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1st March 2011,
As I mentioned at the previous post David Cameron did not come out with credit for honesty or integrity after his facile press-appealing remarks on “dodgy dealing” with Libya.
Andrew Sparrow at Politics Live today at The Guardian quotes John Major on ‘Today’. And he reminds us of Cameron’s discredited remarks. Discredited by checking his own opinion just a few days ago, when Hague said they both thought Blair had been right to bring Gaddafi in from the cold.
“In terms of what Tony Blair did, clearly it was right to encourage and then to welcome Libya to give up its weapons of mass destruction,” Mr Cameron said.
Cameron: “In terms of what Tony Blair did and the issue with Libya, clearly it was right to encourage and then to welcome Libya to give up its weapons of mass destruction. In terms of trying to enhance anti-proliferation, that was a good move forward. “
Perhaps Cameron is now playing to another gallery. Nick and Friends, for instance. Where ARE they, by the way. Gone quiet those liberal democrats, haven’t they, just as the Middle East calls for liberal democracy. Odd. Don’t you think? No, me neither.
Sparrow: “Major was noticeably less critical of Tony Blair’s decision to engage with Colonel Gaddafi than David Cameron has been. In the Commons yesterday Cameron made several disparaging remarks about Blair’s “deal in the desert” and at one point he said this:
[Ed Miliband] asked about learning lessons in the wider running of government. Of course, there are always lessons to learn, and perhaps, if apologies are in order, he should think about one for the appalling dodgy dealing with Libya under the last government.
But when Major was asked about Blair’s decision to meet Gaddafi, he refused to condemn the man who kicked him out of Downing Street. In fact, he seemed to accept (in a way that Cameron didn’t) that shaking hands with unsavoury dictators is sometimes a necessary part of the job. According to Politics Home, here’s what Major said:
It’s very easy to be wholly critical and easily critical in retrospect. I’m not aware of precisely the circumstances that required [Blair] to act as he did. I do observe some of the outcomes. One of them is that Gaddafi moved away from weapons of mass destruction. That was a very significant prize.
Certainly, in retrospect as you look back it’s slightly embarrassing in some ways. But I have to say government is a tough business. International politics isn’t a Hampstead debating society. You have to make contemporary judgements and sometimes those contemporary judgements can look naïve later, but it is necessary for governments to make those judgments.
Whether Mr Blair was right or whether Mr Blair was wrong depends upon your individual view and by looking at the papers at the time which I haven’t seen.”
On the one hand, realpolitik –
BBC: Sir John Major defends Blair and, from Lance Price – “Blair should not feel the need to apologise for doing what he can”
On the other hand, wishful thinking from Damian Thompson –
“The fall of Gaddafi could finish off Tony Blair” [Telegraph.co.uk (blog)] “It’s beginning to look as if the Gaddafi connection will bring about what even the Iraq war didn’t quite accomplish: the destruction of Tony Blair’s credibility on the world stage.”
Do you really think so, Mr Thompson? With enemies like YOU Tony Blair has got to be doing something right.
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I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)