The Biblical story at Luke 15:11:32 tells us of a wastrel son who wanders off, realises his sins and then returns home broken and penitent.
The news that Tony Blair is preparing to re-enter British politics, tells us a great deal about the current situation in the British Labour party. The ruling party leader, Ed Milliband denied his own brother the chance to gain the Labour leadership, and as a foreign Jew parachuted into place is viewed by many with some suspicion.
Nonetheless, its worth remembering that each time a political party gets into power in Britain it’s not because the public want them, but rather because they are desperate to get the incumbents out. In the most recent elections 70% of the electorate did not vote and of those who did many wrote the names of fictional characters on their ballot papers.
This mounting cynicism over the political process amounts to the public’s recognition, if only subliminally, that the game is rigged and far from being “free and fair” elections are in effect a loaded dice.
Doubts about the integrity of the political process have been growing ever since Labour Party leader John Smith, known as “The Prime Minister who never was”, died suddenly on May 12th 1994.
Like many politicians, Smith was a leading lawyer who went on to become Secretary of State for Trade under Callaghan before becoming the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Both positions would have been ideal stepping-stones had he ended up taking up residence in Number 10, Downing Street.
In both positions John Smith made an impression and was twice named as Parliamentary speaker of the year. Although he was sharp, sarcastic and cutting he always made his point and in the process made many enemies too.
In 1988 he was given an Electrocardiography (ECG) in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where the cardiac specialist told him: “whatever it is, it is not your heart”.
In other words John Smith was in good health and tipped to lead the Labour Party to victory in the next election. However like Robin Cook who suffered an unexpected heart attack while walking in the Scottish highlands, Smith died equally unexpectedly after he too suffered a massive heart on May 12, 1994.
The 55-year-old leader of the opposition suffered his first attack at his central London flat.
He suffered a second heart attack in the ambulance on its way to hospital and was pronounced dead at 0915 BST.
While Smith’s death took his political friends and foes by surprise, it conveniently opened the door for Tony Blair to take over as the Labour Party chief.
History however, has a nasty habit of repeating itself.
A similar chain of events had occurred nearly 30-years earlier when the then Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell died after visiting the Soviet embassy in January 1963. Like John Smith and Robin Cook, Gaitskell was a fit man in his fifties with no prior record of heart problems.
Nonetheless, a sudden and unexpected heart attack killed Gaitskell and conveniently opened the way for Harold Wilson; which pleased the Soviets as his policies played right into their hands, and led to suspicions of foul play as like John Smith, Gaitskell was poised to become prime minister.
The Porton Down disease specialist, Dr. Ladell later secretly reviewed Gaitskell’s death and concluded that he was indeed probably murdered.
The similarities between the deaths of both these potential prime ministers and those who conveniently replaced them raise many questions. For both deaths opened the doors of power to those who seemed ready to serve interests other the national interest.
If Tony Blair returns to the political arena, the word is that although
Ed Milliband is not on par with Gaitskell or John Smith, he should avoid
walking in the remote Scottish hills.
T Stokes London