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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: September 5, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

    Tony Blair and his Book

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Back in the swing this week. Didn’t miss much, news-wise, in my time off.  The big story last week was Tony Blair and his visit to Dublin to promote his autobiography. Haven’t read the whole thing but the Northern Ireland chapter has an astonishing howler, in that he describes the 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings as taking place in Belfast rather than Derry (at least he didn’t have to agonise over calling it Derry or Londonderry.)

    Another strange one in the NI chapter is where he refers to unionist demands for the closure of Maryfield, site of the controversial Anglo-Irish secretariat set up under the agreement of 1985. In the Good Friday talks, Blair and Co thought this was “Murrayfield”, the famed Scottish rugby ground (one must allow for Ulster accents of course.) But Maryfield (outside Belfast) was in the eye of the storm for years. Funny that the PM and his colleagues hadn’t heard of it. Makes you wonder.

    In fairness, Blair did put a helluva lot of work into the peace process and it was no surprise to hear a report that the people queueing up at the book-signing  in Dublin outnumbered the protesters by three to one. I am a bit puzzled by the presence of the pro-Palestinian campaigners at the protests. I would have thought Blair was one of the good guys in that particular context, along with George Mitchell, who did very good work in the North. The attendance of the anti-peace process republicans and the far-left was to be expected.

    Blair’s historic error was lining up with George W. Bush to invade Iraq on the basis of what we now know was wrong information about weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein was a harsh and oppressive dictator, no question about that,  but there are plenty of  authoritarian regimes around that are just left alone because overthrowing them doesn’t suit the interests of the West. Indeed, some of these regimes are flattered and courted, e.g. China.

    Interesting mini-row in the Letters page of The Irish Times over a visit by one of my colleagues to Burma for a travel piece. Shouldn’t have gone there, is the message. Funny, we never hear that said about one-party Cuba with all its political prisoners? The Burma regime sounds pretty awful but I have doubts as to the value of a tourism boycott. It is often said that the tourist trade in Spain under the Franco dictatorship contributed significantly to liberalisation and, ultimately, democratisation. Putting a country in quarantine isn’t always the best policy for the citizens.

    All civilly-worded comments are welcome. Good manners will get you everywhere.

    • Ron Kennedy says:

      At a time when the Irish should display such emotional passion for both the love of their country and anger at the state of the economy, they chose instead to share it with Mr. Blair this week, with world media looking on. The mixed message this sent over this side of the Atlantic was twofold. One was we deeply disliked this British Prime Minister although many would argue a PM who had the most successful relationship with the Republic ever and secondly we Irish only get this angry on the streets of Dublin at anti war demos. We’d never get this angry at the continuing endless dire economic news and mismanagement of our country would we?

      As if he needed more post PM free promotion, this display of anger will only boost sales while the Dail laughs from the sidelines.

    • Kynos says:

      I just think Ireland has yet again and once more failed to uphold Her obligations under international law. Art. 146 of the 4th Geneva convention requires signatories to search for persons alleged to have committed warcrimes and to bring them before their own courts. He was here. Yesterday. Ye had him. And ye let him get away.

    • Kynos says:

      And I hope you had a nice holiday Deaglan. Welcome back to the trenches.

    • kynos says:

      For all his self-proclaimed religiosity ol’ Tony seems not to have heard of Proverbs 12:22.

    • Cecilia says:

      You are puzzled by the presence of the pro-Palestinian campaigners at the protests.

      And I am astounded that a professional such as yourself is unaware of the close ties between Blair and Israel, of his membership of Labour Friends of Israel, of the phone calls to Israel during the famous visit to Texas when the Iraqi invasion was decided, of his refusal, as the Quartet representative, to call for a ceasefire during Operation Cast Lead when the Israelis were dropping cluster bombs outlawed by international law on Gaza as well as boming UN offices and schools.

      And these are only the cases that immediately come to mind. Add the man’s lust for money and self promotion and one has to question how he can be considered an honest broker in the middle east. In fact he is not by the Palestinians and most arab states.

      As for George Mitchell, he as well as everyone else is powerless and merely acting out the farce. The ones pulling all the shots are the Israelis.

      “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt is recommended reading for anyone interested in understanding what really is going on in the Middle East.

    • Cecilia says:

      You are puzzled by the presence of the pro-Palestinian campaigners at the protests.

      I am astounded that a professional like you is unaware of Blair’s close ties to Israel, of his membership of Labour Friends of Israel, of the phone calls to Israel during his visit to Bush when the Iraqi invasion was decided, of his refusal as quartet representative to call for a ceasefire during Operation Cast Lead, when Israel was dropping phosphorous cluster bombs, outlawed by international law, on the civilian population as collective punishment, also outlawed. Not to mention bombing UN offices and schools.

      Add his lust for money and self aggrandisement and one wonders how he can be considered an honest broker in the

      As for George Mitchell, like Obama he is powerless and acting out the farce. The Israelis are pulling all the shots.

      For an understanding of what is really happening in the Middle East, “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt is highly recommended.

    • robespierre says:

      I concur Deaglán,

      It is a well written book so he obviously had a good hack as his ghost. Can’t remember who the rumoured ghost was. It lacks the authenticity that John Major’s had as a self-penned memoir however. It is in the nuances and small detail around context like the forming of New Labour that it just doesn’t ring very true for me. It is also very much in the gonzo format with El Tone as the sun king around whom everything moves. Anointed as he was… if you will. I also found the passage on Cameronism extraordinary for a pledged (new) Labour leader.

      The presence of the Palestinians I would assume relates to the more recent illegal wars that were conducted by the Israelis. He has refused to condemn the Lebanon & Gaza incursions and is seen as something of a homer (in refereeing parlance) when it comes to Israel. I have a chapter he wrote (or more likely had written and edited) for a book on neo-conservatism that was edited by Robert Kagan (now there’s a name you haven’t heard for a while!). I was astonished when he got the Middle East gig as a result of his declared neo-conservatism.

    • jo blogs says:

      Can you believe that ‘Phony Blur’ comin’ over here braggin’ about his big election…tch!

    • Kynos says:

      As a result of his existence, 1.3 million people are dead. I don’t know how Tony justifies that to his God. I don’t know how his God justifies that to Himself.

    • Eddie says:

      Hero, hero, hero. A policitician who made the right decisions even when he knew it would lose him the love of his public. The majority of people don’t undertsand the Iraq issue even in its most simple form, many more have all their views on it coloured by their starting position of US = evil, therefore anything they do = evil. There are some with legitimate concerns about the matter but still nobody has answered the question what would you do with a psychopathic murderer who was already responsible for killing approx 2million (largely Muslim people I might add), attacking 3 neighbouring countries (Israel, Iran, Kuwait, of which he invaded two!), had already used Chemical weapons on his own people in the North and South of Iraq (the Kurds and Shia’s), was only being contained by UN sanctions which were killing approximately 20,000 a year and which he was using through the oil for food programme to enrich himself and save up for the weapons programme we now know he planned to develop once the sanctions were lifted (with the help of some friends in the French Gov!). It appears he never intended an attack on the US, his targets were Iran and Israel. One can only imagine the carnage that would have caused including war across the entire region with far worse consequences than we see now in Iraq. Add to that the fact that once Saddam died (whenever that might have been) he had two ready, willing and able pyschopathic sons with a proven track record in brutality.
      Therefore, in my view, until those who oppose the war have any suggestion as to a suitable solution to these problems, they are really not entitled to attack mercilessly the reputation of those who took on the heavy burden of addressing these problems. There was no easy solution but to just condemn the actions taken without suggesting any kind of a viable alternative is typical of the hard left. The naysayers,who object to everything but never provide viable and realistic solutions to any of the world’s problems.

    • dave says:

      Gosh. Some nerve those Israelis have in trying to stop its citizens from being bombarded with over 6000 rockets and missiles in the last few years.

      Israel went to war to stop these attacks. The war was legal acording to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, as it gave Israel the full right of self-defence in order to try to stop them. It succeeded in doing so, apart from the odd rocket fired nowadays. But should Hamas start up again – as it might well in order to try to disrupt the direct peace talks between Israel and Hamas’ rival, Fatah in the form of The Palestine Authority – Israel will again have an absolute right to try to stop them.

      For those interested in facts and not myths and untruths about an “illegal” war, read what the UN Charter says: :

      “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security”

    • dave says:

      Were it not for Tony Blair, Saddam Hussein by now would have reconstituted his nuclear weapons programme and have developed such weapons. He would have threatened Iran and other oil rich States, which he had already invaded almost 20 years ago, and this time he would have unleashed a nuclear war in the whole Middle East. The world economies would have been wiped out, and only the very wealthy would have been able to afford fuel and oil. The current economic disaster would have been made much much worse, and would have combined to bring many countries, Ireland included, back to the stone age.

      We should all be extremely grateful that Blair and Bush acted as they did. The reason they have not succeeded as they had wished is due to the daily mass murders and terroriism against ordinary Iraqi citizens, engineered by both Iran and Al Quaida. It is these who have murdered and continue every day to slaughter innocent Iraqis, almost all of whom are Muslim.

      Muslims are callously murdered by fanatical Muslims, in and ouside mosques, in hospitals, in schools, anywhere they can find “soft” targets regardless of whether it is on the Friday Muslim sabbath, or during Ramadan. It is NOT Bush or Blair who is responsible, but the murderous perpetrators themselves.

    • kynos says:

      “what would you do with a psychopathic murderer who was already responsible for killing approx 2million (largely Muslim people I might add)” – pretty much what I’d do with a guy who is already responsible for killing approx 1.3 million (largely Muslim people I might add). First of all I’d call him as many inventive names as possible, slag him off, laugh him to scorn, and certainly I’d refuse to buy his book. How’s that then?

    • kynos says:

      Let’s not forget that Mein Kampf sold 6 million copies. One for every dead Jew. I wonder will Tony sell 1.3 million copies of his …er…’struggle’? Even though he has – reportedly – included details of his strivings with that woman of his that Adolf didn’t – I believe – regale us with, I still won’t buy his book.

    • jo blogs says:

      ’1921-1968…near apartheid scale humiliation and discrimination…’ Adams and McGuinness ‘extraordinary’…Saville Enquiry into Bloody Sunday…Finally, a politician willing to tell it how it was for the Catholic/Nationalist Community in the North…what’s not to like…?

    • kynos says:

      So objecting to the murder most foul of 1.3 million people makes me a naysayer does it ‘Eddie’?? Well damnit I’m a naysayer so. Similar I imagine objecting to the manipulation of this country’s economy and politics and markets in order to enrich an Elite would make me a ‘doomsayer’ in Bertie-speak I suppose. Surprised you didn’t express your amazement we don’t commit suicide. As we see today, Bertie need no longer be so surprised (and clearly, as he was, discomfited). Plenty committing suicide these days. Hope he’s satisfied now.

    • dave says:


      No offence intended, but your take on pledging never to buy Blair’s book seems to be rather simplistic and narrow minded if you don’t mind me saying so.

      If I follow your logic, by extension then you also did not read, let alone buy, Mein Kampf, and yet you seem to have done so. Presumably – and also following the exact same logic – you have not read or purchaed both the Bible and the Koran.

      Sounds like your mind is a pretty closed book!!! You need to open up your mind and see how those you may disgree with think, rather than simply reading only those authors whose politics you subscribe to. Still, it’s afree country. Still.

    • dave says:


      Your statement that Balir “is already responsible for killing approx 1.3 million (largely Muslim people I might add”
      is nothing less than good old anti-Western, Taliban al-Qaiida propaganda. It is in the same category as revisionist propagandists who repeatedly assert loudly – and contrary to all the available evidence – that Poland attacked Nazi Germany and started WW2.

      It is obvious to anyone with an ounce of intelligence and the ability to read that the vast majority of the deaths that have happened and are currently happening in Iraq have been carried out by Muslim terrorists, mostly Muslim suicide murderers. Muslims murdering fellow Muslims. Get it?? You are being completely disingenuous about this.

      Balir is not responsible at all for what Iran and Al Qaida have been doing ever since the Western invasion ended, over 7 years ago. You might as well blame Michael Collins for Ireland’s current economic woes.

      Up to now you had me fooled that you were an impartial, objective, rational – or at times simply a little bit off-the -wall irrational – observer. I now see that the Balir issue has triggered you to show your real colours, and your particular propagandising anti-Western personal agenda.

    • minX.ie says:

      @18 — I am very much inclined to agree with you dave.

    • dave says:


      Many posts from Kynos are simply propaganda against the West masquerading as fair and honest comment. Such a tactic is as old as Kynos in Greece, dating back to the Iron Age I believe. Quite fitting really: as such comments are as rigid and as inflexible as iron.

    • jo blogs says:

      @18 I’m still trying to work out who Balir is…!

    • Kynos says:

      I said I wouldn’t buy it Dave. I didn’t say I wouldn’t read it. I won’t enrich the fellow. I am interested in what makes him tick. No. I’ve never bought Mein Kampf. Yes, I’ve read it in part. Such a thing requires a strong stomach when you think of the fact that 6 million purchases of that ..necronomicon..killed 6 million Jews. Inter alios. I have never bought a bible or a koran. I am attempting to read both. One courtesy of the Gideons, in fact I have acquired several excellent copies courtesy of that organisation and my peripatetic life. One courtesy of a friend of mine, plus the internet. I believe one may read both in a disorganised way, as is my wont, backwards to the beginning if you wish, as is also my wont. I believe also that while one is a strictly ordered collection of the history, wisdom, poetry, didactics, beliefs, and communications with the Herafter of a group of religious believers who believe in One God, it is written by many authors, where as the other is a higgledlypiggledy jumble in no particular order of the history, wisdom, poetry, didactics, beliefs, and communications with the Hereafter of one man who believed in One God. The same God in both cases, I understand. And so the former may be dipped into and read in any particular order in order to seek understanding, but may also be read in strict hierarchial sequence. And the latter may be dipped into and read in any particular order in order to see understanding, and really, has no hierarchial sequence, being as it is the recitations of a man (some may say through a man) of a process of understanding and realisation mixed in with the emotions and reactions of a single guy throughout the progress of his life. Anyway. I’ll let you know when I’m finished both if you want. I am also reading several other books all at the same time, but those I bought. Anyway. What else’re you saying? Yes I agree it’s important to hear what others are saying, particularly when they disagree with you. Praise is empty. Criticism may not be. Always room for another perspective. It is free after all. And I’m not so sure about facts being sacred. Not when history, and indeed bibles and korans, may be inevitably compiled by the victors and those who seek to make history serve THEIR particular needs and desires. As Tony Blair is doing, writing his own narrative.

    • Kynos says:

      Hmmm. I spent quite a bit of time writing that second reply to dave and yet again the browser crashes on the spurious well let’s say specious grounds that I hadn’t properly filled in my email addy and so therefore I’ve no more time to waste so maybe I’ll try again later and maybe I won’t.

    • dave says:


      I repeat. Your statement that Balir “is already responsible for killing approx 1.3 million (largely Muslim people I might add” is nothing less than good old anti-Western, Taliban al-Qaiida propaganda. This is not a statement of fact but one of blind unmitigated demonisation. It is pathetic. You should be ashamed of yourself. I had thought you had more intellignce, but I was mistaken. Pure proaoganda and the kind that one might hear from Osama Bin Laden or his supporters.

    • Kevin McAleer says:

      Blair shows his hand on Iraq

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