Letter: Self before country?

This letter sent to the Star was written by Cyril Olsen, Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 6:54 am
FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 file photo, Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair makes a speech on Brexit at the British Academy in London. In a lengthy essay posted on his website late Saturday Aug. 21, 2021, Tony Blair, the British prime minister who deployed troops to Afghanistan 20 years ago after the 9/11 attacks, says the U.S. decision to withdraw from the country has “every Jihadist group round the world cheering.” (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

What will history’s verdict be on the political careers of ex-Labour prime minister Tony Blair and Tory David Cameron. What do they share in common? What positive legacy did they leave for the nation?

I ask these questions following a national newspaper article by Tony Blair on the abandonment of Afghanistan with a headline ‘former PM Blair hits out at Biden’s ‘imbecilic’ decision’.

To me, they are both failed politicians who jumped ship when the nation’s vessel was in distress, left politics and carved out a career in making money, particularly in Blair’s case by selling speeches, property investment, writing memoirs and being a qualified lawyer.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He is listed as being Lawyer, Diplomat, Orator, Philanthropist, Statesman and Property Developer – a fine portfolio for a Labour ‘man of the people’ politician to have!

For Blair to call Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan ‘imbecilic’ – while I agree – it hardly becomes him to do so when his own past conduct is taken into account.

Cosying up to President Bush, he took us into the Iraq war based on Saddam having alleged weapons of mass destruction which turned out to be untrue – yet cost the lives of many of our troops.

As the casualties of this war escalated, he was accused of misleading Parliament, and his popularity dropped dramatically.

On May 10, 2007, during a speech at the Trimdon Labour Club he announced his intention to resign as both Labour Party leader and prime minister – subsequently handing over the reins to Gordon Brown with disastrous consequences.

Rather than staying aboard the ‘SS Britannia’ and steering her into calmer waters, as captain he deserted his post and the nation to forge a new lucrative career in how to make money, as mentioned above.

Latest estimate of his personal wealth is 60 million dollars and rising.

While David Cameron shares a love of making money by writing his memoirs, public speaking and other business interests – his current net worth being an estimated 50 million dollars – his situation differs from Blair’s in that he also jumped ship.

In his case it followed the result of the EU leaving referendum, when contrary to his firm belief that the nation would vote to remain, 19-plus million voted to ‘Brexit’.

Rather than abiding by his pre-referendum pledge to honour and implement the decision, he and his chancellor George Osborne both resigned from office and Parliament to further their non-political careers, leaving Mrs May to unsuccessfully try to pick up the pieces.

However, while Tony Blair left us with nothing, it is very ironic that David Cameron in one sense was a national hero and saviour of our nation, by granting us the referendum which enabled us to shed our EU shackles and to potentially prosper in a free trade world.