John Howard Responds To Chilcot Report On Iraq War

The former prime minister, John Howard, has defended his government’s 2003 decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Howard held a press conference today, in response to the UK’s Chilcot report on the war that characterised the invasion as ill-conceived and based on faulty intelligence.

The essence of Howard’s defence was that no lies were told at the time and that it is only in retrospect that the decision can be faulted. He said he was on record as having criticised aspects of the invasion, particularly the dismantling of the Iraqi army. [Read more…]


Tony Blair Says Iraq Is In Mortal Danger And The Middle East Is Under Threat

The former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, says that the Iraqi government has to be supported in beating back the insugency that has seen the terrorist group ISIS seize control of major cities.

BlairIn an essay released by his office, Blair says “it is a bizarre reading of the cauldron that is the Middle East today, to claim that but for the removal of Saddam, we would not have a crisis”.

Blair says: “… if we want the right policy for the future, we have to learn properly the lessons not just of Iraq in 2003 but of the Arab uprisings from 2011 onwards.”

The man who joined with former US President George W. Bush in a “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein in 2003 says the Middle East is “going through a huge, agonising and protracted transition”.

He says: “We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused this. We haven’t. We can argue as to whether our policies at points have helped or not; and whether action or inaction is the best policy and there is a lot to be said on both sides. But the fundamental cause of the crisis lies within the region not outside it.”

Text of an essay released by the Office of Tony Blair.

Iraq, Syria and the Middle East – An essay by Tony Blair

The civil war in Syria with its attendant disintegration is having its predictable and malign effect. Iraq is now in mortal danger. The whole of the Middle East is under threat.

We will have to re-think our strategy towards Syria; support the Iraqi Government in beating back the insurgency; whilst making it clear that Iraq’s politics will have to change for any resolution of the current crisis to be sustained. Then we need a comprehensive plan for the Middle East that correctly learns the lessons of the past decade. In doing so, we should listen to and work closely with our allies across the region, whose understanding of these issues is crucial and who are prepared to work with us in fighting the root causes of this extremism which goes far beyond the crisis in Iraq or Syria. [Read more…]


Tony Blair: “The Media Is A Feral Beast, Tearing People To Pieces”

On the eve of his resignation as prime minister, Tony Blair made a stinging attack on the media.

Text of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s speech.

The media is a feral beast, tearing people to pieces

Tony BlairThe purpose of the series of speeches I have given over the past year has been deliberately reflective: to get beyond the immediate headlines on issues of the day and contemplate in a broader perspective, the effect of a changing world on the issues of the future. This speech on the challenge of the changing nature of communication on politics and the media is from the same perspective.

I need to say some preliminaries at the outset. This is not my response to the latest whacking from bits of the media. It is not a whinge about how unfair it all is. As I always say, it’s an immense privilege to do this job and if the worst that happens is harsh media coverage, it’s a small price to pay. And anyway, like it or not, I have won three elections and am still standing as I leave office. This speech is not a complaint. It is an argument. [Read more…]


Blair Announces Resignation After Ten Years As British Prime Minister

Tony Blair has announced that he will relinquish the British prime ministership on June 27.

Addressing his party members and supporters in his Sedgefield constituency, Blair confirmed his departure after ten years. He became Prime Minister on May 2, 1997.

  • Listen to Blair’s Resignation Announcement (20m)
  • Listen to Blair and Opposition Leader Cameron in the House of Commons (May 9 – 3m)

Text of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Resignation Announcement.

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1997-2007I have come back here, to Sedgefield, to my constituency. Where my political journey began and where it is fitting it should end.

Today I announce my decision to stand down from the leadership of the Labour Party. The Party will now select a new Leader. On 27 June I will tender my resignation from the office of Prime Minister to The Queen.

I have been Prime Minister of this country for just over 10 years. In this job, in the world today, that is long enough, for me but more especially for the country. Some times the only way you conquer the pull of power is to set it down. [Read more…]


Tony Blair Praises Geoff Gallop

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great BritainThe British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has praised the retiring Premier of Western Australia, Geoff Gallop, as “one of the outstanding politicians of our generation”.

Blair’s comments came as the Labor caucus in Western Australia endorsed Alan Carpenter unopposed as their new leader. Carpenter will be sworn in tomorrow as Premier.

Speaking at his monthly press conference at 10 Downing Street, Blair was asked:

The Western Australian Premier, Geoff Gallop, recently resigned, he is an old friend of yours from your university days. He resigned because of depression. What were your thoughts when you heard about him stepping down because of mental illness?

Blair responded:

Well obviously as you probably know I have spoken to Geoff several times in the past 10 days or so. Geoff Gallpp was in my view one of the outstanding politicians of our generation, an absolutely brilliant man, a fantastic person as well, and as people in Western Australia will know, a person of tremendous warmth, integrity and achievement in western Australia. And so obviously I was really sorry that he took that decision but I know he did it in the best interests of the state and his own family and his own health. And I have no doubt at all he will bounce back very quickly because he is a quite exceptional person.

Blair and Gallop were both at Oxford University in the early 1970s. Gallop was a Rhodes Scholar.


Labour And Conservative Parties Release Election Platforms

The British Labour and Conservative Parties have each released the traditional manifesto for the May 5 election. [Read more…]


Labour Party Manifesto – 2005 UK Election

This is the Labour Party’s manifesto for the 2005 United Kingdom General election.

The election was held on May 5, 2005.

Led by Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Labour Party won its third consecutive victory against the Conservative Party. The Conservatives were led by Michael Howard.

05-04-13_labour-manifesto