieves he should con­tinue. At 93, Mu­gabe has al­ready been en­dorsed as his party’s can­di­date for the 2018 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. A new con­sti­tu­tion writ­ten for Zim­babwe al­lows only a max­i­mum of two five year terms.

If he rigs the elec­tions in 2018 (as he has done again and again and as he is al­most cer­tain to re­peat in 2018) Mu­gabe will be 99 years old when his sec­ond and fi­nal term ends in 2023. But his ever loyal lieu­tenants have al­ready sig­nalled that they will ag­i­tate for the chang­ing of the con­sti­tu­tion for Mu­gabe to run again in 2023. What if Mu­gabe is dead by then? His young ra­pa­cious and al­co­holic wife, Grace, has pub­licly de­clared that Mu­gabe will then rule from the grave. Scru­ta­tor is not sure whether Mrs Mu­gabe, who her­self bears pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions, would then or­der the con­ven­ing of cab­i­net meet­ings at the Na­tional He­roes Acre.

With that ex­am­ple in mind, a ques­tion can be asked: Is it bad for Ntate Mo­sisili to want to rule un­til, like Mu­gabe, he also be­comes a liv­ing mu­seum? Is there any­thing wrong with Ntate Mo­sisili cling­ing on and frus­trat­ing Ntate Moleleki’s am­bi­tions re­gard­less of whether or not they have a Blair/brown pact? There is ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong with Ntate Mo­sisili cling­ing on.

I have no prob­lem with a leader stay­ing on in power for as long as they want: As long as they are elected in free, fair, com­pe­tent elec­tions. Ntate Mo­sisili has been in power via free and fair elec­tions. So I have no prob­lems with his longevity. But I dis­ap­prove Mu­gabe’s power longevity which has been achieved by all man­ner of skull­dug­gery.

In bow­ing out or rather af­ter be­ing forced out, Tony Blair left politi­cians the world over a sem­i­nal les­son: “The best way to re­sist the lure of power is to set it down.”

Even though I have no prob­lems with the longevity of any politi­cian who stays in power through the le­git­i­mate man­dates of their elec­torates, it’s also a tru­ism that politi­cians – in the words of Mark Twain – are like di­a­pers and should be changed as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

In­deed his­tory shows that coun­tries led by the same per­son for pro­longed pe­ri­ods tend to stag­nate and re­tard over time. Just again look at Zim­babwe. Coun­tries which al­low fre­quent changes of lead­er­ship tend to progress faster be­cause they al­low fresh ideas and new ap­proaches fre­quently. If one set of ideas does not work, you are as­sured that new ones will soon be tried and tested when a new leader takes over.

This must not be in­ter­preted as Scru­ta­tor tak­ing sides in favour of the but­ter­flies of the DC against the girl­friends. Far from it. I am just imag­in­ing that if in­deed there was ever a Brown/blair pact be­tween Bon­tate Mo­sisili and Moleleki, then there is a way to re­solve it with­out the girl­friends de­vour­ing the but­ter­flies or vice versa. In ev­ery such sit­u­a­tion, the so­lu­tion rests with the one who was given the first go at lead­er­ship. In this case Ntate Mo­sisili. The so­lu­tion is thus to honour the agree­ment.

But again, Scru­ta­tor does not know whether there was ever a Brown/blair pact be­tween Bon­tate Mo­sisili and Moleleki. If it in­deed ex­ists, it must have been made in sign lan­guage.

So Ntate Moleleki may be for­given for as­sum­ing that each time he sees Ntate Mo­sisili stand­ing up in par­lia­ment to take to the podium, it would be for an­nounc­ing that he is step­ping aside to pave way for his long time deputy to take over reins.

But on re­al­iz­ing that his leader is merely stand­ing up to an­swer ques­tions from par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, Ntate Moleleki then has ev­ery rea­son to get an­gry.

Scru­ta­tor’s sim­ple ad­vice to Bon­tate. If ever you reached a Blair/brown pact (even if it was done in sign lan­guage). Please honour it and save the DC from it­self. Ache!!!

The pact en­tailed that Brown stands aside for Blair and al­low Blair to be elected Labour leader and then Prime Min­is­ter in the en­su­ing 1997 elec­tions. Bri­tons were weary of the Tories par­tic­u­larly af­ter Ma­jor’s un­event­ful years. They wanted a fresh face

For­mer Bri­tish Prime min­is­ters Tony Blair and Gor­don Brown.


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