Written in the wake of the London bombings, Ali lays the blame squarely at the feet of Tony Blair, a compliant media and Western inability to deconstruct political exceptionalism. Ali laces his text with references to the former troubles in Northern Ireland – and finds disturbing similarities to the “war on terror” – and explains how Blair was re-elected in 2005 “by less than 22 per cent of the overall electorate (the lowest percentage scored by any governing party in recent European history.)” The result is diminished democracy.
Political pamphlets have a noble tradition and Ali makes a fine contribution. Nobody is spared, including the so-called “liberal press” of the Guardian and Independent, and the writer provides a welcome perspective on the widespread amnesia within popular, Western culture, from Iraq to anti-terror laws, the BBC’s occasional bravery to New Labour’s bastardisation of Thatcher’s sordid legacy.