10 May 2007

Tony Blair: "Sometimes the good stuff has to be done privately."

The two courageous men who leaked the Downing Street Memo have now been jailed:
Last night, MPs, lawyers and civil rights groups described the prosecution as a "farce" and accused the Government of misusing the Official Secrets Act to cover up political embarrassment over the war.

David Keogh, 50, a Cabinet Office communications officer, was today jailed for six months. He passed on an "extremely sensitive memo" to Leo O'Connor, 44, a political researcher who worked for an anti-war Labour MP, Anthony Clarke. O'Connor was today sentenced to three months in jail after an Old Bailey jury found them guilty yesterday of breaching Britain's secrecy laws.

At the centre of the trial was a four-page Downing Street document which recorded discussions about Iraq between Mr Blair and Mr Bush, held in the Oval Office in April 2004 in the run-up to the handover of power to the Iraqi government.

Keogh, who copied the document to O'Connor while he was working in the Cabinet Office, said that he acted out of conscience because he believed the document showed Mr Bush to be a "madman".

O'Connor passed the document to Mr Clarke, but the Northampton MP alerted Downing Street who in turn handed it over to the police.

But Mr Clarke's action won him the gratitude of the Prime Minister, who is expected to announce that he is standing down today. Mr Blair wrote a letter to the MP in which he said: "Tony, I know we differ over this issue but I just wanted to thank you for doing the right thing. Sometimes the good stuff has to be done privately."
Of course, this important story was immediately blown away in the UK and international media by countless long-winded eulogies talking about what a great "legacy" Blair was leaving behind.
"Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right," Mr Blair said as he announced his departure in his north-east England constituency where he again came under fire from anti-war campaigners.

"I may have been wrong, that's your call. But believe one thing, if nothing else I did what I thought was right for our country."
If my ten year old boy was Prime Minister, I'm sure he would do what he thought and believed was right. But that would not make him right, and it would not make him fit for office.

When you make a major mistake like the Iraq War - one of the greatest military and political blunders in history - then you should publicly accept that you were wrong, no matter what you believed, and you should apologise, and you should try to fix the damage you have done, and of course you should resign right there and then, not years down the track.

Since Blair has not acted honourably, he must be brought to justice at a later date. World leaders may be singing Blair's praises today, but we, the people, will not forget. One day, who knows when, Bush, Blair and Howard will be on trial for War Crimes. And I doubt a judge at the Hague will have much sympathy for their "I believed" defence. It's not working too well for Paris Hilton, is it?