Comment at end
2nd January, 2010
Kids in school playgrounds in Britain frequently yell this, to tease others –
“LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE”
Some of the time it’s even true.
THE ‘BACK TO BASICS’ PARTY
With an election in the heir … air, Tony Blair Mk 2, known to his friends as David Cameron, is about to pronounce on “change”. Yes, heard it before? Me too. Thus, coincidentally of course, Sir John Major articulated this morning on all sorts of trifles, including “trust” or lack of, regarding politicians.
Always a dodgy area this, if one has not been completely as they say, whiter than white oneself, is it not, Sir John? Back to basics time, by any chance?
So it was with a weary shake of the head that I listened to the great Pantless Wonder opining, in insinuation mode rather than by direct accusation, on the integrity of his successor, Mr Blair, this morning on Radio 4’s ‘Today’. (Link here to listen. Major speaks at 8:10am.)
PROVEN, CONVICTED AND JAILED CRIMINALS? NOT IN BLAIR’S PARTY
John Major’s sleaze-ridden (sexual and financial) government was one of the main reasons Tony Blair’s government was swept to power in 1997. Two senior members of the Conservative party were convicted and imprisoned – Jeffrey Archer (serious report here) and Jonathan Aitken. Major himself was often depicted in the press with his underwear over his trousers – PANTS to Americans. (‘Pants’ here in Britain means underpants.)
Major, for those with short memories, was the Conservative Prime Minister who succeeded Margaret Thatcher. While a ‘humble’ backbencher he was frequently pants down in the company of fellow Tory MP Edwina Currie. Both of them then married, both of them, evidently, completely trustworthy!
Normally I would not automatically transfer marital (in)fidelity to overall (un)trustworthiness of anyone, not even politicians. We are all human and subject to life’s temptations. But today’s pomposity from Major was too much for even my liberal sensibilities. If Major thinks it is fine to appeal to the baser “get Blair” instincts of the typical Daily Mail reader, simply because Blair walloped him and them so hard in the polls, no holds are barred.
SCORN ON SCORN
Describing her former lover, John Major as someone with “quite a Machiavellian streak about him”, the colourful Ms Edwina Currie left us in little doubt in her autobiography that here was a man NOT to be trusted.
The bile of a woman scorned? Maybe.
Personally I cannot scorn with sufficient bile John Major’s pompous rantings.
We don’t much expect much in the way of fair treatment for Mr Blair from the British press – of course we don’t. They have their own agendas, disparate and varied. Today’s Guardian’s take on this story is typical of the reasons so many commenters assume that Blair is the liar with the pants on fire. See its link back to their earlier dishonest Britton report (NO, Blair did not admit ‘I would have invaded Iraq anyway'”)! Disgraceful dissembling from the Guardian.
NO, SIR JOHN… TONY BLAIR DID NOT SAY HE WOULD HAVE REMOVED SADDAM BECAUSE HE WAS A “BAD MAN”, and YOU KNOW IT
But from a once highly placed politician, even one who memorably and hysterically rhymed “Salome” with “home” in the House of Commons, we should expect a little, if belated, honesty.
Not the sharpest card in the pack, Mr Major should at least by now have realised that Tony Blair did NOT say that HE would have taken this country into Iraq on the basis of Saddam being a “bad man”. What he DID say recently was that he would have supported Saddam’s removal.
Going into Iraq on the grounds of “regime change” was never a starter, never legal for Britain to pursue, and never would have been proposed by Tony Blair. His “support” meant no more than that. Support. He may well have been pushed to resign trying and failing to push such a policy through parliament, but he didn’t do either – resign at the time or push for that policy. He would still, clearly, have supported Bush’s efforts, even if Britain had not assisted those efforts. THAT’S ALL he said in the recent much abused and badly interpreted Fern Britton interview.
It’s hard at times to actually decipher meaning from context if we’re honest, harder still it we’re dishonest. But let me see if I can help. It is my fervent if vain ambition to get some truth and honesty out of the mouths of the re-writers of political history, today’s oppositioners.
REGIME CHANGE, AS IN AMERICAN PARLANCE
Major referred to the Iraq Liberation Act, enabled under Bill Clinton in 1998. He seemed to imply that this in itself PROVED something. All it proved was that even American Democrats saw the removal of dangerous administrations as not to be dismissed if peace worldwide was to be pursued effectively.
In December 2002, Frank Gaffney commented on the then widely suspected Bush possibility of re-defining ‘regime change’ thus: Saddam needs to alter his regime, rather than that his regime be removed. Gaffney suggests that Bush stiffen his sinews against this re-definition. In fact, if this re-definition were being considered by America, it shows that the Americans, perhaps prompted by Britain and others, WAS in fact looking to avoid all-out war, not colluding to pursue it against all the evidence.
The concern of British people right now as some conclude that the Iraq Trial … Inquiry is ready to lock up Blair and throw away the key, is –
RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Tony Blair, perhaps solely, or say they tell us, could, even should be held (regardless of parliamentary suppport), criminally accountable for the Iraq war decision at the International Criminal Court, while the main perpetrators, George W Bush and his administration WILL clearly never be! (See Rome Statute.) In other words Britain alone is responsible for the decisions on Iraq, because WE supported the USA as our historical alliance has invariably done.
How fair. How balanced. How utterly crazy that any British person can be so naive or politically dull.
If the Blair hangers ‘n’ floggers had any sense, gumption, loyalty or proportionality they would be standing up in support of OUR former Prime Minister and not rushing to condemn him for a political decision while twisting his words and thus his motives to suit themselves. Especially such as the Tory party who supported the invasion, and would, I am absolutely convinced, have done the same as Blair, had they been in power at the time.
But they are more than happy to sacrifice Blair on the altar of winning a general election in a few months time.
The Conservative party is proving itself to be just as untrustworthy now as it ever was in the 1990s.
America, the lead nation in removing Saddam and/or his regime is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. Britain is. Thus our former prime minister could, on paper, be charged, if the cause was and was proved to be solely “regime change” in the Iraq aspect of the “war on terror” (a term Blair himself never used, by the way.)
However, Mr Bush’s administration could still be charged by the UN if the reason for the invasion WAS “regime change”. Under a UN charge, the USA and its then leadership could in theory, be held accountable. That is, if it weren’t for the Americans’ opt-out vote, which of course, Obama would use. Bush’s successor would NOT allow his predecessor to be dragged through any international court where those whose ideas of fair play, justice, human rights do not coincide with ours in the west. And where other agendas than accountability prevail.
[RELATED – Iraq, legality of invasion]
IT WAS NOT ABOUT REGIME CHANGE
The fact that the Iraq invasion was NOT on the grounds of regime change does not seem to enter the equation. Such is the determination to shatter Tony Blair’s reputation that some choose to overlook this.
IT WAS WMDs & THE BREAKING OF UN RESOLUTIONS, SWEETHEARTS
I suggest that Mr Major and his ilk with their constant attacks on the integrity and motivation of Mr Blair are playing with fire. Their motivations are purely political domestics – the election in a few months time. But the repercussions of such a trashing of Blair, Bush and the western motives could be drastic for the west’s freedom and future.
[RELATED – ITN report: Major criticises Blair over Iraq. Mention here of the WMDs question. THAT was not the main issue in Major’s “thoughts” as far as I was concerned. Clearly Mr Blair was NOT alone in accepting the WMD intelligence. This shifting of the goalposts to attack on misinterpreted words of Blair on ‘regime change’ MUST be seen for what they are – blatant LIES.]
PLAYING WITH UN FIRE
For the fire they are attempting to kindle is not just under Blair’s feet but under the whole United Nations apparatus. Personally I would be perfectly delighted to see a new body replace the UN, which is often vetoed by China and Russia, and has presently a growing Middle Eastern bloc attempting to exempt itself, via its “religious” ideology, from being criticised. Its human rights record and actions too, are not to be questioned, you should note.
Get Blair into a court – any court – over “lying”, “war crimes” or anything else associated with Iraq, and the whole of the United Nations’ apparatus will be seen for what it is – weak, unbalanced and ineffective. It will fall. It’s that simple.
Is it worth this, just to see Blair chained, cuffed and in the dock?
The United Nations, the International Criminal Court and no judicial body in the west would EVER equate Tony Blair with the murderous man pictured above.
Take note, John Major. THAT is precisely where acceptance of your politically inspired suggestions on Blair’s integrity could lead in this retributive, wrong-headed climate.
There but for fortune.
- A pithy offering – Major on Blair – from John Rentoul
- BBC report with 3 minute clip of Major’s pronouncements. “I don’t know what I don’t know”, he says echoing a famous American in Bush’s administration. True. But it SIMPLY WON’T DO, Sir John, to opine as though you do.