Robert Harris on Tony Blair’s protected life: “you can’t live like that”

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    8th August 2010

    ROBERT HARRIS. THE BLAIR ASSASSIN BY PROXY?

    Harris“…in the middle of World War II, Winston Churchill would walk each morning from Downing Street to the Houses of Parliament with a single plainclothes policeman behind him, chatting to his constituents.  And that was during the biggest conflict in history.” By contrast, he says, he understands that the Blairs are still protected by 24 armed guards on rotation. ”I mean, you can’t live like that.”

    So what’s the alternative Mr Harris? Die without it?

    I ask in all curiosity and sincerity WHY Mr Harris utters these words.

    Harris is the writer of ‘The Ghost’ from which Roman Polanski’s movie, The Ghost(Writer) was taken almost completely and is taking a cinema near you by storm, or not. “Not” being what I found here in Britain. Harris was also close to, and completely trusted by Tony Blair.

    Not for nothing is Tony Blair the most protected politician in British history. As I have said here on many occasions the reason is not that he took the country into an “unpopular” and/or “illegal” war. The reason is that the press and the literati keep TELLING us that it was both unpopular and illegal.

    In fact neither was the case at the time the decision was made. The unpopularity came, inevitably, with the body bags and as insurgents, in the main, killed more people in Iraq. The “illegality” has NOT been tested or proven in court and never will be tested or proven.  There is no case to answer. The press and chattering classes “know” differently. And through them so also do many who should know better.

    HARRIS, THE ERSTWHILE AND ONCE-TRUSTED ASSOCIATE

    In Alastair Campbell’s book, Campbell says that he was not happy about Harris following them around during the 1997 general election in order to “record history”.  Harris was and still is, a close friend of Peter Mandelson. Blair found himself pushed by Mandelson for Harris to take on this “recording history” task.

    From The Alastair Campbell Diaries, Vol 1, Prelude to Power, 1994-1997, Page 631:

    “Peter M was trying to persuade me to have Robert Harris on the road with us during the election.  It fell into the ‘no benefit to the campaign category’ and I wasn’t keen. Peter said we had to think about how we would be seen at the end of it too and Robert would do a good job. I said I could see what was in it for Robert, but I could not see what was in it for us. “

    “… I could see what was in it for Robert”?

    So again, Mr Harris, WHY make this statement  – “you can’t live like that”?

    What is in it for you? Are you suggesting a remedy to this unfortunate way to have to live? If so, what is it?

    DO YOU WANT TONY BLAIR DEAD?

    Without putting too fine a point on it, is the generous, ‘principled’ and historically aware Mr Harris actually hoping for the kind of denouement for Tony Blair that was Adam Lang’s (alias Blair) in his book and Polanski’s film?

    Now THAT would boost his book and the film’s sales no end.

    The headlines? – “Blair Assassinated For Iraq Disaster. Robert Harris Was Right”

    Harris’s book sales would go through the roof! Polanski’s movie would be “his greatest ever”. From Celebrity News (my bolding) –

    ‘Though it didn’t make much of a splash with mainstream audiences in theaters, director Roman Polanski’s thriller “The Ghost Writer” hits DVD and Blu-ray this week with hopes of finding its target demographic.’

    Of course Mr Harris would take great umbrage at this sort of suggestion of suggestion.  With all that those of us who are not instinctively or intellectually hangers ‘n’ floggers have had to put up with regarding Tony Blair over the years, Harris’s discomfiture is the least of my concerns.

    But as yet another film is released on the never-ending saga of the most successful prime minister that Labour has EVER had, Robert Harris is promoting his book and Polanski’s film. Notice how he emphasises the “accuracy” of his book –

    ‘I have followed the Chilcot inquiry,” he says. ”And, you know, the ways in which The Ghost seem accurate are obvious in the headlines about torture, illegal war and the protesters whose children have been killed and so on.

    ”But what struck me when I saw Blair’s appearance before Chilcot was the sense of isolation that Polanski captures so well in the film, that here is someone who has been screened from the world by armed bodyguards, taken around on private jets, who lives only in that bubble. And I thought the Tony Blair I saw then was unrecognisable from that ordinary guy I met back in 1992. Something strange seemed to have happened to him. And that’s what I think is prescient in The Ghost.”

    To anyone with normal balanced perception of COURSE there are going to be those who protest. There are those too whose main preoccupation is whether or not torture was used on suspected terrorists. This kind of supposition is grist to their “war crimes” mill. And of COURSE Tony Blair was “isolated” at the Iraq Inquiry, apart from me and several hundred others, who may have been more empathic towards him than the papers dared reveal.

    He was not the ordinary guy you met in 1992, of COURSE, Mr Harris, because of his courageous decisions and because of the relentless vilification and traducement by the press and so-called ‘intellectuals’ on the anti-Iraq war, anti-any war, anti-Blair factions in this country.

    Then there’s this gem from Harris –

    “BLAIR ‘WAS’ A LAWYER AND AN ACTOR… A DEADLY COMBINATION”

    A “deadly combination”!? What utter rot. What indescribably nonsensical hogwash. (Btw, Mr Blair is NOT in the past tense, Mr Harris.)

    Harris does not, for the record, think Tony Blair is a war criminal – at least, he bridles when a German journalist compares him to Hitler. ”I’ll tell you what I think about him. I think that he was a lawyer and an actor and that is a deadly combination.”’

    Blair always knew, Harris says, that he had an orator’s power. He loved performing. ”I remember him saying to me of a John Major speech, ‘My God, what I would have done with that material.’

    To counter Harris and the press’s irrefutable case against Tony Blair, and to paraphrase Harris in the Sydney Morning Herald – and direct it back at his and his disgraceful cronies’ behaviour –

    Of course ”they” did do that … there will always be a day of reckoning.

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    A recent comment from an Albanian, Mr Leonard Dedej from Tirana – “It takes big leaders to make the hardest turns in peoples life…mr Blair is a big leader and a great man for millions of people in Balkans!!!for stopping a savage war!about Iraq I believe that the press wherever it is has not the right to judge on this issue because it simply is to small to judge!!history will judge mr Blair!as long as it is an ongoing war no one can blame mr Blair,after all he started something for a big reason..the press its often wrong because it fights for audience!!!”




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    2 Responses to “Robert Harris on Tony Blair’s protected life: “you can’t live like that””

    1. Peter Reynolds Says:

      John,

      I admire your interminable defence of Tone but I find myself asking “why?”. What is it that drives you on, not just defending the obvious attacks but even seeking out the more esoteric such as Robert Harris writing ”I mean, you can’t live like that.”

      I mean some might call that sympathy and understanding rather than an attack.

      So please enlighten me? I mean there are many others in this world far less able to defend themselves than good ol’ Tone who could do with an advocate like you.

      Or maybe you’re on a big fat fee? I don’t know.

      Or maybe it’s unrequited love? I don’t know.

      Or maybe it’s some sort of obsession? I don’t know.

      I mean, you can’t live like that.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        You know something, Pete, you might be right, in some ways. Though somehow I don’t think Harris is sympathetic or understanding about Blair or his wife and family. The odd thing is that people always see ulterior motives in the great and good, but none in lesser beings. I conclude that only a lesser being would write about a former colleague and even friend as though whatever happens to them (in their fantasy world), assassination or being married to a “CIA agent”, is no more than they deserve and no big deal really.

        So for me, Harris is a lesser being, out to make money on the name of a good man.

        No fee, I’m afraid. Big or little. But I do concede that at times I even think I over-obsess. So you may be right. I should stop this lark right now, shouldn’t I? He can look after himself. It’s just so sad that he can’t walk his own land without throngs of bodyguards.

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