A generous gesture or guilty conscience?


NEWS that Tony Blair, who led the UK into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is to donate the proceeds from his forthcoming memoir to the Royal British Legion is, I believe, a wonderfully generous gesture by a thoroughly honourable man. Did I also mention that I believe in Santa Claus, pixies at the bottom of my garden and that my other hero is Gordon Brown for his unsurpassed contribution to the UK economy?

But what a noble gesture! It’s truly fitting. After all, Blair’s done more to increase the British Legion membership than anyone else – but donating to it? That’s like Hitler donating five bob towards rebuilding Coventry!


Some say he’s motivated by guilt, others by piety. More on that later but, whatever the truth, it’s a shrewd move on Blair’s part. Something that he had to do in order to offset the scandal over Iraq and the David Kelly saga, increase his profile in the USA and, importantly, his chances of receiving one day the Nobel Peace Prize.

But how can anyone be taken in by this latest gesture? Let’s face it, British troops were sent on a questionable mission into a war zone with inappropriate equipment. Blair’s eagerness to play poodle to George Bush led to casualties and injuries – whether British, Iraqi or Afghan – that could have been avoided or at least minimised.

It’s a start, admittedly, but frankly he needs to quit the boardroom and after-dinner corporate speech circuit and dedicate the remainder of his life to making amends. Remember John Profumo? He, quietly and self-effacingly, atoned for his ‘sin’, aided by his exemplary wife and attracted more respect and honour than he ever did in his public career. A small measure of his humility would not come amiss from the Blairs.

Now, some claim Blair’s motivated by Christian piety and trying to obtain absolution. Maybe, too, like biblical camels, he’s recently inspected the eye of the needle and judged it to be a close call, even with his recent conversion to Catholicism. Doubtlessly, though, Saint Peter will take this into account when he considers his overall performance against official, government-backed entry targets into heaven…

Others, however, maintain this is simply a display of guilt – blood money. Couldn’t the truth though be something quite different: a cynical PR stunt to head-off embarrassingly low sales figures from people displaying their contempt for such a self-aggrandising man? A ploy that’s already paying off in increased pre-publication sales. I still won’t buy it though  – I’ll donate my £25 direct to the Legion. An empty gesture, maybe, but one that will somehow make me feel better.

But what about you? Will you be buying it – or the £150, limited-edition version, mocked up to look like the Bible?

By Nora Johnson


Nora Johnson´s novel, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available at Amazon. Profits to Cudeca





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