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Friday, July 20, 2007
As an American, almost the only thing I know about Tony Blair from our media is that he was a consistent defender of the Iraq War, which to me is quite an amazing and honorable feat. However, as Blair stepped down this month as leader of his country, Theodore Dalrymple wrote this eye-opening essay as a parting shot. As a British citizen, Dalrymple offers a close-up view of the inner workings of Blair's government that is not very nice to behold.
When Tony Blair announced his resignation after ten years as prime minister of the United Kingdom, his voice choked with emotion and he nearly shed a tear. He asked his audience to believe that he had always done what he thought was right. He would have been nearer the mark had he said that he always thought that what was right was whatever he had done.
In a confessional mood, Blair admitted that he had sometimes fallen short of what was expected of him. He did not give specifics, but we were expected to admire his candor and humility in making such an admission. It is no coincidence, however, that Blair reached maturity at the time of the publication of the famous book Psychobabble, which dissects the modern tendency to indulge in self-obsession without self-examination. Here was a mea culpa without the culpa. Bless me, people (Blair appeared to be saying), for I have sinned: but please don’t ask me to say how.
But how history will judge him overall, and whether it will absolve him (to adapt slightly a phrase coined by a famous, though now ailing, Antillean dictator), is another matter. Strictly speaking, history doesn’t absolve, or for that matter vindicate, anybody; only people absolve or vindicate, and except in the most obvious cases of villainy or sainthood, they come to different conclusions, using basically the same evidence. There can thus be no definitive judgment of Blair, especially one contemporaneous with his departure. Still, I will try.

...[for sake of space, I will direct you to read his column for the many reasons Dalrymple gives for his withering opinion of Blair]...

Blair, then, is no hero. Many in Britain believe that he has been the worst prime minister in recent British history, morally and possibly financially corrupt, shallow and egotistical, a man who combined the qualities of Elmer Gantry with those of Juan Domingo Perón. America should think twice about taking him to its heart now that he has stepped down.


Sarah Jo said...

have you seen the movie : THE QUEEN?
just curious. i think you might like it.

Darius and Elisabeth said...

I haven't, but sometime I would like to see it. Thanks for the recommendation. Did you like it?

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »