Monday, 24 January 2011

Blair appears again before Chlcott

On Friday morning, I stood in the bitter cold for several hours outside the QE II Centre in central London where Tony Blair had been called again to give evidence to the Chilcott Inquiry. Addressing the demonstrators, along with an Italian Senator from the Partito Radicale, Marco Perduca and several other speakers including a member of the Iraqui Democrats.

I introduced myself as a member of the International Committee of GPEW and that the Green Party and Caroline Lucas stood four square behind the demonstrators calling for Blair to appear before the court at the Hague to be accused of war crimes.I said that Lord Goldsmith’s comments on the legality of the war (his distancing of himself from Blair) together with the refusal of the Cabinet Office to releas the papers to the Inquiry, showed that there was a clear attempt on Blair’s part to doctor the accounts of the lead up to the war and was essentially a falsification of history. I also said that I thought that both the British people and the people of Iraq need to know the truth about Blair’s actions and what really happened between him and President Bush. Finally, I said that having let him off lightly last time, I hoped that the Inquiry this time would be a lot more forensic in their questioning of Blair.

In the event, as we now know, the Inquiry, although being a little more thorough with Blair, allowed him off the hook again. Despite heckling from those who had lost relatives in the war in Iraq, he tried to present some crocodile tears and say that he regretted all of the lives lost in Iraq, while never regretting the war itself. Here are some reports on the demonstration, one of the highlights for me was the figure wearing a Blair mask being led through the crowd in handcuffs. Later, while being interviewed by the Islam Channel, I was asked what some of the legacies of Blair's decisions were. I replied that there were , of course, the obvious ones of a deep distrust between the West and the Arab world, but there was also the long term political impact in this country of a distrust in politicians and the political process, after one of the largest demonstrations in British history, had not changed Blair's decision and that of the Labour Party one iota. We are now witnessing the consequences in the further betrayal of those who voted for them by the Lib Dems, creating another generation who will view all politicians as cynical and morally bankrupt.

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