Goodbye & Good Luck. Sorry.

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21st June 2012

(Updated 22nd June 2012)

FYI: blog post following is the last post, and those from previous 6 months or so, as at the blog formerly known as Keep Tony Blair For PM (no longer accessible.)

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As someone once said  “it’s hard to let go”, but needs must. I need to earn a living and this ‘hobby’ is life-consuming.

Many thanks to all who have followed this blog for the last (almost) 6 years. But, priorities, priorities. My twitter account will also be closing. My apologies in particular go to Shane & the rest of the faithful Blairites (of all parties and none) that I have had the good fortune to have met online.

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@DannyHackett: Where is Tony Blair? #assk” >Ask the expert 😉 >— @blairsupporter #topbloke We miss Blair

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It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

I know it’s not quite a funeral. Forgive me if I admit it feels a bit like that.

Those of you still interested in watching what Tony Blair is up to could do no better than follow my good friend John Rentoul if you don’t already. Recent post of his here –  ‘I’ll have that on my gravestone: “Not far wrong”’

And JR will be reporting some more on Alastair Campbell’s book launch (The Burden of Power – of which I have a signed copy – thanks Alastair) at St Mary’s University last night, organised by The Mile End Group. (Video & transcript here)

Related

Alastair Campbell on Twitter and John Rentoul at same place – Mile End Group

The best of luck to you all.

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When the Queen met President Bashar al-Assad

All blog posts 2012 + Original, from 2006 to 2012

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13th June 2012

It’s been a big week or several for Her Majesty the Queen. Ditto Bashar Assad, so-called leader of the Syrian people. But have they ever met? Well, yes, as it happens.

Excerpt from “President Assad meets Queen”

‘Syrian president Bashar Assad was meeting the Queen today, after publicly rebuffing a call from Tony Blair to shut down Palestinian terror organisations operating in his country.’

No date is given but clearly it is in regard to the December 2002 visit of the Assads to Britain.

In December 2002, President Assad & his wife Asma met the Queen in London

This topical Assad/Queen reference is here for the same reason that other things are; to balance the record.

Right from the start of Assad Junior’s rule Tony Blair was down on him with demands, expectations, hopes (all of which were to be denied) that we now had a Middle East ally who KNEW how terror-led were many of the regimes in that region. He had already been rebuffed by Assad and to the joy of our press (even though we were pre-Iraq war) humiliated publicly, as recorded here by Alastair Campbell)

Tony Blair with President Assad, & their wives in London, 2002

But don’t ever be led to believe that Tony Blair did not feel concerned that Assad was just as likely to turn out a bad un as had his father. And whatever you do, don’t expect the Daily Mail to remind you. They are scouring the internet right now to try to find the two locked in a Gaddafi-type embrace to prove whatever….

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As at Daily Mail

President Assad meets Queen

Syrian president Bashar Assad was meeting the Queen today, after publicly rebuffing a call from Tony Blair to shut down Palestinian terror organisations operating in his country.

Following an audience with the Queen, on day three of his visit to Britain, Mr Assad was meeting the Prince of Wales as well as opposition leaders Iain Duncan Smith and Charles Kennedy.

After talks with the Prime Minister in Downing Street yesterday, Mr Assad insisted that there were no Palestinian terrorists in Syria – simply “press officers”.

“Of course we don’t have in Syria what are called organisations supporting terrorism. We have press officers,” he told a joint news conference.

“These press officers represent Palestinians who live in Syria and Palestinians who live in Palestine.

“These officers express the opinions of Palestinians inside Palestine and outside Palestine. Palestinians have a right to have someone to express their opinion.

“In our country they are called press officers. They are not called terrorist organisations.”

Earlier Foreign Office Minister Mike O’Brien had expressed the Government’s concern at continuing the presence in Syria of offices of “rejectionist” groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

But despite the disagreement on the issue of the Palestinian groups, the talks appeared to have gone more smoothly than Mr Blair’s visit to Damascus last year when he was harangued by Mr Assad over the Middle East peace process.

Mr Assad, on his first official visit to Britain, said that they had agreed on most “basic issues” and spoke of his “warm personal relations” with Mr Blair.

The Prime Minister acknowledged there had been “obvious and clear” differences between them, but said that the “process of engagement” with Syria was “the right way forward”.

On Iraq, Mr Assad, who opposes military intervention, said that so far there appeared to have been “good co-operation” from the Iraqis with the United Nations weapons inspectors.

He said he was “optimistic” that conflict could be averted.

“We hope this co-operation will continue until this crisis is resolved peacefully,” he said.

Mr Blair said British officials were still studying Iraq’s declaration of its remaining weapons of mass destruction programmes which was submitted to the UN on December 7 and awaiting the report of the chief weapons inspector Hans Blix.

“The inspectors should be allowed to carry out their work. We have made it clear that if there is a breach (of the UN resolution), then action should follow,” he said.

In the Commons later Mr Blair announced that he had invited leading Palestinians to London next month to discuss reform of the Palestinian Authority.

The aim is to ensure that if American-brokered peace talks do achieve a breakthrough, the Palestinian Authority will be sufficiently strengthened to take on its allotted role.

“It is in the interests of both the Palestinians and Israelis that these reform efforts succeed, so that we can make a reality of President Bush’s vision of two states – Israel and Palestine -living side by side in peace and security,” he said.

Representatives of the US, the UN, the European Union and Russia will also attend the talks along with officials from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The exact date and venue for the meeting – which will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw – have yet to be decided.

Mr Straw said the meeting with leading Palestinians in London next month would be “medium level” but “a step in the right direction”.

He told Channel 4 News: “There are some obvious practical difficulties, to put it mildly, about all the leadership of the Palestinians coming to London.

“But we nonetheless think that this is a useful contribution to a process of reform of the Palestinian Authority, of Palestinian institutions, which is essential, first of all to improve the conditions of the Palestinians at present.

“When there is a ceasefire and a better future for the Palestinians as there will have to be, then improvements in their institutions will be of paramount importance to delivering to the Palestinian people the new expectations for their future which will have been generated.”

Mr Straw said there was no pretence that Britain saw eye to eye with Syria on everything, but added: “As a result of the kind of active diplomacy … in which we have been engaged with Syria, we are much closer together and there’s a much better common understanding.”

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So there we have it. We can but try with such as Assad, as we did with Gaddafi. Once they start killing their own people they must know they’re on their own.

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Gordon Brown at Leveson. Did he lie under oath? If so, Lord Justice Leveson, Sir…?

All blog posts 2012 + Original, from 2006 to 2012

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11th June 2012

From a tweep:

Stephen Bush@stephenkb

Wait, Gordon Brown didn’t plot to remove Blair? So TB remained in office and Labour won the 2010 election? Well, that’s good news. #leveson

Yes, if only.

If I were a disinterested observer of Mr Brown, I’d have applauded some, perhaps most of what he said today at Leveson. Very few of us could fail to sympathise with how the Sun treated him and his family over his son’s illness. Few of us can really believe that they would have gladly given permission for his condition to be broadcast to the world at a time when it seems they hadn’t told many in their own family. It is clear that either he lied or Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brookes did.

The thought does cross my mind as to why Paul Dacre’s paper The Daily Mail also used this story. Since they were such good friends, couldn’t Dacre have rung Gordon to check if he was happy about it?

Who leaked on Fraser Brown’s cystic fibrosis?

“We now accept that it is highly likely that, sometime in 2006, a member of staff in NHS Fife spoke, without authorisation, about the medical condition of Mr Brown’s son, Fraser.” 

One up to Mr Brown.

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Of course that is not the only issue over which Mr Brown is accused of being illiberal with the verity.

He also denied “declaring war” on Rupert Murdoch. And Murdoch stands by his story. So far, so many more (possibly) guilty of perjury?

According to Guido Fawkes, at the Leveson inquiry today Gordon Brown “lied and lied and lied”. He quotes others’ tweets on this. I won’t pretend I am always happy with Guido’s site. But he is invariably quick off the mark and clearly has his ‘sources’.  It’s just such a pity that his right-wing commenters are unutterably lowlife. Never mind censoring the media. Censor the ignorant, ranting, half-sane commenters.

Here’s Guido choice tweeps on this:

He Lied and Lied and Lied

overheard at RCJ veteran hack: either the police or men in white coats should be waiting for GB when he finishes.

Were his aides involved in trying to force Blair out. ‘I would hope not’. Did he say they could ‘No.’ Does he know he is on oath?

Gordon Brown’s comments on the activities of his press aides are prompting gasps of incredulity in the parliamentary lobby.

Wow. He ‘didn’t know’ about the September ’06 plot. Wow. My ghast is well and truly flabbered

No one on the Lobby corridor is even laughing at this display of disingenuous nonsense. The only sound is jaws hitting the floor

“We cannot learn the lessons about the media unless there is some honesty involved”. Well quite.

What will James Gordon Brown’s father think? Ex PM swore on bible to tell truth

One is forced to conclude GB has a problem facing reality.

Guilty, m’Lord.

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