Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Was Tony Blair A Force For Good?

with 11 comments

My Non-Appearance On Sunday Morning Live

Since Wednesday the BBC had been in touch every day.  This morning they started calling me and testing my webcam and sound from 8.30am.  They had me sitting at my desk from 9.45am, 15 minutes before the programme started.   I was warned I could be in shot at anytime.  I drank too much coffee.  I did get a little nervous and jittery.  I was desperate for a cigarette even though I gave up six months ago!

Who was that suave, debonair, good looking chap in the crisp white shirt on the background screens?  Yours truly of course, waiting patiently for my big moment, trying not to sneer or laugh too raucously at the ridiculous first discussion on animals.

I had my notes blu-tacked to the window frame right behind my webcam, adjusted so that viewers would never lose deep, seductive eye contact with me.

“We’re coming to you now Peter”

“Stand by”

I fancy I can see Susanna Reid flushing slightly in anticipation of introducing me…

“Uh, sorry Peter, we’re not going to be able to come to you.  Out of time I’m afraid.”

Such are the trials and tribulations of my life!  Suddenly the programme was over.

You'll Get Your Chance, Gorgeous

Turning to far more important things, the dogs and I set off for the hills.  My mobile rang and it was Anna from the BBC, apologising and promising me dinner and a hot night with Susanna all at the corporation’s expense.  “No, sorry, I can’t be bought off.  Call me tomorrow. I’m too busy now.”

On the panel in the studio had been Mary Whitehouse’s successor, frumpy Anne Atkins and the utter jerk, Francis Beckett.   What a prat?  Why would anyone want to listen to his obnoxious, ill considered views, delivered with all the grace of a blind, three legged rhino?

Was Tony Blair a force for good?  This was the question I was supposed to be answering.  The BBC had come to me as a result of this article.  I had, of course, considered my response and this is what I intended to say.

Was Tony Blair A Force For Good?

I do not count myself as a Tony Blair supporter.  I never voted for him.  In fact, at all those elections I deliberately spoiled my ballot papers writing “no suitable candidate” across them.  I am an admirer though.

I think you have to give him credit for a number of things.  He rescued Labour from its madness and turned it into a credible and electable political party.  That was good for democracy.  He finished off the good work that Margaret Thatcher had done on the unions.  He was her true successor.  Now the only nutters that we have left are Tweedledum and Twitterdee from Unite and the mad and bad Bob Crowe from the railways.

You have to give him huge credit for Northern Ireland, for Kosovo and Sierra Leone.  I think he was also responsible for a fundamental change in British politics in that he reconciled caring with competition.  For the first time it was accepted that you could have a social conscience but still believe in business and the free market.

On Iraq, clearly it is a good thing that we got rid of Saddam Hussein although, personally, I think we should have assassinated him.  If there was a moral justification for war,  for shock and awe, then there was for assassination.  Even if we had lost thousands of special forces that would have been better than hundreds of thousands of innocents.  I do think that Blair became carried away with George Bush and that was a mistake.  Bush will be forgotten long before Blair.  He was not of the same calibre.  All he had to offer was the might and power of America.

Fundamentally, what you have to ask is did Tony Blair act in good faith?  I believe he did.  I believe he is an honourable man.  Look backwards from Blair to Thatcher and there’s noone else until Churchill and then Lloyd George.  That is the company in which Tony Blair will be remembered.  He is a great man.

I Was There For You Tone!

The one thing I really don’t understand in this man of vision and intelligence is his conversion to Catholicism.  I can just about accept his Christianity although why a man with his intellect needs organised religion I don’t know.  I really can’t understand why he wants to be allied to the institution that has been responsible for more evil over the last 2000 years than any other.  I think it demeans him.  He has far, far more to offer the world than that stupid old bigot the Pope, for instance.  It seems to me the Catholic Church will benefit far more from him than he will from it.   That’s his business though.

11 Responses

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  1. WOW! Peter, You would have done the “great man” proud, and I’m very proud of you, being a confirmed Tory an’ all that.

    Not that I am a Labour supporter. Just a Blair supporter. I voted Conservative this time because I knew the candidate personally. Still waiting to be impressed by this government who STILL didn’t manage to beat whatsisname with an overall majority. Of course it could be that other lot worrying me. But that’s anoher story.

    I was sitting here this morning at 9:55am awaiting the programme on my pooter, coffee in one hand, sanity stick in the other (I’m not giving up! It helps me avoid murder or divorce!)

    When the delectable Susanna still hadn’t got onto Blair with about 13 minutes to go I guessed you might not get on. With that wally Beckett waiting to blame Blair for the plague, the Norman Invasion and the Great Flood no time or ears left for praise.

    And what the hell is the Beeb up to these days, allowing the “war criminal” jibe to be repeated without sanction? I realise Atkins only said “not my phrase”, but also – “he will be remembered as a ‘war criminal'”!?

    This is blogging conspiracy nonsense and the BBC should be above it. The very least they should do is have their presenters say, “of course Mr Blair has not been charged with any crime and so has not been proven to be any sort of criminal, far less a war criminal”.

    But they never do. Odd that. I’m sure that “British resident” and known trainee Jihadist (filmed training) Binyam Mohamed and the guys caught red-handed at the Glasgow airport terror attack were only ever called “suspects” by the oh-so-pc BBC.

    Btw, your writing is fun and always makes me smile. Report back here, please, when Susanna succumbs. To dinner, that is.


    August 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm

  2. […] name in the title, then changed it to ‘John Rentoul‘. JR to the rescue!  Read Peter’s very amusing account of his on/off encounter with the most attractive Susanna Reid. Disappointed? I’m sure she […]

  3. Sorry you didn’t get your fifteen minutes (copyright A Warhol).

    Can’t agree with you too much on TB, but then I’m Old labour (well, a socialist anyway) and a union activisst (in Unite in fact, though its current leadership(s) doesn’t impress me either). I definitely didn’t like Thatcher and the extent to which Blair took his policies from her appalled me. I never voted for him either, and looking back for great figures I’d probably only have Attlee before reaching Churchill, though actually I quite liked Heath in some ways. I’ll grant that Blair wasn’t all bad (NI and Sierra Leone, yes – not sure about Kosovo where I think the guys we supported were every bit as bad as the other lot).

    Saddam – I didn’t like the guy but fail to see why Britain should feel it has the right to get rid of foreign leaders it doesn’t like. (Equally deserving candidates come to mind….) If we had to do it then I like your assassination idea, as even if it had prompted a revolution the bulk of the infrastructure would have remained. Whether the Islamic extremists who Saddam so ruthlessly put down would have taken advantage of the vacuum and siezed control I can’t tell: and that worries me, as although Saddam was a dictator Iraq under him had quite modern attitudes in many ways, not least a fully emancipated female workforce (now long consigned to history under whatever passes for a government there).


    August 30, 2010 at 11:30 am

    • Well you’re a brave man to admit to being a socialist these days. It’s only you, the boys at Unite and Gordon left isn’t it? You can’t count Bob Crowe. He’s certifiably insane.

      I’m afraid I have a bit of a blank in my recent historical knowledge of the conflict in the Balkans. The mid-eighties to the mid-nineties were the height of my advertising career and I was in a bubble that cut me off from real life! I did read the other day, I don’t remember where, that Blair is a massive hero in Kosovo. Apparently there are thousands of children named after him.

      My assassination list would have included Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mladic, Radovic, Amin, Mugabe and Saddam amongst others. I agree it’s probably morally indefensible but a lesser evil than the wars or oppression perpetrated instead. There are thousands of psychopaths who would love the opportunity to be trained for such missions. Many of them are already in the armed forces or the police. We should turn their talents to our best advantage and save the lives of others who get counted as “collateral damage”.

      I’m afraid I couldn’t give two hoots about female emancipation in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else. That’s no reason for going to war. Other countries’ social structures and customs are no business of ours.

      Peter Reynolds

      August 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm

  4. Peter,

    Ref: “I did read the other day, I don’t remember where, that Blair is a massive hero in Kosovo. Apparently there are thousands of children named after him.”

    You might have read it here. (More links there with pictures):

    The British press, true to form, were slow to catch on.

    In Sierra Leone too, many children are called after him.

    Wonder why?

    All very odd to call your son after a “war criminal”, eh Rob?


    August 30, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    • I should have known! That message deserves to be in a headline somewhere methinks!

      Peter Reynolds

      August 30, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      • You could always write it up Peter, in your own inimitable way.

        Btw, missed this earlier:

        “I really can’t understand why he wants to be allied to the institution that has been responsible for more evil over the last 2000 years than any other.”

        I have issues with Tony’s religiosity too. Anyone’s come to that. But that is possibly because no deity has seen fit to let me know it exists. Possibly my failing. Who knows?

        BUT, responsible for “more evil” etc? The Catholic Church? I think that might be pushing the sweeping statement a touch, Peter.


        August 30, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    • Come on now! Name me an institution responsible for more evil than the Catholic Church?

      I’ll accept Islam on level pegging but name another?

      The Nazis? No they were only around for 15 years or so.

      For 2000 years the Catholic Church has wreaked violence and persecution on the human race. The Pope as its figurehead in whom the Catholic God is personified is far, far worse than any war criminal, any individual tyrant or dictator.

      Don’t get me started now…

      Peter Reynolds

      August 30, 2010 at 5:44 pm

  5. I am no authority on religion, Peter. But considering some of the other stuff that Christianity has delivered over the last 2000 years, some might suggest that there is no other institution responsible for more good than the Catholic Church.


    August 30, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    • Now you’re just being deliberately provocative again!

      Peter Reynolds

      August 30, 2010 at 10:45 pm

      • No, Peter. Honestly. I’m just putting this forward as an alternative proposition to the “evil” that you project onto 2000 years of Catholicism.

        I admit to not being as interested in religion as one is supposed to be these days, given that it is uppermost in the minds of many. Fro instance, I wouldn’t want to spend years devouring any of their ‘good books’, though I have taken the occasional nibble out of some of them. I used to know the Christian Bible backwards in my younger days. Let’s say I am just disillusioned with religion, as some are disillusioned with politics.

        So, I’m not about to rise to a debate on the evil or otherwise of a branch of the religion I actually see as the root of democracy – Christianity. There are enough people nibbling away at this as it is.


        August 30, 2010 at 11:35 pm

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