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24th May 2011
So there one has it.
Pic above from Daylife
Her Majesty and Her Majesty’s advisers thought they’d better do the right thing by Tony Blair, in order not to stop scaring the horses. So they asked the former Prime Minister, his successor Mr Brown and their wives to the state banquet tonight in Buckingham Palace. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Mr Blair was seated next to his Iraq war critic the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
One out of three is about the best that one can do, it seems. But I am in no hurry to forget that a place could not be found for both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on William’s 2000-strong wedding list.
IF THE WEDDING OVERSIGHT WAS A STRATAGEM…
THE DUBLIN OVERSIGHT WAS A DISGRACE
It is true that in Dublin the Queen may not have had any input into the Irish state dinner list. However I cannot imagine she wasn’t asked if there was anyone she thought should be there. Omitting Tony Blair, even a mention of his name, from every day of the four-day Ireland get-together was like forgetting to ask Churchill to a WW2 victory commemoration.
I for one feel it is utterly reprehensible that there was not at least one reference to the man who led and completed the peace settlement in N/Ireland after decades of turmoil; compensating dinner tonight at the Palace or not.
The Guardian thinks it worth 18 words in reference to the presence of Blair and Brown.
The Queen and Obama both referred to the “special relationship” in their words to the guests. Obama even used the “standing shoulder to shoulder” phrase with its Blair/Bush resonances on Iraq.
That will have been one in the eye for the over-rated former UK ambassador to the USA Christopher Meyer, who today, on hearing Cameron’s “essential relationship” game of semantics, said that the ‘special relationship’ phrase had outlived its usefulness.
Perhaps you too, Sir Christopher, as a commenter on public affairs, have reached that same cul-de-sac. I’m sure Mr Cameron can find you another job. He’s not bad at finding jobs for supporters.
The Royal family held out an olive branch to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown last night by inviting them to the State banquet with President Obama after controversially leaving them off the guest list for the royal wedding last month
The former prime ministers, who attended with their wives, joined John Major and his wife Norma on a list of guests who had been issued with “special invitations” by the Royal household.
The build-up to the royal wedding had been partially overshadowed by the row over the decision not to invite the former Labour premiers, when ambassadors representing tyrannical regimes including Libya were originally on the guest list for Westminster Abbey.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said “all former prime ministers who were well enough to attend” had been invited to the State banquet. Baroness Thatcher, who turned down an invitation to the royal wedding, was not at the dinner.
The Palace’s ballroom, where the Prince of Wales hosted a private dinner for 300 guests on the evening of the royal wedding, was the setting for a sumptuous dinner of sole, lamb champagne and fine wines.
Among the 170 guests were the film stars Tom Hanks, who sat next to Ffion Hague, the wife of the Foreign Secretary, Kevin Spacey, who was beside the Countess of Wessex, and the director Tim Burton.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, found himself sitting between Helena Bonham Carter, the actress and wife of Mr Burton, and Princess Michael of Kent.
In a room dominated by a pipe organ at one end, with a throne at the other, which is used for investiture ceremonies, the diners sat around tables arranged in a giant U-shape, with six crystal glasses per person and gold-plated cutlery.
Mr Obama sat between the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall on the top table, with Mrs Obama between the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. David Cameron sat at one corner, next to Hillary Clinton.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who had met the Obamas earlier in the day, did not attend the banquet, as the Queen’s grandchildren were not on the guest list.
Members of the Cabinet at the white tie event included Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, George Osborne and Ken Clarke, together with their wives. The Labour leader Ed Miliband and his wife Justine Thornton, and the Speaker, John Bercow, and his wife Sally were also present.
Richard Branson, the Barclays boss Bob Diamond and Sir Martin Sorrell were among the City figures at the table, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
They were serenaded by an eclectic mixture of music played by the Band of the Scots Guards, including Swing o’the Kilt, South Pacific, Bach’s Air on a G String and a selection from My Fair Lady.
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
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)