Tag Archives: tony blair

Norman Baker calls for Tony Blair to be “impeached”

Former Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker has called for Tony Blair to be impeached over his conduct in the run-up to the Iraq War.

Baker told the Argus:

“We have had to wait a long time for this and there is a sense that justice delayed is justice denied.

“Tony Blair is in terrible self denial. Saying the evidence wasn’t sexed up can only be trying to keep his spirits up. You almost feel sorry for him.

“He should just admit he was wrong and move on.

“I would like him to be impeached and made to defend himself because he has done so much wrong. “

Mr Baker said he knew that the inquiry would not re-examine the death of weapons inspector David Kelly – having discussed the remit of the report with John Chilcot several years ago.

Mr Baker published his own dossier of evidence which he believes casts doubt on the Hutton Inquiry’s key conclusion that Dr Kelly killed himself in 2003.

So what is all this impeachment about?

The Parliament website explains:

Impeachment was a means by which Parliament could prosecute and try individuals, normally holders of public office, for high treason or other crimes and misdemeanours. The impeachment process was invented prior to the creation of popular political parties and the establishment of the conventions of collective and individual ministerial responsibility. When impeachment was used, for example in the 16th and 17th century, it represented the only means by which Parliament could dismiss an individual holding office under the Crown.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments

A PM fails this country and destroys another, yet faces no action. Where’s the accountability in that?

I’m watching an at times close to tears Tony Blair giving his response to the Chilcot Report.

He asks us to accept that he took the decision to go to war in good faith. I’m not sure that was ever actually in doubt. Charles Kennedy, in disagreeing with him in the House of Commons during the March 2003 Commons debate, did not doubt the sincerity of his position.

However, Blair’s comments, and all the regret he may feel, cannot make up for what the report makes clear was a very flawed decision making process, with insufficient planning for the aftermath, putting British forces in added danger as they were fighting on two fronts (Iraq and Afghanistan) and weren’t given the resources to do their jobs and that the process establishing whether the decision was even legal was flawed.

The “with you, whatever” memo is not quite damning as it seems. If you read the whole thing, Blair is actually trying to steer the US President down a path of forming an international coalition and pointing out the consequences of not doing so. The problem with the memo as Chilcot says is that he sent a fairly detailed exposition of the UK Government’s position without even asking the Foreign and Defence Secretaries to comment. However, I am less convinced that Straw or Hoon would have changed anything, but that’s just a personal opinion. Also, using loose language like “with you, whatever” is at best not advisable. At worst it shows a contempt for Parliament and the decision making process in Government.

I have never been one of those people who has thought that Tony Blair should be tried as a war criminal. To suggest such a thing, that there is some equivalence between him and the likes of Radovan Karadzic, sentenced earlier this year for his part in the Bosnian genocide is to my mind inappropriate. The errors of Blair and his Government were not of brutality but of folly, negligence and incompetence.

Those were pretty major errors but nobody involved is actually going to face any consequences for that. How can that be? If Blair were still in office, he would have to resign in disgrace. A decade on, he enjoys a privileged and comfortable life with an international career.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Blair’s other legacy

It is inevitable given that it became the issue that defined his premiership – the failed invasion of Iraq will be seen as Blair’s great legacy.

He got plenty of other things wrong too, but for all his words about a progressive majority, his inaction on electoral reform paved the way for majority right wing government.

Had he been brave enough to face down the conservative forces in his own party we could have seen the 1999 Jenkins commission proposals implemented.

He wasn’t.

In his excellent autobiography, Ming Campbell recalls his wife Elspeth whispering to Blair at John Smith’s funeral, ‘Don’t Forget The Liberals’. ‘I won’t’ was the response.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Telegraph reports Farron email 24 days after we did

Interesting story in today’s Telegraph about a fundraising letter from Tim Farron to combat Tony Blair’s £1000 donations to Labour’s target seats.

Interesting, but old.

We told you about this way back on 5th March.

LDV Blair post

 

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Farron seeks £20k for Lib Dem campaigns to match Tony Blair’s donation to Labour

Tony Blair“Rich Labour Member gives £100k to Labour” is not the biggest surprise in the whole world. When it’s Tony Blair, though, and he’s giving £20k to campaigns against Liberal Democrat MPs who stood up against his catastrophic intervention in Iraq, that will set Liberal Democrat blood boiling.

At least that’s what Tim Farron hopes.

He’s sending an email to members and supporters asking them to donate enough to match Blair’s £20k against our MPs. Labour candidates fighting fabulous Lib Dem MPs like Lynne Featherstone, Jo Swinson, Jenny Willott and Julian Huppert will be getting Blair money.

Anything you donate will be spent directly trying to win those seats and others like them and is money well spent to keep these stellar Liberal Democrats in Parliament.

Farron said:

We reckon that about £20,000 of his donation is going directly to fighting the Liberal Democrats in seats where we’re up against Labour. Those Liberal Democrat candidates opposed Blair’s illegal war in Iraq and are fighting to get the Chilcot report published so he can be held to account.

He is trying to silence them, and we don’t want to let him.

Please will you make a donation today, so we can match the £20,000 Blair has put into fighting Lib Dem candidates?

Every pound you give will go into our election campaign and will be used on the front line. Every Lib Dem candidate is committed to getting the Chilcot report published, so that Tony Blair can be held to account.

A donation from you today will help make that happen.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Martin Horwood writes …Tony Blair’s legacy

Tony BlairTwenty years ago yesterday Tony Blair became Labour Party Leader. The man who delivered a landslide victory for Labour in 1997 is now seen as a polarising figure in British politics.

Blair loved to be seen as a ‘modernising’ force in his party. Whether it was the abandonment of Clause 4, the drinks receptions for celebrities or leading a Government which was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”, this was a world away from ‘Old Labour’.

As Prime Minister, however, there is no doubt it was his approach to foreign policy that defined his premiership.

Britain’s involvement in the illegal war in Iraq left a particularly indelible mark. Blair seemed to offer Parliament a choice. But his case was built on sandy foundations: his personal word that the intelligence case presented to MPs had not been exaggerated or ‘sexed up’.

Blair had used his own personal charisma to defeat opposition to his changes to the public sector and indeed to the Labour Party itself. He used this tool once again in making the case for the Iraq invasion, alongside a particular brand of political ‘spin’ that grew to typify Labour’s approach in office.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 40 Comments

Caroline Pidgeon AM writes: In praise of Freedom of Information legislation

Parliament ActsTony Blair’s latest comments about Iraq, seeking to defend his disastrous actions back in 2003, have generated extensive media coverage.  However, there are other views expressed by Tony Blair which also deserve attention, most notably his incredible views over freedom of information.

But, before examining his comments lets go back 20 years or so.

For some people it might be hard to remember how Government departments and public bodies often operated.  Holding onto vast amounts of information, however mundane or non-controversial, was considered totally appropriate by most Government departments, quangos and local …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments
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