Tony Blair is almost unrecognizable on some days, and still the same person who negotiated some of the most pivotal deals in the UK. From contributing to the Northern Ireland Peace Process to playing his part in holding London together, during the 2005 bombings, Blair has done plenty for Great Britain, but what overshadows all of this is what he followed it up with: his work in Iraq, where he was responsible for Saddam Hussein’s downfall.
There are a lot of people grateful in numerous countries for the positive role he has played in their lives, I’m sure, but none of it can match up to the immense hatred that exudes from almost every face you look at, when you think of the former Labour leader. And that is what we are starting with, as our New Labour ‘legacy’: one of the youngest ever Prime Ministers in our country, Tony Blair has largely been snubbed from most celebrations of the last decade, such as that of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. But that is not what’s important is it – the invitation to be privy to some royal folks ceremonial occasion, you had never met or probably never heard of, prior to receiving that invitation?
He has been accused by many to have become a corporation-driven human being, deep-pocketed, and someone who deserves all the spite that comes his way because of his political actions in Iraq. It is hard to resist to term him as yet another edition of the coveted label of mighty Zeus who seems to have fallen hard on his luck, right about now. Surely, there are many who never wanted to see him rise once more, but there are some who do still root for a great leader, even when he has hit a low point in the popularity peak.
A lot of the criticism is coming from the newspapers in the United Kingdom, over his centrist attitude and how it clashes with his actions and this is all going against him, in double figures, unlike his earlier years in office. Blair’s intention in going ahead with the war was about getting involved to make a change to the regime inside out. It does sound feasible on paper, because growing up under the shadow of the aftermath of the Second World War, for me means that I know how monumental wars can be to constructing Europe.
But then things go wrong, and Blair must have known this because he has worked for Northern Ireland before, so why wasn’t he more cautious? Why wasn’t he more vigilant? In the end, his role as a Middle East Peace envoy for the Israel-Palestine conflict, is a reflection of his good work, just like the good old days, of how he has managed to maintain momentum, against all odds – in our society, as a former Prime Minister, who would have faded out a long time ago now, because that is what happened to many political greats.
That is commendable, as are his public appearances over topics, such as religion, public policy and numerous piecemeal contributions to numerous other countries, like getting Egypt involved to successfully end a Gaza ceasefire. He blames the issue in Iraq over a tough issue on terrorism, that is still persistent and is going to be so for a very long time. But that is not what’s new – I’m sure anyone who engages in politics, would be privy to that.
Politics in Egypt, for example is very complicated, what the Muslim Brotherhood does, and how Mohamed Morsi, is innocent on most grounds, because he was put into prison by a corrupted regime, is a situation that was similar to Iraq, during the war. But Blair could not understand it? He could not comprehend it, and he says it’s because he knows more about politics now and how Western governments functions, than he did when he was in office.
He had state of the art support at his disposal, from the foreign office to a deadly intelligence network, but in the end his learning failed him. I’m not so sure what to do with that information, to be honest because he was there in person at County Tyrone, following the Omagh Bombing on 15 August 1998. He knows about the repercussions of terrorism and on top of that in 2009, he stated that he would be willing to engage in war with Iraq even if there was no proof that Saddam Hussein wasn’t in possession of WMDs.
It does seem on most days that we are going around in circles in politics, with no end in sight but we do need constructive change. I have never been one of those people who isn’t interested in what Tony Blair’s two cents in politics is, even today. I do believe in him and his capabilities. I do believe in him when he says that he wants to play it for the long term. But I am still puzzled over where he wants to go with all of this. Labour is at a crucial time now, with elections coming up in May, where the party is riding high on the popularity scale so perhaps Blair should start to share more of his ‘new’ political learnings, already.