This article was originally written the same night as the Jade Goody one in February 2009. And I was getting more and more angry as I wrote it. It is a critique on Tony Blair in the wake of the news that he was receiving an award for his global leadership. Seriously. …
I am not a Tony Blair fan, and nor will I ever be. I cannot stand the man. I would like to state that fact quite clearly now because if you sit on the other side of the fence you may not agree with the next 692 words you read.
Although I would certainly vote Conservative were an election held now, I have no allegiances. I am far more interested in seeing the best party in charge than in steadfastly pinning a blue or red ribbon to my shirt.
But red, blue, green or otherwise, Mr Blair has searched for years for a legacy and it appears he may have found it – albeit a rather controversial one. He has just won a $1m prize for, wait for it, his global leadership. Yes, you heard me right, his global leadership.
I’ll allow you a minute to either laugh or cry.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, the man who led us into Iraq and Afghanistan and in doing so caused untold damage to the region, is now being paraded as some kind of Mandela-esque figure in Israel; the proud owner of a Dan David prize, to be officially awarded on 17th May.
What you ask, with fair reason, has he done to deserve such an accolade? Well, aside from sending 179 of our troops to death in Iraq he has also aided, as George Bush’s lapdog, the deaths of over 90,000 Iraqi civilians. This is without taking into account the death tolls in Afghanistan, often considered the more dangerous of the two countries by leading commentators.
Yet the Dan David prize is more selective in its praise; choosing to gloss over such atrocities and instead focus on Blair’s actions in Kosovo and Northern Ireland.
Of course, Northern Ireland. Grudgingly I will admit that acts of terrorism from Republican and Loyalist factions are not the same threat they were in 1997 when Blair first entered office. At the same time however, we mustn’t forget the cost of Irish peace, as hundreds of convicted terrorists were released to appease the IRA. The last time I checked, rule number one of dealing with terrorists was not to negotiate. But who am I to say? I’m not the one with a Dan David prize heading my way.
So what of Kosovo? Well there is still debate as to the legality of the NATO bombings (that rings a bell) not to mention controversial propaganda surrounding the attacks. But at least we can rest assured in the fact that we bombed bridges and stopped shipping for months as a result.
So Mr Blair has his legacy, not as a peace activist, but as a global leader. A global leader who bowed to America’s whims throughout his Premiership. A global leader who led us into a questionably illegal war in Kosovo. A global leader who brought an element of peace to Northern Ireland, though not without making huge concessions. A global leader who ensured we are now fighting a war in Afghanistan that looks impossible to win.
Well at least he was a global leader who righteously led us into war in Iraq to destroy the weapons of mass destruction. Wrong I’m afraid, that was a sexed-up dossier (fancy words for lie) and none were found if memory recalls. Well he brought about democracy didn’t he? That I’m afraid depends on how well you think that ‘democracy’ is working. He removed Saddam Hussein at great cost and the loss of thousands of lives. In doing so he jeapodised our own democracy by entering the war illegally and against the wishes of MPs (who didn’t get to vote on it), the general public (who didn’t get to vote on it) and both the UN and NATO.
It is not for me to suggest we went to war for the oil, and that is another argument altogether, so I won’t, instead I’ll just point out how convenient it was to have so much oil in a country that needed controlling post-war.
I haven’t had a chance to criticise his domestic policies. But please, all hail our great global leader. I have but one request; perhaps give him half the prize in recognition to the half finished jobs he always insisted on starting.