increasingly clear, however, to a wide swath of people includingdisaffected members of his own party and eventually cabinet, thatBlair was not the answer to Thatcher but was in many ways continuingher neo-liberal policies. Not only did he not roll back Thatcher’stravesties but he sought to complete various ambitions of theThatcher government in a way that neither the Iron Lady nor hersuccessor John Major could ever have hoped for. Blair’s second termin office consummated many of these goals, further shambolizing aThatcherized National Health Care system and initiating universityprivatisation with student fees.Instead of standing-up for the needs of his voters, Blair took hisplace as a leader of global neo-liberalism, sufficiently so that he easilytransferred his allegiance from a dilettantish Bill Clinton to a danger-ously cowboyish George Bush. By the same token, Blair’s moral andchristian crusade was not only unperturbed by the Bush decision toinvade Iraq, but he evidently did his best to comply with the Washingtonagenda at the expense of many thousands of lives. A report in theprestigious British medical journal,
, estimates that as manyas 100,000 Iraqi lives were lost in the first 18 months of the war, anestimate made before the 2004 expulsion of Falluja’s 300,000 residentsand consequent levelling of the city (Al-Rubeyi, B. 2004). The atrociousLondon bombings of July 2005 gave Blair no cause to consider that the war in Iraq had escalated rather than resolved global terror, but insteadprovided the pretext for a crackdown on free speech at home. At best,Blair’shasbeenamoralismofconvenience,abletojustifyeverytwistandturn of the neo-liberal advance as well as the state terror perpetrated onprisoners, from Basra to Abu Ghraib, Bell Marsh to Guanta´namo.The idea of neo-liberalism sprouting from the spores of a nominallysocialist party was at first stunning but is now an old story. Socialdemocrats all over Europe, and from New Zealand to Brazil, have in various ways made pacts with the neo-liberal devil. And one day soon,the Chinese Communist Party will surely announce that capitalism isactually the highest stage of communism.
Could the discipline of geography be on a similar trajectory? Oncequite staid, geography has become one of the most vibrant discip-lines–‘‘the sexiest’’, according to marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton(1997). It presents a perfect case of uneven academic development:in the 1970s, radicals, anti-war activists, marxists, feminists, huma-nists, socialists, environmentalists and many others sprouted in thefertile soil of a long-fallow discipline, often displacing a buddingpositivism. There was no effective resistance. Geography had longcut itself off from social theory, and so, when social theory blossomed,
2005 Editorial Board of