New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Politics
25 November 2009

“Teflon Tony“ and the Chilcot inquiry

Torture revelations remind us of the former premier's evasiveness

By Mehdi Hasan

Ian Cobain has another excellent (and depressing!) piece on the UK’s alleged complicity in torture abroad on the front page of today’s Guardian, in which he mentions an exchange that he had with Tony Blair’s spokesman over Blair’s alleged role in authorising or approving the policy that may have led to British citizens being tortured abroad. Note the manner in which the former PM, through his spokesman, avoids answering the question and instead repeatedly reframes it in his favour.

From Cobain’s piece:

The Guardian reported this year that an official government policy, devised to govern British intelligence officers while interrogating people held overseas, resulted in people being tortured, and that Tony Blair, when prime minister, was aware of the existence of this policy.

The Guardian has repeatedly asked Blair about any role he played in approving the policy, whether he knew that it led to people being tortured, whether he personally authorised interrogations that took place in Guantanamo and Afghanistan as well as Pakistan, and whether he made any effort to change the policy. Blair’s spokesman responded by saying: “It is completely untrue that Mr Blair has ever authorised the use of torture. He is opposed to it in all circumstances. Neither has he ever been complicit in the use of torture.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

When the Guardian pointed out to Blair that it had not suggested that he had authorised the use of torture — as opposed to asking him whether he had authorised a policy that led to people being tortured — and that his spokesman had not answered the questions that were asked, his spokesman replied: “Tony Blair does not condone torture, has never authorised it nor colluded in it. He continues to think our security services have done and continue to do a crucial and very good job.”

Teflon Tony remains the master of evasion. Good luck to Chilcot et al next January or February when the time comes to grill him on Iraq, WMDs and the intelligence. They’ll need all the luck they can get . . .

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change