An Englishman in New York


Wat Tyler, exiled Englishman in New York, writes an open letter to Tony Blair

Dear Tony,

As an ex-pat Briton living in the US, allow me to say thank you. Thank you for making me the most popular man in my office. After each trip you make here to the US, people cannot stop telling me how great you are, what a wonderful leader you are and how great England is. Everyone else has deserted us, they say, but we can always rely on England. Each time you come to the US and bend over for GW, my popularity shoots off the chart.

May I also thank you for making it impossible for me to now leave the US. I used to tell people here that if they ever go to Europe, they should say they are Canadian. They would get a much better welcome than if they said they were American. And now, thanks to you, I'll be doing the same. Your continuous obsequious fawning of George Bush the Second has taken the special relationship between the US and UK and turned it into little more than a subservient one man and his dog relationship. America is becoming an international pariah and you are dragging Britain along for the ride.

Where did it all go wrong Tone? There were signs the world was changing, that it was finally showing that it was capable of standing up to the US. Your government's stance on the ICC and Kyoto actually made me think you had a mind of your own, until now. What happened?

Is it some kind of fantasy to see England relive its golden age as a great colonizer? A new empire for a new century? It's been 70 years since Briton gave up control of Iraq, are you looking once again to rule over those dark skinned inferior people, to tell them how they can live and what laws they must follow and who their leader must be?

Or are you living in fear of becoming the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century, not wanting to be seen as appeasing Saddam as Chamberlain did Hitler? In 1938, Hitler was the leader of one of the largest industrial countries in Europe, had spent the previous half-decade re-arming a huge German Army, Air Force and Navy and was hell bent on creating a Europe wide Greater Germany. In 2002, Saddam is the leader of a country that for ten years has been bombed almost daily by British and American planes, has been under the severest sanctions ever imposed on any country and, according to the recent IISS report, has a smaller arsenal of WMD than it did in 1991. Where's the comparison Tony? Where is the threat? If you want to make the world a better place, are there not more urgent matters to be dealt with first? Saddam may or may not be trying to get nuclear weapons. Meanwhile there is another military dictator, Musharraf in Pakistan, who already has nuclear weapons. How is that different? Are you appeasing him by doing nothing?

If that isn't it, then maybe it's the economy stupid. We all know why George wants a war; he needs something to justify all the extra billions of taxpayers' money that he has given to his buddies at Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Is that your reason too? Are George and his cohorts in the US military-industrial complex giving you a kickback? Thousands of shares waiting for you once the troops start to roll?

What ever the reason, as you plan with George for the big push, here are 3 pieces of advice for me to leave you with. Firstly, instead of having a referendum on the Euro, have one to replace the pound with the US dollar. With the Pro American rhetoric you can count on from the Murdoch-owned tabloids, you will win that one easy, and then all your kick backs from the US military firms won't have to be exchanged into pounds and you can save big on the 2% commissions. Secondly, once your entire cabinet resigns when you invade Iraq, replace them all with the Conservative Shadow cabinet. You have much more in common with them than you do with your Labour Colleagues.

And finally, next time you go to see George W, take a big bag of pretzels with you, and  hopefully he'll be tempted by a pretzel and we can all hope it will do the job right this time.

Wat Tyler is a freelance writer living in New York City.