17th August 2010
£4.6M+ – THE BIGGEST DONATION THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION HAS EVER RECEIVED IN ITS 89 YEAR HISTORY
Folowing this fantastic news two journalistic Johns have been at it today on the airwaves. On the pro-side John Rentoul, and on the anti-side John Kampfner.
They have been trying to work out quite what to make of Tony Blair’s HUGE donation to the Royal Legion.
Correction: ONE of the Johns has been trying to work out an angle on it.
For the “extreme outriders” – Kampfner’s new description for we few, we happy few – (such as Rentoul, Kamm, Aaronovitch and ME, DON’T FORGET ME! Oh – and Julie. We both fancy being extremists too) – there is nothing to work out.
- Tony Blair admires and appreciates hugely the work the armed forces do for this country.
- He dealt with the troops on several occasions during his time as PM.
- He wants to help those injured by the conflicts over which he was chief decision-maker.
- So now that he can, he does.
- Nothing to do with ‘guilt’ or ‘conscience’ or ‘seeking forgiveness’. Not a ‘pr stunt’. Not ‘blood money’. Not an attempt to persuade people of his ‘innocence’.
Already we’ve seen and heard those with an axe to grind yelping in outrage.
“Let’s face it, if Tony Blair fed a crowd 5000 with 2 loaves and 5 fishes the DM would accuse him trying to ruin the baking and fishing industries.
But we all know his real crime, keeping the Tories out of office for 13 years, and helping make sure they couldn’t even win a majority after that!
Well Done Tony!”
Tony Blair talks about his forthcoming memoir ‘A Journey’
“I set out to write a book which would give the reader an insight into the human as well as the political dimensions of life as a Prime Minister… I hope it gives a greater understanding of life as a leader and as a politician.”
JOHN BURTON, FORMER AGENT FOR TONY BLAIR
John Burton, his former Sedgefield constituency agent hit out at critics of the former prime minister’s decision.
“Obviously, he wants to do something for the soldiers,” he said. “Every single death hurts someone like him.”
Mr Burton described Mr Blair as “very generous with his time and money” and recalled how he had offered to help the Trimdon Labour Club before its closure was announced.
“When he found out that the club was in trouble, he called us to find out how he could help,” he said.
LANCE PRICE, FORMER ADVISER
Lance Price, an adviser to Tony Blair from 1998 to 2001, told Channel 4 News that criticism of Mr Blair’s decision was unfair. He said the former prime minister was right to donate the money to charity, although he admitted being surprised at the identity of the charity.
“I’m only surprised in the sense that it would invite criticism,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me in the sense that while he was prime minister he was immensely appreciative of the armed forces and the sacrifices they made.”
JOHN KAMPFNER, AUTHOR “BLAIR’S WARS” (I started to read this book, but never finished it. Can’t imagine why)
The author John Kampfner told Channel 4 News that the decision could help boost sales of the book.
“Anecdotally there are people who have said ‘I am interested in the book but I wouldn’t want to give this guy the money,'” he said.
“Now they know they’re not giving the guy the money, but giving it to a very worthy cause.”
Anecdotally speaking, Mr K., a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do. OK, guys?
Go to C4 to read the rest. Personally I’m not vaguely interested in their thoughts. The mainstream press, who largely agree with them, give them an already disproportionate amount of space.
Just for a bit of fun – (being at C4 reminded me of someone who used to say this with a swingometer) – this video is the closest I could get to “outriders” and is something that might keep all sides happy in the good guy/bad guy debate –
Johnny Cash- (Ghost Riders) In the Sky
- Tony Blair Office
- “Blair’s blood money?” repeats Jon Craig at Sky, without prejudice, sort of. With a question mark. No ulterior motive. Sort of.
- BBC: Tony Blair gives book cash to charity
- Iain Martin, WSJ – What motivated Blair?
Director-general of the Royal British Legion Chris Simpkins said it was “delighted to accept this very generous donation”.
“The culture of the centre will very much be about what users of the service can do rather than what they can’t, but some of the servicemen and women are likely to need the Legion’s support for the rest of their lives,” he said.
“Mr Blair’s generosity is much appreciated and will help us to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of hundreds of injured personnel.”
Most injured personnel who are able to return to active duty are expected to go through the £12 million Battle Back Centre as part of their recovery.
It will provide accommodation and a state-of-the-art gym and training facility.”
1. A very incisive article here by John Rentoul on “collaborators” a la Prescott, and “phoney wars”. Sub-titled –
“If the voters are to be persuaded by Labour’s case, the best way to do that is to help the Government achieve the social-democratic aims that it pretends to espouse”
2. It’s when you read opinions such as this that you can truly see what Tony Blair is up against. The father of a deceased soldier says, although he is grateul for Blair’s gesture,says:
“When Tony Blair met my wife, Maureen, he asked what he could do and she said ‘you could help the families’ but that seems to have fallen on deaf ears.”
The Royal British Legion, as well as commemorating the sacrifice of such as your son DOES help the families, Mr Bacon. It is THE military charity above all others which does so. The very fact that Mr Blair “asked what he could do” might have been worth more than a throw-away line. Especially since it seems that Mr Blair DID listen.
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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!!!”
Tags: a journey, book, charity, donates proceeds of book, extreme outrider, Ghost Riders, Iain Martin, John Burton, John Kampfner, John Rentoul, Johnny Cahs, Lance Price, memoir, politics, prime minister, Royal British Legion, Tony Blair, tony blair video, video, WSJ