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22 Apr, 2020 20:06

UK’s Covid-19 response has been so bad that looking to alleged war criminal Tony Blair for advice almost seems reasonable

UK’s Covid-19 response has been so bad that looking to alleged war criminal Tony Blair for advice almost seems reasonable

Ex-PM Tony Blair has a lot of stains on his record, including dragging the UK into the barely legal Iraq war. It shows how bad things are that we’re even contemplating bringing him back – and that it may be our best option.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. One possible measure, which was discussed on Jeremy Vine’s radio program recently and caused a good deal of controversy, was bringing back Blair to advise the government on how to best tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Britain’s response to Covid-19 has been a complete shambles. Not only are we set to top the European death charts with 66,000 deaths predicted in the first wave, but mistake after mistake has been made by Boris Johnson and his Brady Bunch government.

Also on rt.com Boris Johnson must resign now. His lousy leadership has cost us thousands of lives

The most recent humiliation has been the once-mighty Royal Air Force proving powerless as its cargo plane sat on the tarmac in Turkey, waiting for medical supplies that should have been loaded into it on Sunday. Finally, Turkish officials made their point about the new pecking order and allowed it to leave fully stocked, arriving over two days behind schedule.

And with all due respect, a country of Britain’s presumed standing shouldn’t be asking Myanmar to rush us over surgical gowns in a panic. What’s more, thanks to Boris’s cavalier approach, the master of this circus is currently MIA, having contracted the virus himself weeks after foolishly insisting he would not stop shaking hands.

In the boss’s chair, we've got the tailor’s dummy, Dominic Raab – a man most Britons would struggle to pick out in an ID parade, even if the rest were close relatives. If he had to call any world leader, he’d have to first answer the inevitable question: who the hell are you?

That’s something Tony Blair won’t struggle with. Britain has had four PMs since he stepped down in 2007 and none have had anything like the global cachet of Blair. During his decade-long tenure, he was easily the most dominant European politician and part of the White House’s inner sanctum. That’s the kind of clout we need now – even if it means holding our collective nose to the kind of man it comes from.

A down-and-dirty record


Blair, along with his old pal George W Bush, set in motion a lot of the world’s current problems when they ignored the UN and invaded Iraq in 2003, setting off a chain of events that, among other things, caused the rise of ISIS and international terrorism.

To many people, Blair is evil – a warmonger who deserves to face justice in the Hague for his actions in Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The disastrously flawed premises for that invasion were laid bare in the 2016 Chilcot report for all to see. That stain will never wash off, no matter what sort of ‘bleach’ is used.

Blair has other skeletons in the cupboard, too. He got close to Libyan strongman Colonel Gaddafi back when Western powers still saw him as an asset, he kicked an investigation into bribes for selling British weapons to the Saudi princes into the long grass, and was even implicated in a plan to take out Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe.

The murky circles he moved in only got darker when Tony left Downing Street. Since then, he’s reinvented himself as a statesman-like consultant for those who didn’t know how to operate the levers of power. He was reportedly handed £27 million by Kuwait to help it out, and he’s been a paid advisor for even longer to Abu Dhabi’s power brokers.

Among his other clients were the repressive and secretive rulers of Azerbaijan, and he also worked for Nursultan Nazarbayev. He spoke out in support of the controversial ex-president of Kazakhstan and was even shown to have advised him how to handle damage limitation, following a massacre of 15 civilians carried out by the country’s police force.

The public outrage at his stable of clients forced him to close down Tony Blair Associates in 2016. In a nutshell, he isn’t afraid of sleeping on a flea-ridden mattress if there’s a check coming his way – or maybe simply some adulation. It’s an appalling indictment of the status quo that we need a man with this kind of track record.

The least worst option

But Blair is better connected than a telephone exchange. He could make calls and get equipment or supplies moving instantly. He could get Britain at the front of the queue by shoving other countries out of the way because of who he knows. He clearly knows how to apply pressure, drop a hint to the right person and get things done. A bit of fear and a rod of steel is exactly what’s needed at this juncture.

He could even tap into his wife Cherie’s network – she launched a chain of ‘one-stop’ health clinics that went bust with mega losses in 2015.

Sure, the Blairs would end up using the pandemic to have another shot at making some cash out of healthcare… but at this point, let them. Everyone behind the scenes, from the government through public officials to those organizing personal protective equipment, all of them need to know that what’s gone on isn’t good enough, on any level.

Blair is a man you never turn your back on – he’s ruthless and stone cold, as proven by what he’s willing to do and take on. What he’s done takes elastic morals, but it also takes guts and smarts, which is something none of those in charge of mid-pandemic Britain – be it Raab, Michael Gove, Rishi Sunak or Priti Patel – possess.

He's up to his knees in a mixture of blood, oil, deception and money. But those who want to see him locked up in a cell for war crimes may think again when it’s their mother or father lying dead due to the ineptitude of Boris and his Brady Bunch. The morality ship has sailed, too many have died. Never thought I’d say it, but Tony Blair is Britain’s best option.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.