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Sir Tony Blair: Bloody Knight of the Realm

Awards and honours bestowed by States or private committees, republican or monarchical, are bound to be corrupted by considerations of hypocrisy, racketeering and general, chummy disposition. From the Nobel Peace Prize to the range of eccentric and esoteric orders bestowed each year in Britain by Her Majesty, diddling and manipulating is never far behind. You are bestowed such things as a reminder of your worth to the establishment rather than your unique contribution to the good quotient of humanity. Flip many a peace prize over and you are bound to find the smouldering remains of a war criminal’s legacy.

The recently knighted Tony Blair is certainly not one to bother. His name appeared in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list, having been made a Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. “It is an immense honour,” came the statement from the foundation that bears his name, “to be appointed Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen.”

Others begged to differ. Within hours, a petition launched by Angus Scott calling for the rescission of the award garnered thousands of signatures. (To date, the number is 755,879.) The award, says the petition, is “the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.” It asserts that Blair “caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society. He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.”

The evangelical Blair of war adventurism will be forever associated with Iraq’s invasion in 2003, though most current commentary avoids his role in promoting humanitarian imperialism in NATO’s bombing of Serbia in 1999. (Never one to be too firmly attached to his ideals, Blair is currently advising the government of President Aleksandar Vučić who, as information minister of the Milošević regime, knew a thing or two in how to demonise Muslim Kosovars.)

The Chilcot inquiry into the origins of the Iraq War did not openly challenge the legality of the Iraq invasion in 2003 by Coalition forces but noted that Saddam Hussein posed no immediate threat to Western states. It was also clear that peaceful options had not been exhausted. The slippery Blair preferred another reading. “The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit.”

Sir Tony’s performance before the Chilcot inquiry should be, for students of legal history, placed alongside that of Hermann Göring at the International Military Tribunal proceedings at Nuremberg in 1946. The latter’s sparring with the poorly briefed US Supreme Court justice turned prosecutor Robert Jackson was eminently superior, but the recently ennobled one could play the trained politician wary of being implicated in past misdeeds.

Defenders of Sir Tony can be found in the ranks, all of whom essentially follow institutional logic. The Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey insisted that calls to rescind the knighthood showed disrespect for the Queen. Sir Keir Starmer, his crown as Labour leader looking increasingly unsettled, defended the knighthood as rightfully earned, Blair having “made Britain a better country.”

Others preferred to see Blair’s critics as incurably diseased. “Blair Derangement Syndrome is a curious malady,” charges a smug Jack Kessler of The Evening Standard. Kessler’s point is sensible enough: The entire honours system is slimed and soiled, so much so that getting upset about Blair as the “least deserving” of recipients is an act of meaningless stroppiness.

Consider the entire awards system to begin with. “From major donors to political parties to chief executives of soon-to-be insolvent banks, even a cursory glance at the history of our honours system would suggest this is somewhat of a reach.”

Kessler’s parlour room logic presumes that a person party to what was described by the victors of the Second World War as a crime against peace can somehow be equated to rewarding banksters for financial misconduct or wealthy donors. It certainly cannot be equated to King George V’s decision to make Lord Lonsdale a Knight of the Garter in 1928 in what was described at the time by a courtier as “sheer tomfoolery.”

Others are simply indifferent to the culpability of a figure who richly deserves a grilling in the dock of the International Criminal Court. (So much for the liberal international order of things, including the rule of law.) The Spectator, through a piece by Stephen Daisley, shuns the issue, merely acknowledging Blair’s shabby treatment of Parliament, his “unduly presidential” manner, or a “New Labour project” spun to bankrupt politics. These are deemed valid criticisms but hardly an impediment to receiving a knighthood.

For Daisley, Blair Derangement Syndrome is a condition that must be rebuffed, rebuked and repudiated. “Blair’s gravest sin, what he cannot and must not and will not be forgiven for, is that he won.” He led his country “with moral imagination and personal fortitude and left Britain fairer, healthier, more modern and more at ease with itself.” Pity the same cannot be said of Iraq or Afghanistan.

It should be noted that this line of reasoning is entirely acceptable to a magazine that used to be edited by the current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and who made the Labour Prime Minister its 2002 Parliamentarian of the Year despite him showing an utter contempt for Parliament. “It is hard to think of another party leader who, for eight years, has exercised such unchallenged dominance of the political landscape,” Johnson declared at the award ceremony.

It was the classic affirmation that the Tories had, if only vicariously, won through the guise of one Blair. Johnson, for his part, publicly mused that the award could aggravate the Cain-Abel relationship between Blair and his Chancellor Gordon Brown, “all other strategies so far having proved not wholly successful.”

The justifications advanced by Daisley have been used for leaders past who made the trains run on time, built spiffy, smooth roads for vehicles (military and civilian) and ensured that everything operated to a neat schedule, irrespective of whether death camps or slave labour were involved. Many made the mistake of losing the wars they began, facing noose, poison or firing squad.

In the British context, where the benevolent, benign ruler assumes the force of majesty, the latitude for forgiveness is even greater. Reducing colonies to penury, aiding the conditions of famine, initiating social experiments that distorted and destroyed, molested and plundered extant, thriving and sovereign cultures, has never been accounted for in a court of law, international or domestic. In the absence of a hanging judge, it has been deemed fitting that any such figures be given knighthoods and rendered into statuary instead.

 

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17 comments

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  1. Phil Pryor

    History is full of pages of names of those who should have been shot, hanged, beheaded, drawn, quartered, but who became “nobles”, “conquerors”, “emperors”, and many more are walking today’s pathways…

  2. Baby Jewels

    Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Blithering idiots.

  3. Jack Cade

    An interesting debate on a UK radio show. Because Blair was widely praised for his intervention in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, he began – they posited – to develop a Messianic complex and thought the entirely desirable removal of Saddam Hussein would give him a glorious hattrick. So – they suggested – Blair went into Iraq with good intentions, based on information provided to a borderline simpleton US President by that ultimate oxymoron – US Intelligence.
    Maybe it was too late when he found out he was duped.
    He is worth upwards of £100 million, but his reputation is now all but destroyed. Most polls suggest the ‘people’ now love him as much as the North of England reveres Thatcher – a baroness, no less – whose death prompted the BBC to ban the playing of Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead!’ Despite millions of requests to play it.
    By the way – the Order of the Knicker Elastic is, actually, the personal gift of Betty Battenberg herself, unprompted, not just a recommendation by Old Etonian’s in the House of Lords.

  4. John Hermann

    Appointing honours and awards to people of this sort only serves to dishonour the institution that offers awards for reasons other than actual and demonstrated achievement (i.e. achievement that happens to be in the interest of society as a whole). It also dishonours the monarchy, which is the instrument through which these awards are distributed.

  5. Phil Pryor

    John H suggests the monarchy might have been dishonoured by these awards. Ever since William the effing Murderer, Thief, Liar, Oppressor, Coercer, Occupier took it ALL, the effing LOT, the dishonourable monarchy has shored itself up by recruiting the greedy, ambitious, vain and hollow with awards, largesse, posing, propping, positioning, preferments, promotions.

  6. Michael Taylor

    John Howard will be wanting an honorary knighthood now.

  7. GL

    Sir John of the Hairy Caterpillar Eyebrows Howard?

  8. corvusboreus

    Ser John-Winston, honorary knight of the Order of the Shriveled Scrote.

    I’d be happy to provide a sword for the dubbing.

  9. leefe

    Honi soit qui mal y pense – the motto of the knights of the garter, generally loosely translated as “evil to him who evil thinks”, a phrase most definitely applicable to all those who promoted the invasion of Iraq on ludicrously spurious grounds.
    Except we’re still waiting for the evil to befall Blair, Howard et al …

  10. paul walter

    The honours list is a crafty old psychological bonding mechanism. Defining characteristic of our most prominent politicians and social leaders are not there for purported reasons, the myth is that they represent “us”. People could miss the various shopfront politicians are usually operative in the interest of folk whose aims are inimical to ourselves and hence folk of sense and sensibility.

    Barthes described it and it is indeed of the exact sort of humbuggery species sixty years ago.

    The architecture is exquisite Rococo.

    What a thing culture is, a basket of contradictories that creates a sense of social location. I am ok, operate within a cultural milieu, with its shared, binding symbols and modes for experience, consciousness and conscious communication. But there is a social mechanism a cognitive dissonance that somehow blurs lines and the accompanying dialect of society that goes with it during time. How does it ignore the inequalities between developing world nations and the comfortable West. (for ids sake). Rose coloured glasses and some times crafty producers of a false image manifesting a sort of conversation, dialogue, to trade defence/offence indicating a little but not a lot of agency`, any more than we tardigrades exist within like a soup.

    “some where, some way”, is a rainbow sensory aspect of the experience and the glow can keep large portions of the public hooked in timelessness, eg the Pentecostals and Fundamentalists, sedated from questioning via a plethora of mechanisms enculturated since infancy.

    So the Honours List is just one of many ways of creating a self propagating mechanism and a plausible simulacrum in which a-society perhaps actually lives, for the observer perhaps as laughable as all the crabs, worms so on in their lives he sees in a an hour.

    So people have to decipher if possible and decode and interpret and analyse and explain (within) a ginormous living reality, what happens next based on what happened previously leading into complex almost this limitless set of possibilities.

    What is the individual against such forces?

    So it is for a structure that it exists and it does not matter, yet on another level does. It is queried, the conscious individual can’t move without deciding yet what/where is choice on several levels. Even considering the stuff that goes on with the Bible Belts, there is an urge to know human and how badly the damage elsewhere done and also seen in the results any/everywhere for an amazing picture when you think on it with its mentality says “own” and comes conflict.

    I think the primitive earthworm part buried way back in the cortex still moves, searching, so we will inevitably try to cheat and just even be, and there fore SO MUCH of a primitive culture’s energy is concerned with controlling everything else. These things take time.

  11. New England Cocky

    Hmmm ….. I wonder if they consulted Rupert before that award was made. Oops!! How silly of me!! The Poms rarely consult foreigners from the Anglophone or Asia about any matter.

  12. wam

    I saw a skit somewhere?? with the queen about to knight a twit like Blair or the rodent when she stops mid-sword and says ‘No!! One has to draw a line somewhere. Well Lizzie here is your line.
    ps
    Baby jewels note the use of ‘honourable’ by our politicians. With synonyms of honest, moral, ethical there are few who deserve the title????

  13. Michael Taylor

    wam, whenever I did a ministerial (write a reply to a letter sent to the minister) it almost made me puke to write; “Dear Mr Wam, thank you for your letter to the Honourable Joe Hockey MP etc etc.”

    It was the “Honourable” bit that got me. I doubt there was a public servant in our department who thought the buffoon was honourable. Or any other minister, for that matter.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Some of the letters to Howard were a real hoot, but due to the repeated profanities they ended up in the bin and weren’t replied to.

    I mumbled a quiet “Oh FFS” over one letter that thanked him for keeping our borders safe. But the bulk of the letters were usually telling him to go root himself (to put it mildly).

  15. corvusboreus

    To me the giggliest bit of royal-parliamentarian interaction over the last bunch of years was the inherent faux-pas in Tony from straya bestowing a knighthood upon Prince Phillip, Consort Royal to HM QE2 (aka ‘Bessy Bluehair’) Monarch Regnant of the United Kingdoms.

    Royalty kneeleth so commoner may dub.

    Was Abbott…

    A) deliberately committing a surprisingly progressive act of subversion upon Britano-monarchal traditions (trolling).

    or

    B) attempting to smarm through flattery in a way too obliviously incompetent to realise inherent potential for offense (stoopid).

    I know my guess.

  16. corvusboreus

    As for Scrotty Morrison, he has already been been anointed and elevated in status by the Fraternal Order of the Swinging Dicks.

    The Swinging Dicks are a knightly band fraternal big on rootin’ ’round whilst on noble crusades.

    Their sigil is crowing rooster atop scorched dungheap, with rampant flies attendent.

  17. john ocallaghan

    Thank you Dr Kampmark for writing the truth about this most obnoxious creature and mass murderer called Tony Blair….. The MSM would never have the intestinal fortitude or the permission to print the truth about this monster….. congratulations if that is the right word to yourself and AIM for your courage in telling the truth about these depraved monsters and their sycophantic boot licking enablers………… I salute you all! …..

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