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Holland Park Press

Nostalgia for Tony

25 July 2012 Zie Nederlandse versie
by Arnold Jansen op de Haar

The older I get, the more I’m plagued by nostalgia: for things and people. For example, I feel nostalgic about Tony Blair, who didn’t really become interesting until he invaded Iraq.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not in favour of war, and if I were Tony I would wait a while before returning. But I immensely like politicians who go against the tide, because they look ahead. The better it goes in Iraq, the more – with hindsight – Tony turns out to have been right.

I get the impression that the people who continue to protest against Tony’s role in the Iraq war don’t have Iraq’s interests at heart but simply loathe Tony.

Tony also has another image problem: he’s earning rather a lot of money. Even socialists are keen to make a lot of money after they’ve retired from politics.

I’m not a socialist: in our household we weren’t allowed to vote socialist, and besides, I live in another country. When I was growing up, socialists were mainly people who wanted to earn money without having to do much work. Nowadays this has become common practice among footballers and bank directors.

And Tony has discovered it: Tony received generous fees for advising Kuwait and Kazakhstan. It’s Tony taking on Borat’s role ‘for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’. You too can hire Tony: he will turn up for just 200,000 pounds.

Last week Tony reappeared on Labour’s platform. He had his picture taken with Labour leader Ed Miliband. Tony is going to fill in Labour’s take on the legacy of the Olympic Games for Great Britain. Not exactly a high-profile role, but enough to prompt ‘Tony’s Back’ headlines in the papers.

Cherie was also in the photo but I’ve got less nostalgic feelings for her. In photos, Cherie always looks as if she’s not quite ready. One of her limbs is out of place or she’s still exercising one of her facial muscles. If I had a wife like that I would invade a different country every week.

If Ed Miliband wins the election, I hope he doesn’t invade anywhere. In my opinion you cannot invade a country if you have a lisp.

Another piece of news this week was that during the Second World War the Nazis planned to blow up Churchill with a bar of chocolate. It reminded me of an exploding cigar.

Winston Churchill is another person I sometimes feel that I miss, even though I can’t remember him: I was just two years old when he died.

But I feel nostalgic about him because he was a wonderful eccentric who spotted danger well ahead of everyone else, and who, what is more, didn’t look like a retired tennis player. On the other hand, Ed Miliband looks as if he has crashed out of the Wimbledon semi-finals no fewer than four times.

The current generation of politicians is just too ordinary. I already miss Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister and he hasn’t even been PM yet! If there is a disaster during the Olympic Games, I’m sure Boris will keep calm.

I can feel nostalgic about the strangest things: for example, about the Three Musketeers – not the TV series, but the Dutch chocolate bar filled with caramel. I believe it’s called a Curly Wurly in England. I can still vividly remember the Dutch ad: ‘The Three Musketeers: as long as a sabre, an adventurous treat.’

In the Netherlands there is a Fairtrade chocolate bar called Tony’s Chocolonely, ‘slavery-free chocolate’. They recently abandoned Turkish hazelnuts, ‘because they are picked by children’.

This could be something for Tony Blair: Tony promotes a totally politically correct non-profit chocolate bar. ‘We guarantee that this chocolate bar is not produced in Kazakhstan.’

Suddenly I can see him, old and broken, going from door to door, looking at you with his lonely trustful dog’s eyes. In his hand is a Tony’s Chocolonely accompanied by a Mon Chéri, a cherry liqueur chocolate dressed in a rather garish wrapper.

© Arnold Jansen op de Haar
© Translation Holland Park Press


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