John Rentoul, a biographer of Tony Blair, unintentionally describes a new legal principle in his article in today’s Independent on Sunday. There is so much in the article with which I disagree but I have neither the time nor the inclination to dismember the entire article. There is one point, however, on which I must comment – the new legal principle:
Rentoul, whilst comparing the Iraq War with Suez crisis in 1956, states:
“The most damning feature of Eden's [PM during Suez crisis] conduct was his attempt to deceive his Cabinet and the US, and finally his uttering, twice, an unadorned lie to the House of Commons.
Blair was, of course, guilty of none of these crimes, and was cleared by four inquiries and one general election.”
I might have taken issue over whether or not Blair lied to parliament and over the effectiveness of the four inquiries but I don’t. What is one of the most amazing and deceitful statements I have read about Iraq is Rentoul’s claim that Blair was cleared by a general election. It is worth picking out that sentence again:
“Blair was, of course, guilty of none of these crimes, and was cleared by four inquiries and one general election.”
and there I was thinking that general elections were about electing individual MPs and, thereby, determining the party which is to form the government.
What have I missed all these years?
It’s a judicial process. If the party in power is returned we are actually clearing the Prime Minister of some unspecified crime(s). The corollary of this is that if there is a change in the party in power we find the previous Prime Minister guilty of some unspecified crimes.
Guilt or innocence decided at the ballot box.
Great idea, John!
PS John, your wife called to say you left your pills beside the bed.