Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Tony Blair's donation to the Royal British Legion

Am I the only one who thought when hearing of this:  gosh what a generous thing to do?  I'm beginning to think I was.

It seems that nothing, even this donating all of his advance and all of the worldwide earnings of the book post publication, will satisfy either the left or right-wing media.  In Comment is Free today, Hadley Freeman writes a price which is pure fodder for the 'Bliar Bliar pants on fire' brigade.  Over at the Telegraph,  more of the same from a different angle.

I'm tired of the constant references to an 'illegal' war.  Pay attention folks, Lord Goldsmith the Attorney General at the time, gave the decision to go to war the green light and then (here's the important bit)  Parliament voted for it.  So enough with the accusations of illegality, war crimes etc.  You may disagree with   Lord Goldsmith's advice and question its provenance, which is what Parliament was there to do on your behalf (and indeed the Chilcot Inquiry is examining), but fundamentally according to the rule of law in this country, it was a legal war.

While I may have a healthy sense of scepticism about political motives generally, nevertheless one cannot live a life constantly second-guessing and therefore I am inclined to accept that Mr Blair acted in the best interests of this country and Iraq throughout his time as PM.    That doesn't always mean that he made the right decisions but I do not autmatically infer into those decisions some sort of dark, ulterior motive as the conspiracy theorists would have it, connected to America and its imperialist ambitions. 

The sort of revisionism I see now from so called leading lights of the Labour movement and elsewhere, make me frankly sick.  Fine if they were opposed to the war initially, made that publicly known and importantly, voted against it.  But many of them didn't and what they are doing now smacks of rank opportunism rather than any kind of real leadership.

So back to Mr Blair - he has by all accounts done a very generous thing and it also appears that he put a great deal of thought into the donation, with negotiations going on over several months.  Why seek ulterior motives in that gesture ?  Is it not enough to accept (and God knows he has taken plenty of flak for it too) that he has made plenty of money from other enterprises as his entitled to do,  post public office and now wishes to make no profit from his recollection of events during that period in office?   Let's see what Mr Brown does with the proceeds of his memoirs and for that matter, I wonder what  Mr Tony Benn did with the proceeds of his voluminous diaries or indeed the many others who have profited handsomely from their time in public life.

On a more basic level, surely in order to function as human beings and as a society, we have to believe in the intrinsic goodness of other human beings, and it worries me that the response to Mr Blair's announcement was not one of welcome and thanks (apart from the Royal British Legion) but suspicion and almost derision.

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