The A-Z of World Politics: #A: Albania

by Charlie_East_West on September 20, 2013

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As we enter into the heartlands of the party conference season, and we hear the same rhetoric from the same people, and the same squabbles from the same people, it is pretty easy to feel somewhat jaded about the political process in this country. To lighten up our political hearts and free our minds from the usual British political suspects, the All That’s Left board members have decided to begin a new venture – The A-Z of World Politics. This new enterprise aims to showcase the political issues of the day on a country-by-country / regional / city alphabetical basis. This is our own Whicker’s World of politics. So, hello world – A is for Albania.

Hang on…hang on…this is not a good start. What the fuck is Tony Blair doing here? I was trying to escape from British politics and head across to Albania for some light rest and relaxation, but, I end up bumping into Tony fucking Blair at the beach bar. Fucking hell…it gets worse…Blair is sitting in an Albanian beach bar having drinks with Alistair bloody Campbell.

Albania…Albania…how did it come to this? Why the fuck are you serving drinks to Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair?

Alastair Campbell had previously been to Albania to promote his “Blair Years” book, and then began to advise the socialist candidate, Edi Rama for the forthcoming general election. The Albanian general election then saw a landslide victory in favour of the Rama-led socialist coalition which brought down the party that had been governing the country for the last 8 years, the right wing Democratic Party.

It has now been announced that Tony Blair is to advise the Rama-led Socialist administration in Albania with his usual hefty price tag – with particular focus on strategic advice on the early formation of the Socialist administration, the creation of a reform agenda, and the Albanian push towards membership of the EU. Blair even entertained Rama at his Mayfair offices recently. So welcome to the non executive directors of consultancy for Albania – Messrs Blair & Campbell – geopolitical guns for hire.

Increasingly, Blair and Campbell are becoming the political version of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – and I fully expect them to end up in Bolivia surrounding themselves in some sort of political shoot out.

Blair and Campbell are the political raindrops that keeping falling on my head. I had hoped to begin my round the world political journey by escaping the hooded claw of British politics, but as soon as I stepped off the plane at my first destination, out from behind the shadows of an Albanian bar lurks a grinning Tony Blair swilling a brandy and smoking a cigar. Fuck that. I need to get out of here as quickly as I had arrived. I am beginning to feel like Patrick McGoohan in Prisoner.

Nothing surprises me any more with these two. I expect that one day, when Earthlings eventually land on Mars, Blair and Campbell will be the first ones to plant a flag in the soil and subsequently advise Martians on their political reform agenda.

Albania – I wave goodbye and wish you well. I am glad that you now have a left of centre government. It is a bloody shame about the company you are now keeping though.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East September 20, 2013 at 10:42 am

My two favourite things about Albania (maybe the only two things I know about Albania to be fair) both of which date back to the insanity of the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha:

1. Their love of Norman Wisdom – as a result of his films being the only western films permitted during the long years of the Hoxha dictatorship;

2. The fact that under Hoxha beards were banned. No fucking hipsters there.

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Charlie_East_West September 20, 2013 at 11:04 am

Many years ago, I bought a t-shirt with the Albanian flag on it. Whilst walking down Wimbledon Village wearing the t-shirt, I was high fived and hugged by a bunch of Albanian tourists!

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George_East September 20, 2013 at 11:41 am

There was a great piece years and years ago in When Saturday Comes (when it was still a proper fanzine) by punk poet Attila The Stockbroker (whatever happened to him) about a WSC’s football fans trip to Albania during the Hoxha years, about how bearded members of their party were given the choice of shaving (with a razor supplied by the border guards) or being refused entry into the country.

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Charlie_East_West September 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Brilliant. The whole of Charlotte Street advertising would have been refused entry.

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Geoff Elliott September 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I can provide a reasonably recent update on the whereabouts of Attila the Stockbroker as he guested during John Otway’s customary cabaret tent show at Glastonbury this year, doing a simultaneous translation into German of, I think (I was a little fuzzy), Blockbuster.

The only thing I can add about Albania is one of the guys who cuts my hair is from Albania.

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Charlie_East_West September 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Geoff – In one paragraph you have sold me the merits of Glastonbury!

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Geoff Elliott September 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I knew I’d succeed in the end. And Cornwall is only down the road!

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Charlie_East_West September 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I am amazed that Cornwall does not have a gigantic music festival.

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Geoff Elliott September 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I went to a 3 day music festival in Cornwall in about 1988 called Skinner’s Bottom, somewhere near Truro. Lots of traveller types. Very, very messy weekend.

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Charlie_East_West September 20, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Ah yes – Skinner’s Bottom. I know it well. My mother-in-law lives a mile away from there.

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George_East September 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Attila The Stockbroker found alive and well in a field in Somerset! I am delighted to hear it. That’s made my day. I was concerned that he may have gone back to being a stockbroker.

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Ray_North September 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm

What the fuck has Attila The Stockbroker and Skinner’s Bottom and Geoff’s festival experiences got to do with Albania?
Nothing. Genius!

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