Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has launched a campaign to try to persuade the British people to change their minds about leaving the European Union. In a speech in London, he said that he respected the will of the people, but voters hadn’t been given details about the terms on which Britain would exit the EU. The referendum vote, he said, was based on “imperfect knowledge”.
“The people voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit. As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind,” he said. “Our mission is to persuade them to do so”.
This is the same Mr Blair that lead us into an illegal war based on fabricated information about WMD’s (Weapon’s of Mass Destruction). His actions ended the lives of numerous innocent Iraqi civilians, or ‘collateral damage’ as he might like to term them. We went to war without the full facts, a point which he would no doubt ardently deny.
The Chilcot report concluded that Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, stating that “The judgements about Iraq’s capabilities … were presented with a certainty that was not justified,” that The decision to invade was made in unsatisfactory circumstances and that Blair ignored warnings on what would happen in Iraq after invasion.
MP’s, unfortunately, rejected a move to investigate Tony Blair over misleading parliament in relation to Iraq by 439 votes to 70, after a sometimes angry debate. He should count himself lucky that he has yet to be held to account for his actions.
I think many of a similar political leaning will all be in agreement that the way the Tories are approaching Brexit will be potentially devastating for the ordinary working people of this country, and that the land of milk and honey that was promised by the Leave campaign during the referendum is extremely unlikely to materialise, but the hypocrisy of Mr Blair certainly does not help.
Mr Blair is right, it is not undemocratic to carry on debating the terms of Brexit and to continue to put a point of view across, the government do need holding to account – but to presume that people had no idea of what they were voting for and should re-think their decision is potentially self-defeating. No electorate ever has the full facts, politics is a game of half-truths, manipulation and spin, Blair of all people should know that. The “£350m for the NHS” was a lie, but so was “Project Fear” – both sides were as bad as each other.
The EU referendum was one of the most exhaustively argued campaigns in recent history, one which became toxic, divided families and not to forget, lead to the murder of an MP – seeking to re-run the campaign in a time when we should instead be coming together and healing our divides would not be helpful.
Blair’s contempt for the working people of this nation, along with his Conservative successors lead to the swelling of anger which helped propel the vote to leave the European Union. He is part of the very elite many in this country felt had left them behind, almost ambassador-in-chief for the affluent. The opposition against the Tories Brexit agenda needs a hero, but not in the form of an out of touch former Prime Minister who is hated by many across the nation. Former prime ministers should not campaign against the people.
Caroline Lucas, the Green party co-leader, called Blair’s statement “staggeringly unhelpful” and said it would be better if Blair “butted out” of the debate. Many will agree with her analysis, his arrogance and messianic persona doesn’t help – if Tony Blair is not going to end up behind prison bars then the least he can do, for all of our sakes, is to climb back under the rock from which he has again emerged.