Christopher Lee…

Christopher Lee

Why should Tutu let Blair off the hook?

29 August 2012

Archbishop Desmond Tutu tells us that he will not appear with ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair at a leadership summit in Johannesburg because he still thinks Blair was morally corrupt over Iraq.  

Blair’s office clearly could not give a toss whether or not Tutu shows as long as the organizers pay the fee anyway.

Blair’s people say that he and Tutu have never agreed over Iraq and as Blair was so damned right and Tutu wrong, so who cares. Tutu for a start. He says “Mr Blair’s decision to support the United States’ military invasion of Iraq, on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, was morally indefensible.”

You might say that after all this time, who cares? The bit of the world – including the archbishop and his many, many supporters – that protested over the invasion was then powerless to stop it so why keep at it?

Blair’s oblivious to the whole thing and expects people wherever he goes to give him a good fanging over Iraq, the legality of the operation and his relationship with then President George W Bush, who incidentally, keeps quiet over the whole affair.

Yet that’s not reason for Tutu to pull out of the conference.  Shouldn’t he stay and argue his case – he’d certainly be allowed to and it would get even more publicity than the  planned protest by Al Jamaha who understandably will be dismissed by most media commentators as local Islamists and noting more.

Locally, it’s a shame the archbishop has pulled out.  He’s a great guy with loadsa personality and a spirit of mankind that gives you hope.  Blair, now he’s different.  Most commentators seem to think Blair is morally corrupt and thoroughly unlikeable and on Iraq by the way, almost no one outside his office thinks he was anything but shifty.  However, organizers of such jamborees as this know that the international crowd puller is the camera perma-tan Blair and not the chirpiest chuckling bishop ever, Desmond T.

The problem with continuing moral and political challenges is that the public get bored. Moreover, even though they are so in need of alarm bells every time their leaders even think of yet another intervention they gain little or nothing from a continuing debate over lost causes.

For examples, what would we get if Krushchev and Kennedy were still around to debate who was right and who wrong in Cuba? What could ever become of a confrontation between Eden and Nasser?  No differences would be resolved. How about the Duke of Windsor and British archbishop Cosmo Lang on the morality and complications of public duty in 1936? Ultimately of course the one to really watch would be Pilate and Jesus of Nazareth.  (OT scholars would prefer God and Job).

Nothing of course would have shifted the opinions of great people just as little said anywhere would move Blair from his position that he may not have been universally supported but it was what he believed in.  And Tutu? Much loved. Much respected.  But although not of that persuasion, no more divisions had he than had the Pope.

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