Sunday 22 September 2002

The audacious courage of Mr Blair

by Terry Jones

I would like to pay a tribute to the courage of Tony Blair. During these dark days in the build-up to war against Iraq it is reassuring to find ourselves with a leader who demonstrates such fearlessness in the face of tremendous odds.

Despite bitter opposition,Tony Blair has demonstrated that he will push ahead stalwartly with whatever the US intends to do. Even though the majority of his fellow countrymen are against the war (despite last week's propaganda campaign in the media), Mr Blair has shown not the slightest sign of wavering from his determination to do whatever Mr Bush wants. It is true that he has regrettably had to cave in over the question of debating the issue in Parliament, but he has fearlessly shown his contempt for the process by not allowing a vote. Mr Blair realises that he needs all the nerve he can command to resist demands for democratic discussion, if Mr Bush is to have any opportunity of dropping bombs on Iraq before the mid-term elections.

I would like to say a special word about another side of Tony Blair's courage - his moral courage. Tony Blair has the guts to stand on platform after platform repeating the words of the President of the United States even though he must be well aware that in so doing he makes himself a laughing stock to the rest of the world. Tony Blair has the balls not to be influenced by the knowledge that people imagine he is the US President's parrot and that his knee jerks only when George W. pulls the strings. It must take a very special kind of stamina to withstand that sort of daily humiliation. It is time we gave Mr Blair credit for it.

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