In a recent feature that I wrote for the New Statesman, on Tony Blair and the Chilcot inquiry, I quoted Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), describing how our former PM “has lost all political credibility”: “He sticks to the American right and media.”
So imagine my (lack of) surprise to see ol’ Tone running to his neocon friends at Fox News (Fox News!) to cry and complain about how horrid the beastly British people have been to him over Iraq:
Asked on US television why the UK had held a succession of such probes into the invasion, Mr Blair said: “I think it’s partly because we have this curious habit — I don’t think this is confined to Britain actually — where people find it hard to come to the point where they say: we disagree; you’re a reasonable person, I’m a reasonable person, but we disagree.
“There’s always got to be a scandal as to why you hold your view. There’s got to be some conspiracy behind it, some great deceit that’s gone on, and people just find it hard to understand that it’s possible for people to have different points of view and hold them . . . for genuine reasons. There’s a continual desire to sort of uncover some great conspiracy when actually there’s a decision at the heart of it, but there it is,” he told the Huckabee show on Fox News.
First, “deceit” has gone on. It doesn’t matter if Alastair Campbell sheds tears on Marr, or Blair bleats on Huckabee; the evidence is overwhelming.
Second, conspiracy theories feed on secrecy — Blair presided over one of the most secretive administrations in recent times. Even now, the Chilcot inquiry is prevented from making public key documents related to the build-up to war in 2002 and 2003.
Third, it’s a bit rich for Blair to go on Fox News and complain about conspiracy theories when that network is the home of conspiracy theories, especially about President Obama — from the Birther nonsense, to the Islamophobic fear-mongering about him being a Muslim, to the health-care “death panels“.
David Hughes’s take on Blair and his latest ridiculous comments is spot-on:
What a terrible disappointment we must be to our former prime minister. All this pretty straight kind of guy ever wanted to do was what was right, or at least what he believed to be right, which is not necessarily the same thing. Yet in his selfless quest to make the world a better place, he just kept coming up against the innate suspicion of an unworthy British people.
. . . has it dawned on him that his conduct of government that so outraged the Butler inquiry — decisions taken by a clique of cronies, sensitive items never minuted, the cabinet (let alone parliament) kept out of the loop — actually feeds into the idea that something fishy was going on? Apparently not. Blair is beginning to cut a rather pathetic figure, less the world statesman, more the lounge-bar bore who just cannot resist telling you what a raw deal he’s had.