When I thought about writing publicly, I only made one rule : Say what you think honestly. Never consider if it will be too controversial, or too unpalatable, or too taboo.
I have a feeling this one might not go down awfully well though. On the day Blair appears before Chilcot again I just can't bear the howls of outraged guff to go totally unchallenged. Wouldn't be democratic would it?
Firstly, Iraq. #iraqenquiry is now averaging 0.87 tweets a second on Twitter - what do these Tweeps honestly expect to hear? More to the point, is there anything they can possibly say that hasn't already been tweeted, blogged, posted and debated ad nauseum? Oh yes, of course, this morning is the moment when Blair will finally announce he is in fact more evil than Mugabe and had a cunning plan for world domination since he was three years old. It says a lot about the debate on this issue that most anti-war, anti-Blair people wouldn't disagree with either of those statements.
I suppose my attitude to Iraq was largely sceptical. "Dubya finishing Daddy's war" was my general feeling. I do however remember thinking that there were worse things one could do than aim to depose evil dictators practising mass genocide. I also remember UN resolution after UN resolution going unenforced as Saddam did exactly what he liked, sniggering from his Dr-No-Bunker or wherever he ran his evil from.
I'm not actually defending the war, but that will go un-noticed. The response is always waaaayyyyy too rabid for discussing facts or opinions. If I dare to mention that some good has almost certainly come from all this too, I will be hung drawn and quartered before you can say "knee-jerk reaction." A bit of Iraqi democracy sneaking through? a little more female emancipation? Don't even go there you disgusting apologist!!
I read a very interesting report once, claiming that more lives had, at that point, been saved in Iraq (from the fall of Saddam and his mass murders and shallow graves) than had been lost through the war. This cheered me and naively, I thought others would enjoy it too. Holy-Moly! The vitriol, the scorn, the determination to ignore everything but dodgy dossiers and dubious oil claims.
Anyway, Iraq, isn't really my thing. Ambivalence sums up my position really. (Duck! Ouch! That one hurt)
For Chilcot zealots, has it ever occurred to you what Maggie might have faced over the Belgrano? Or Eden over Suez or Churchill after WWII...well, and every politician since time began who took his country into any kind of war at all? Honestly, is there a single utopian that believes that all previous wars were just and nothing even vaguely murky happened, ever?
As for Blair the PM, if I have to read one more intelligent, supposedly astute writer telling me he was just a Tory, he ran the most right wing government of all time, he was a compulsive liar, or that he appropriated the Labour Party for his own evil ends, I think my exasperation might floweth-over.
See, I lived through most of the 70s and all of the 80s and 90s, and I remember a Labour Party so split by division, damaged by militancy, and ridiculed by the country, that it was on the verge of never being elected again. The bickering, the in-fighting, the purist adherence to irrelevant dogma - yet somehow, now I'm the only Labour type to remember the collective sigh of enormous relief we felt when Blair came along with his affable ways and public charm and said it was time to win elections again.
I remember the Labour cheers of joy in the commons when the minimum wage went through or nurses salaries were raised, or health budgets were increased, or peace was achieved in Northern Ireland or civil partnerships or winter fuel payments were announced. If it were even possible for the PFI blinkers to slip, I hardly think we can call Blair's government Tory. If indeed there is a Tory government waiting to do any of those things, then even I might vote for them. Honestly, the fascism of all those free museum visits or nursery places rates eh?
The man won three consecutive elections for Labour - three!!! We'd never won two before. He won the biggest majority of all time - twice. He won us the Olympics and saved the NHS. Yes saved it. Bite me.
Of course his biggest crime was making money. And having a wife who dared to be a QC. Both unforgivable crimes, obviously. How dare he make speeches and get paid for them? How dare he buy property and call himself a socialist? And her!! Tut!! QC, married to a PM, 4 kids and she dares to use a hairdresser!!
Don't bother telling me all the "evil" things he did, I'll only ever balance them up with the good and I've heard them all before. Over and over and over until my ears drop off. It's oh-so-British to build someone up, place them on that golden pedestal, only to tear them down. But for Labour members, it's practically a condition of membership.
Of course he got things wrong. He got some things so spectacularly wrong that it is indeed embarrassing - but then so have I. That night in the arse-end of Kent downing tequila slammers springs to mind. Even so, to pretend that Blair wasn't one of the most successful domestic Prime Ministers of all time is just silly. It's like trying to argue that Wayne Rooney is a complete and utter footBALLING failure because England can't win a world cup.