Tony Blair Launches Two Major Programmes In Kosovo

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19th June 2012

Blair: “It means a lot to me for my Foundation to have this partnership with the American University of Kosovo and the University of Pristina. But it means more to me on a personal level; I saw first-hand what happened here and I did what I could with others to make things better.”

Remember what Tony Blair did in Kosovo? Related links at foot of this post, if you don’t.

Tony Blair launches two major programmes in Kosovo

Rt Hon. Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister and Founder and Patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation today launched two major new programmes as part of his Faith Foundation’s work.

He celebrated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Kosovo and his Foundation which will implement the Foundation’s global schools programme Face to Faith in Kosovan schools and be incorporated into the development of the national curriculum.  The programme will provide a transformative experience for Kosovan students to be affiliated globally, without overlooking their national aspirations, and help Kosovan students and teachers to develop deeper dialogue and negotiation skills.

Tony Blair also inaugurated the partnership between the his Foundation’s global network of leading universities, the Faith and Globalisation Initiative (FGI) and two of Kosovo’s prominent universities, the University of Pristina and the American University of Kosovo. The partnership will help current policy makers and future leaders understand the role religion plays in areas where there are, or have been, both political and religious tensions. In Kosovo, and the wider region, the impact of the globalisation is affecting the country and its faith communities at an ever faster pace – and it is crucial to understand it.

Tony Blair, Founder and Patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation said:

Kosovo is a country with challenges but it is going places. You are open to the future and open to new ideas. It is an honour and privilege to be here today. It means a lot to me for my Foundation to have this partnership with the American University of Kosovo and the University of Pristina. But it means more to me on a personal level; I saw first-hand what happened here and I did what I could with others to make things better. What this country has to learn is significant but what others can learn from you is more significant. I believe there is a way to have intense pride in your nation whilst at the same time having an open mind to the rest of the world.

In this era of globalisation, societies are changing, Europe is changing.  Don’t be frightened of change instead see it as an opportunity. This coming together of different religions and cultures can enrich a country and be a source of strength. But the forces it can also lead to conflict and fear which we have witnessed in the past. If people have problems in dialogue then we need to learn how to resolve this. This is what my Faith Foundation’s universities network, the Faith and Globalisation Initiative aims to achieve in this region: examine the role of faith in more depth. In Kosovo, and the wider region, the impact of the globalisation is affecting the country and its faith communities in transformative ways– and it is vital to understand and hear those perspectives.  The University of Pristina and the American University of Kosovo will provide those valuable insights.

Most of the conflicts in the world today have a religious dimension. The purpose of interfaith is not to diminish specific faiths but to gain understanding. The more you understand someone the more likely you are to live in harmony with them. People of a faith need to take responsibility for religion; preventing it from being misused as a weapon of destruction. Harmony between faiths works better than conflict.

The Kosovan Government’s commitment to incorporate our schools’ programme Face to Faith in the development of the national curriculum, shows how seriously they take the advancement of the next generation – and I am excited about its future.”

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Blair: Balkans – work in progress…

Excerpt: Kosovo is going in good direction, said today in Pristina the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Pristina: “Kosovo over the last decade has seen significant progress. Yes it is clear. But there is also a lot to do”, stressed at today’s press conference held in Pristina former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

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Tony Blair to Germany: Stand by euro. To Cameron: Get in there

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14th June 2012

The FT’s Lionel Barber has this very interesting article from The Man, in Jerusalem –

Blair calls on Germany to stand by euro

Tony Blair has delivered a stark warning of a popular backlash against austerity policies in the euro-zone ahead of this Sunday’s re-run election in Greece.

“You look at what the Greeks are being asked to accept: it’s beyond tough,” Mr Blair said in an interview with the Financial Times in Jerusalem.

The former long-standing UK prime minister, a self-professed pro-European, said the risk of unrest applied to Europe as a whole. “In the end, what people will ask is: ‘Is the single currency worth it if that’s what we’re being asked to accept’.”

Mr Blair’s said the remedy should be a “grand bargain” between Germany and the rest of Europe to rescue the single currency. This would involve a pooling of European debt and a new push for growth, matched by deficit reduction through pension and welfare reforms.

[…]

He added that the euro would survive in some form even if the present 17-member set-up collapsed. The euro was central to Europe’s ambitions to be a power on the world stage: “I have no doubt that the single currency makes sense.”

Mr Blair steered clear of directly endorsing a European-wide banking union, as proposed by José Manuel Barroso, European commission president. But he made clear that Britain had to play an active role in negotiations on the next phase of European integration, even though he refuse to say whether this would involve a referendum.

“I am not going to criticise the prime minister…But If Britain were absent, we would be opting out of an incredibly important decision. The important thing is this: Britain has got to put itself in a position where it can play a part in what will be a reconstruction of Europe.”

Mr Blair’s proposals will cause unease in the UK coalition government where Conservatives are loath to sign up to an economic union. The government says it is opposed to making British taxpayers liable for recapitalising eurozone banks or putting major British banks under the watch of an EU authority.

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When the Queen met President Bashar al-Assad

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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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‘Tony Blair was right’ – Parts 2 & 3

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13th June 2012

A superfluity of “rightness”

First I noticed this from my friend John Rentoul on twitter:  Hugo Rifkind – “Gordon Brown’s brazen mangling of opinion and fact” or, to get to my point “Things Tony Blair Was Right About”

I used it here yesterday – quote: “the ones he was right about … academies, civil partnerships, the NHS. I shan’t go on because it upsets me, but on Monday it happened again. Because Blair was also right, I now realise, about the failings of the British press. And Brown isn’t.’

But these right things just keep pouring in.

There was this on 7th June Tony Blair was right (Btw, he certainly “meant to”!)

‘Speaking at the Leveson Inquiry, Tony Blair said something quite prescient, though he might not have meant to. “You can’t disagree with anyone in politics now… and the environment in which media and politicians now work is more raw, brutal and crude in terms of interaction.” His sentiments were perfectly emphasised by someone who, of all things, would like least to support an argument made by Blair – David Lawley-Wakelin, the anti-war protestor who breached security at the court and accused the former Prime Minister of war crimes.

Lawley-Wakelin’s tirade epitomises exactly what Blair was talking about – that we can’t simply disagree with the decisions our representatives make, now we have to demonise them. Blair was focusing on what Lord Leveson called the “fusion of news and comment” in the media, but the increasingly polarised nature of British politics has been spilling over into the public arena of protest for some time now.’

And on 10th June there was this referring to Jeremy Vine’s encounter with Tony Blair in 1997, here

Vine was replying to this question:

You worked as a Westminster correspondent for a long time. And you were on the Blair battle-bus in 1997, weren’t you?

‘I interviewed Tony Blair five or six times, but it’s off-air conversations that matter. Once, on the bus, he said: “I like tea” and I said: “I like tea, too” and then he said something like: “I hear you’re a Christian, Jeremy” and I said: “I’m just struggling, you know” and he said: “It’s the most important thing in my life.” And then I said: “Don’t you feel that actually the big stuff like what you’re going to do when you get into power is much less important than the small stuff, which is how you treat your next-door neighbour?” I realised that was a bad analogy because his neighbour was Gordon Brown. But he said: “I completely agree.”‘

Tony Blair, therefore, was also right about another thing: his deeply held religious belief.  It didn’t just manifest itself as a convenient ‘purge to his conscience‘ after Iraq.

Right?

Right.

Any more for any more?

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

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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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(Re-published) Police – The State We’re In. Leveson/Press/Politicians

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21st May 2012

I just found the below in my archives and thought I should re-publish it. It is a compilation of some posts at this blog from January to November 2007, a particularly hot time for Tony Blair and his colleagues. Its contents may have some relevance today as Peter Mandelson made it clear at the Leveson Inquiry that he believes John Yates personally leaked information to the press as the Cash for Honours debacle of an investigation did its worst. (Most recent at top.) I’ve noticed that some of the links below no longer work. Interesting that.

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16th November 2007

A few quick updates:

1. The Met continues to have its worries over whether or not another Blair should be given the chop! Sir Ian Blair, Met Commissioner, following the Jean de Menezes affair. He shouldn’t go. Like the other Blair, we need him.

2. And, the Cash For Honours fiasco cost the taxpayer almost one and a half million pounds!

3. And Jonathan Evans, Head of MI5 is telling us what the politicians, in hock to the liberal press and the inner-city Muslim vote, are afraid to tell us. We are under long and short-term threat from jihadist brainwashers.

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26th Sep, 2007: Updated link:tb_19july03_kelly.jpg

John Humphrys interview of Tony Blair, February 2nd 2007. “I’m not going to beg for my character”. [Note: This audio link may not work. BBC loses things! See transcript here]

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Friday 20th July, 2007

IT’S OVER, MR BLAIR

As I write the CPS have made their official announcements on the ending of this ‘cash for peerages’ inquiry. So THIS time the leakers were on the ball. I expect it genuinely HAS ended. Should bl***y well think so too.

“Insufficient evidence” it seems, according to some in the press. Sounds unlikely and inaccurate reporting that. Couldn’t be, could it, from our trustworthy press?

GB/PM seems to want to draw a line under all of Tony Blair’s time in office, or perhaps a line THROUGH Blair’s time in office! In April 2007 the file went from the Met to the CPS. Mr Blair was questioned again, for a third term but not under caution, so he was never likely to be charged.

To be fair to the police, this £1,000,000+ inquiry, once it had started, was bound to go on until it had reached a conclusion. Whether they were wise to pursue this particularly high-profile inquiry I’m sure they will be wondering.

The bottom line to me has been that some kind of quid pro quo has been the norm for centuries as regards peerages. In the absence of full public political funding, and people do NOT seem to want to pay for democracy through taxes, that is to be expected.

Was it an SNP-inspired political stunt as Tony McNulty insists? Possibly. If so it was irresponsible, since Angus MacNeil should have known that it could have brought down a Prime Minister and a whole government. And this was the government that had already made changes in party funding and in Lords reform – not BECAUSE of SNP allegations, but well BEFORE that.

“Why is nothing going to happen after ALL this time, paperwork and money?” said Angus Robinson, of the SNP.

You might well ask.

This government – hardly the worst abusers of all time.

HOW DAMAGING?

We will have to wait to see; but suffice it to say that the usual climate is that politicians are not trusted by many at the best of times.

The “whiter than white” hopes of Tony Blair on coming into Downing Street were a rod for his own back, of course. But it is shameful that he goes down in history as the ONLY sitting prime minister ever to have been questioned by the police. And not just once, but three times.

It’s been damaging – VERY damaging. And for me, losing my trusted prime minister under this cloud has made me question the propriety of the Scottish Nationalist party, the Press and even the Police.

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Sunday 29th April, 2007

BEWARE Yates, warns Palace

Following the Paul Burrell case on the late Princess Diana’s artefacts, an inquiry investigated by Assistant Commissioner John Yates, The Observer reveals that Buckingham Palace was severely rattled by Yates’s approach.

It is understood the Queen’s Private Secretary, Sir Robin Janvrin told Jonathan Powell, the PM’s Chief of Staff, that they were unhappy with Yates’s “dogged approach” during the Burrell investigation. Powell was told that John Yates turned the royal household inside out during the Burrell affair.

Yates’s handling of the investigation that led to the trial of Paul Burrell, the former butler to the late Diana, Princess of Wales on charges that he stole some of her property, angered the Palace. The Palace felt badly bruised by the trial, which collapsed in 2002 after the Queen recalled a conversation with Burrell in which he said he was keeping some of the princess’s effects.A well-placed source claimed: ‘Jonathan was told Yates is a menace.’

Number 10 has probably realised that. In fact we have all been told that Yates is terrier-like in his tenacity. That’s been interpreted as a “good thing”; someone not intimidated by anyone at the top of government, even the PM. Someone who was “just following the leads”.

But Yates lost the Burrell case after all that work. And there is nothing quite so grizzly as a terrier with a bone in its mouth, who has had it removed – not just once, but twice.

One day we might ask if Yates was the right one to pursue the cash-for-honours investigation at all.

  • Was he able to distance himself objectively from the failure in the Burrell case after the last-minute high-level recollection by the Queen, whereupon the case collapsed?
  • Would he have been determined to compensate for that earlier failure?
  • For instance, were his interviews of the Prime Minister to make sure that Mr Blair would be less likely to recall something at the last minute to throw the whole case?
  • In other words would his investigations be fair and proportionate as well as thorough?

I expect one day we’ll hear something about how Downing Street was turned upside down by Yates’s men in the great Quest for Truth and Justice that will go down in history as –

  • *Tony Blair – First Prime Minister Questioned by Police – and TWICE*

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Thursday 26th April, 2007

Tracing The Leak – Wet Fingers?

Today the word is out that Scotland Yard itself, or members of, might have been leaking on the Birmingham terror event. And the Home Secretary has denied in a letter that anything was leaked from his department. So the Conservatives might have been running their fingers along the wrong pipework, going for the Government yesterday in Parliament. Today David Cameron is trying to make mileage out of the fact that Tony Blair said “no” to Cameron’s demand into an inquiry into this. What else is he going to say? “Yes, OK”? A week before the local elections? Come on, Mr Cameron. We can see right through you.

As I have said before, the leakers are not all necessarily in the government. The police and press are equally likely to be culpable. After Mr Blair goes, the next PM will have greater motivation and fewer constraints to getting to the bottom of this tripartite and powerful relationship. With the cash-for-honours nonsense still ongoing, and elections in the air, this is not the time.

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Wednesday 25th April, 2007

DAC Peter Clarke is complaining about leaks around the January Birmingham case, where several were arrested but as yet, no-one has been charged. The implication being drawn is that someone connected to the government is the leaker. Whether that is what he meant to imply, only he knows, and he has said he implied nothing. But it does make me wonder; if, as he says, the leak “endangered life” why, if these men (or the leak) were so dangerous, hasn’t someone been charged with the Birmingham “beheading video”? Can’t have it both ways. They were either dangerous or innocent.

Who is distracting whom here. It’s bad enough that the opposition parties are using this for electoral advantage at this time, but worse still if the police are using it to cover up their inability to progress with charges against these “dangerous'” men. Hhmm..mm

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Thursday 15th March, 2007

Inspector Yates today implied that he is going to go on and on, with no time limit on his inquiry. So that’s that then. Shut up and do as you’re told, the British government. You know who’s in charge. Click here for latest news

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Friday 9th March, 2007

Who Runs This Joint?

Well, it’s not QUITE a police state, but I’m still very concerned about the length of time they have taken to find “villains” in this destructive inquiry. Perhaps there aren’t any! At last MPs are beginning to raise this question. What kept them? Who runs this joint anyway? It seems they wish Inspector Yates to appear before their committee. Having suspended their own inquiry into the cash-for-honours issue last May, they, like the rest of us, had a right to expect that the police would have dismissed or got to the bottom of this by now. And now the Met, and particularly Yates, are getting desperate. And desperate men are not the most reliable.

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Sunday, 4th March, 2007

Following the Attorney General’s injunction to the BBC to prevent the broadcast of a ‘cash-for-honours” report, speculation is rife as to how long before charges are brought, on what and against whom. It seems the police are unhappy about “leaking” of e-mail information which, it seems, they hold as evidence against members of the Prime Minister’s inner circle.

Three questions come to my mind.

1 Do the police know for sure and without reasonable doubt that No 10 was leaking to the BBC?

2 How did No 10 know about this imminent police angle on the e-mail? Is it a recent development or long-standing?

3 Could this be a police ‘double bluff’ – with the police doing the leaking but blaming it on No 10? If the police suspect the e-mail evidence to be too flimsy to hold up, it is not beyond imagination that they are attempting to spread unfounded rumours of No 10 dirty tricks. Then No 10, or those associated, might be tempted to incriminate themselves, so breaking SOME law or other. The police know you use a sprat to catch a mackerel. And while I’m in this metaphorical mode, as someone once said, “you must lose a fly to catch a trout”.

Remember, the injunction is still in place, so every party is (presumably) gagged. Does that apply to the police too?

Powers of Arrest – Citizen’s Arrest

I’ve been thinking about this powers of arrest business, both from the police point of view and from the angle of a “citizen’s arrest” arising from this page.

When the honours suspects were arrested I couldn’t quite see why they needed to be arrested at all. And this BBC website seems to confirm that it was a bit over-the-top in the cases of those particular individuals, as they were hardly likely to abscond! But, it seems that the police have wide powers of arrest, though you could have fooled some of us, when we watch some criminals being cautioned gently rather than arrested. The BBC site says:

“In reality, this means that the police have almost unlimited powers of arrest if they choose to exercise it. Unless you are carrying some kind of identity card, any offence could be regarded as arrestable.”

So, if they all had identity cards, and so could have confirmed their identity, perhaps they would not have been arrested!? I don’t think so somehow. The reason for the arrests had less to do with identification than with making some sort of statement, in my humble opinion.tb1.jpg

The “citizen’s arrest” is something else which has aroused my interest. A BNP member’s website, from which I have quoted here, seems to be hinting at this legal process. (At least I THINK that’s what it’s hinting at!)

“To paraphrase another serial killer, George W. Bush, if we can’t bring Tony Blair to justice, we must bring justice to Tony Blair.”

Citizen’s Arrest – as on the BBC site

The police are not the only people with the power to make an arrest. Although there have been some highly publicised cases which suggest the power of the individual citizen is strictly limited, the law still recognises a citizen’s arrest. So a member of the public may arrest someone who is committing an arrestable offence such as theft or assault, or suspects that such an offence has been committed. They are allowed to use reasonable force in doing so.

What exactly is “reasonable force”? And is a citizen’s arrest limited to such as “theft or assault”, presumably in which someone is caught red-handed? If so, the Conspirators on this page, with their ideas of justice, can put their ‘cuffs away . By the way, how many “citizens’ arrests” are made annually in this country? If you have any idea, please let me know.

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Thursday 8th February, 2007

All leaks sorted! Wonder if the plumber will need to be called again any time soon?

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Tuesday 6th February, 2007

The CPS has said there is insufficient evidence to press charges on Des Smith, the headteacher questioned by police at the beginning of the whole sorry business.

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Monday 5th February, 2007

Leaks, leaks and yet more leaks. Somebody has a retention problem! The Times is today’s villain of the piece.

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Saturday 4th February, 2007

Iain Duncan Smith has gone up in my estimation. On Radio 4’s “Any Questions” he had the audacity to question the Police’s handling of this inquiry focusing so heavily as it has done, on the Prime Minister. Glad to see one member of parliament not afraid to raise his head above the parapet.At some stage in the future, perhaps we can expect more of this reasonable reaction from others. Come to think of it – I think that blond, mad but likable Tory – Boris Johnson said something about the length of time it is all taking on Andrew Neil’s sofa politics programme last night. You know, the one with Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott – This Week(?)So there you are then. I’m not the only one who’s noticed this police treatment of the PM as though he is beneath the law and can be treated any way, any how. So far the complainants have both been Conservatives! What’s going on here? Would they like Mr Blair to take over their party. Replace the Clone with Tone?

Friday 2nd February, 2007pm-sweden.jpg

The police have released a statement backing up the Prime Minister’s stated reasons for the news blackout over his interview last Friday. It was at police request and for operational reasons.  The Metropolitan Police issued a statement saying:

“The prime minister has been interviewed briefly to clarify points emerging from the ongoing investigation. He was interviewed as a witness, not as a suspect and co-operated fully.

“We requested the meeting was kept confidential for operational reasons. We are not prepared to discuss further.”

And in an interview with John Humphrys on Radio 4’s “Today” programme the PM touched on some of the questions of his authority raised by the continuing inquiry as well as on matters of policy which he would like to complete before his time in office is over.

Video & Audio Reports

Update to this – added 26 September, 2007.

This Humphrys interview below seems to have disappeared from the web! If anyone has a copy please let me know. In the meantime, listen to this report by the BBC’s Mark Sanders on the issue.

Radio 4 Interview with John Humphrys – Audio (27m 33s)

JH – “You could say, ‘I’m going to put an end to it’ … and then it wouldn’t be about Tony Blair the Prime Minister, would it? That’s the point. Why not stand down now?”

PM – “It’s not a very democratic way to decide who the prime minister is …”

JH – “You’ve already decided that, you’ve said that you’re going.” So why not stand down – why not put an end to it all?”

PM – “Because I don’t think that’s the right way to do it and I think it would be particularly wrong to do it before the inquiry has run its course … so you’ll have to put up with me a bit longer”.

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BBC News Video clip – Mark Sanders (1min 41sec)

TB – “I’m not going to beg for my character in front of anyone”.

MS – “Mr Blair blames the media for making a meal out of the affair”.blair_300×3880.jpg


Thursday 1st February, 2007

BLACKOUT Order by Police

The PM’s second interview as a witness is now public knowledge. The interview took place last Friday, four days before that of Lord Levy. It is important that we understand that Scotland Yard insisted that the interview was to be kept secret until today for “operational reasons”. This blackout was not the Government’s or the Prime Minister’s choice. In fact, it seems that very few people knew about the interview, most of the PM’s staff included.

Now I know the political climate is such that NOTHING concerning the PM is taken at face value. But if the Police made this confidential request, which they have confirmed today, Mr Blair can take none of the blame for this withholding of information. The press are making much of this, as you might expect. They feel their noses out of joint. They criticise the fact that the PM’s official spokesman did not tell them anything at the daily press briefings (though it is clear that he was also kept behind the Police blackout order). If the Police wanted knowledge of the interview kept back “for operational reasons” and they were subsequently “completely satisfied” with Mr Blair’s co-operation, the resultant press furore is perhaps evidence that even the Police realise the damage their extensive and extended inquiry is causing through news commentary.

As to whether the goings-on have any underlying purpose from the Police’s viewpoint, I think the jury, no pun intended, is still out. I was expecting to read a statement by the Police as mentioned on No 10’s website today, but have as yet been unable to find one on The Met’s website, or elsewhere. Are the Police preparing the ground for an announcement that there will be no charges? Newsnight tonight raised this viewpoint as “from sources”. If so, their arguments could follow this line:“We interviewed the PM as a witness in December and then, tbquestioned(since the damage had already been done to his reputation – [though I doubt if that was a concern of theirs] ) again last Friday. Our questions have been answered satisfactorily. The other chief suspects in this investigations have also answered all of our questions. We have done all we can and will provide the CPS with our (limited) information. It is then in the hands of the Crown Prosecution Service to decide if there is a case to answer. Our investigation can no longer be accused of interfering with the smooth running of government.

Click here to read more of my musings on the police handling of this investigation which has repercussions for all of us, not just those in the glare of the media spotlight.

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Wednesday 31st January, 2007

No 10 Call For Media Restraint

Media (and presumably Police) expression of opinion has been called upon to restrain its opinion and comment in the light of the fact that those under the spotlight are unable to defend themselves.

Since I am one of the few who speak out in support of the government’s position I will happily go along with this, as soon as others do. In any case I do not have the readership of the dailies! At the moment I receive dozens of e-mail alerts from those convinced of pm/government guilt with each arrest or development. This includes national newspaper reports from anti-war / anti-Blair papers as well as bloggers and media reports on leaked snippets from Scotland Yard.

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POLICE INQUIRIES – Terrorist Plots & Cash For Honours

Our police are the best in the world. I believe that implicitly and unreservedly. It still amazes many that we have an unarmed force (largely) in this day and age.

Sterling work is going on this morning in the Birmingham terror raids. Earlier today a security specialist commented on the news that the eight arrested might have been looking at different terror tactics than the usual bombings.

Since then the police have asked for restraint in speculation and analysis at this early stage. Fat chance of that! Perhaps police leaking of honour snippets is resulting in their protestations being largely ignored.

The earlier suggestion by SkyNews’s security specialist of, for example, political assassination, seems to be inaccurate. But the suspected plan of kidnapping a young Muslim soldier, possibly murdering him and then posting this act on the internet is still about as political as it gets!

And co-incidentally, Mr Blair’s historic announcement of elections in Northern Ireland in March, after ten years of work to secure peace, was all but overshadowed yesterday by Lord Levy’s arrest. A bitter-sweet moment then for Mr Blair, and some backing for my thoughts on the present undermining of real politics by the relentless focus on No 10.

Here comes the “but” …

But, while the Police are protecting us all against terrorism there is some justification for wondering what judgement is compelling Scotland Yard to pursue so relentlessly this country’s government. Even if there is ever proved to be a case to answer, even a charge of “conspiracy to pervert the course of justice”, a much more serious criminal charge than the original inquiry focus, who does this drawn-out pursuit serve in the real interests of justice in this country?

Unless digging up the gardens at No 10 proves differently, this is a “victimless” crime. Is Yates of the Yard’s quest to show himself as “purer than pure” in his “… just following all the leads…” approach impeding his better judgement?

The reason I ask is that regardless of the particular party involved, and I am not a member of any party, it is our government and not just our governing party which is in danger of being seriously undermined or even collapse if this investigation drags out much longer.

John Yates, who is supposed to be above politics, has shown himself a dab hand at the political/pr spin business too. This morning a pre-recorded interview was used by the Radio 4 Today programme. Pre-recorded – thus no questions could be asked of him. Pre-recorded – when? Presumably in the full knowledge that Lord Levy would have been arrested by the time of the broadcast. In the meantime the Prime Minister, the Government and No 10 staff are unable to comment, for obvious reasons. No pre-recorded statements, leaks or running commentary for them as this story unfolds.

Nick Robinson remarked today that “rarely has Tony Blair been so unable to control events“. Smirkingly satisfying to some that might be. But I’d prefer to know that our elected government, whose day will come soon enough in the ballot box, are in control of the Police rather than the other way round. That’s why we elect them.

Yes, I realise the Police are stuck between the proverbials; damned if they do, damned if they don’t. But having started the whole investigation, perhaps unwisely, they either have enough proof to sustain their original suspicions or enough proof to push charges on a cover-up to those suspicions. It is time the CPS cast its eye over the Police evidence. Even if the CPS decides not to press charges, Inspector Yates will almost definitely have managed to secure long overdue changes to the country’s system of honours. Not a bad legacy for a policeman. And with the damage already added to Mr Blair’s legacy by this ongoing business, and considering Yates’ length of service in post, the Inspector’s mark on politics may compare favourably to the perceived legacy of the Prime Minister. Unjust? I think so.

It is time we permitted the government to get on with its job. Character assassinations by implication and threats of further arrests do not serve any of us well.

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Heller Raising plumbs new heights

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9th May 2012

Heller Raising plumbs new heights

“In 2003, sorry … 1956, Britain’s prime minister took this country into an unlawful and unprofitable war in the Middle East, and misled its parliament and people about its origins and purpose.”

And so the die is cunningly cast.

At Richard Heller’s website directly under his name, there is this gem: ‘Raising world literature to new heights’

I have a soft spot for modesty. Evidently just another thing I do not share with Mr Heller.

Like so many of today’s opiners he is one assumption short of a private, personal opinion. He claims to speak for all of us when he says – ‘Leave us alone, Tony Blair’

This article, aka opinion piece, was published at his website by Mr Heller on 7th May. It also appeared at Politics.co.uk   He alludes to & may well bear some fond childhood memories of the 1956 days of Look Back in Anger while reminiscing his principled (then 8 year-old’s) protests against then PM Anthony Eden’s Suez plans.

But far more serious for his long-term health, Mr Heller seems to suffer from BDS –  Blair Derangement Syndrome. This condition is exemplified by an inability to see any good in a Prime Minister elected three times and who served his country – our country – as PM for 10 years; longer by far than any previous Labour prime minister. His constituents returned him as their member of parliament for 24 years. Perhaps one can safely presume from that evidence that they were reasonably satisfied.

But for Mr Heller today’s Anthony – ACL Blair – is beyond the Eden pale. I am truly spoilt for choice when considering where to start with the hell raiser’s denunciation of Tony Blair.

From the start, with the usual ‘devastating’ comparison to Sir Anthony Eden/Suez – Tony Blair/Iraq is also found lacking. Eden is somewhat forgiven by the simple fact that he had the good grace to retire to the land and the cows.

So with a raising world literature flourish and selective reading of history Mr Heller attempts to link the two Anthonys.

In fact Eden resigned from politics in 1957 after having served less than two years as PM. He retired to the countryside because his health was threatening his life. His retirement was by doctor’s orders rather than “in disgrace”.

Heller compares and contrasts what the modern-day Anthony is up to. Bristling with indignation at the effrontery of it all he culminates his Blair excoriation by also insulting the noble profession of farming: cow dung shifting is Blair’s true, due inheritance.

It is clearly utterly reprehensible that after 10 years as prime minister and two dozen as an MP Tony Blair is going where no other former British prime minister has gone.  Into business, religious understanding,  encouraging sport in the northeast, advising African governments on leadership while keeping a weather eye on variable concerns over climate change issues.  And all while still (ohGod’elpus) representing the international Quartet in the thankless search for peace between Israelis & Palestinians.

It is all too much for one mere mortal to do. And Heller is raising hell about that mere mortal having the conceit and audacity to try.

I mean it’s obvious, isn’t it? This Blair man is only working himself to a standstill for three reasons. One, to purge his conscience over his er…  “mistake”, Iraq. Two, to set up a grand array of mitigating circumstances in case one day he is brought before some court or other. Three, to make sure he has enough money in the bank to fly to the moon if that is the only place he can eventually seek retirement asylum.

So we have his business, charities, tax, advisory arrangements all lambasted as nothing other than self-serving. Even his Faith Foundation, which has brought and is still bringing together millions around the word, is for filing away under ulterior motives.

Heller’s other damning comparisons of Blair to Eden are wrong-headed and at times frankly misleading. He says that “for 20 years after Suez … He did not hawk himself round the world for money. Although a vastly more experienced diplomat than Tony Blair he was never offered any international appointment. He did not set up any foundations in his name. He did not have a spin doctor or a retinue of any kind. Above all, he abandoned any hope of a political comeback.”

As mentioned before Eden was ill after a gallstone operation which went seriously wrong. He was unable to continue in office or to fight to try to stay there. In contrast Tony Blair is in rude good health. As evidenced last night he is pulling them in in the USA – oh yes and in other parts of the world, Mr Heller, not just the appreciative US.  Much of Mr Blair’s so-called hawking is not for money, but pro-bono, as with his representation of the Quartet on Israeli/Palestinian issues.  As for charities set up in his name, why not, Mr Heller, when his name is a brand in itself? As for spin doctors, they were not invented in the 1950s. Nor too were the internet, instant news dissipation and even citizen journalism. And above all else – back to where we were, Eden was incapacitated thus never likely to even be physically able or willing to make a political comeback. Tony Blair on the other hand (was) retired at the height of his political nous, acumen & influence. Why stop there?

I am not arguing that Heller is wrong in comparing standards in political life today and 60 years ago. In fact I think he is right in this. But in my opinion, none of that drop in standards is Tony Blair’s doing. Adding up 2 & 2 – his dislike of Blair & his disapproval of the Iraq war and getting 5 – is ‘raising’ standards to a new er… what’s the word? … low.

Heller is not the only one seriously perturbed by talk of a possible return to domestic politics of the former prime minister. Tony Blair is clearly the human equivalent of Marmite. When one has made up one’s mind that not only did Tony Blair support the US in Iraq for the wrong (personal) reasons, but he “lied” to do so and will likely never be held… er… “accountable” for that, it is but a small step for any highfalutin’ writer to dive to the depths of illogicality & even hatred.

Such a pity. Hatred destroys the hater, not the hated.

Meanwhile, rest assured that when Richard Heller examines his writings he always gives it an A-Star. I commend to him the joys of not passing judgement.

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