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WHO'S THE DADDY? BUSH IS THE DADDY

20-09-2006

Last week Labour colleagues suggested that Gordon Brown might be unfit to become Prime Minister because he's "psychologically flawed." But what about the man he hopes to succeed? The Stirrer's psychologist Dr Mike Drayton profiles Tony Blair and sheds interesting light on his relationship with the US President.

Tony Blair was determined, ruthless and ideologically driven enough to turn the Labour Party into New Labour.

It was Blair's vision and toughness, more than any other politician that transformed Labour into the party we see today - one dominated by style over substance.

How can this be the same man who behaves like an uncritical child in the presence of George Bush?

Partly as a result of this special relationship, Blair took us into an illegal war that he justified with made up evidence. I don't think he is a liar but I do think that he denies or distorts aspects of reality that he doesn't like.

So, who is Tony Blair? Who is the man behind the cheesy smile?

Let's start by having a look at his family and childhood.

His father Leo Blair was illegitimate - the result of a liaison between a music hall entertainer and the promiscuous daughter of a wealthy Sussex land-owning family.

Leo was rejected by his parents and adopted by a Clydeside shipyard worker to be brought up in near poverty in a Glasgow tenement. As a young man he was an active communist and the secretary of the Glasgow Young Communist League.

During WW2 though, things changed for young Leo.

In the army he rose from being a private to a major and in the post-war North-East he became a leading Tory, ending up as a councillor and chairman of the Durham Conservative Association.

Hazel, Tony's mother came out of the harsh Protestant conservative farming community of the Ulster borders.

Blair's biographers describe her as a dutiful down-to-earth and practical person. This the was the home in which Blair jnr grew up, until at the age of 10 disaster struck. Leo suffered a massive stroke which left him in a wheelchair without speech. The young Anthony Blair became the head of the family.

In many ways Leo was a remarkable man. He had transformed himself from an orphan living in near poverty to a major in the British army. He transformed himself from a young communist to a high Tory. Imagine how it must have felt to the young Tony, to see this once powerful man, staring balefully at him from his wheelchair, as helpless as a baby.

Looking at this life story, there are some interesting parallels with Blair today.

Through effort of will, for example,he has transformed his party to a conservative party, echoing his father's personal journey. But does it, I wonder, go even deeper than that?

There is a phenomenon in psychotherapy called transference.

This happens when a person unconsciously transfers feelings from a past important relationship on to a current relationship. It is commonly seen when a person feels that their boss behaves to them like their father did, and consequently feels, and sometimes acts, like a child.

When Tony Blair sees George Bush I wonder if his unconscious mind actually sees the disabled Leo and Tony experiences a compulsive feeling of wanting to please him?

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