Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tony's Help for Heroes

Tony Blair's announcement yesterday that he will donate the entire proceeds of his book to the Royal British Legion was astonishing. It took the media by surprise, and I can't be the only person who saw the headline on Twitter and said "Blimey!" (or words to that effect). I certainly saw a similar reaction from people picking up the Evening Standard, which splashed on the story.

Many Conservative-leaning commentators and bloggers (myself included) shared the view that, whatever they thought of him, this was unquestionably a decent and impressive decision by the former PM.

Depressing, then, how quickly some people began to speculate cynically about the motives behind the decision and to belittle its significance. Healthy scepticism and questioning are, of course, essential for a free press. But I personally found some of the comment questioning the sincerity of Mr Blair's feelings towards our armed forces to be in poor taste.

There are only four other people alive who have faced the awesome responsibility as Prime Minister of sending British troops into battle and being faced with their deaths and injuries. None of the rest of us can really imagine the profound effect that must have on someone. But when they express their admiration for our armed forces, I rather think they mean it.

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