New Internationalist

Why I don’t want a statue of Tony Blair


Tony Blair. Photo: World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, reproduced under a CC license.

‘At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.’
 Frederick Douglass, 1818-1895.

In the week when Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for Tony Blair to be treated as other alleged war criminals and be tried at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, incredibly it transpires that the UK Parliament’s House of Commons Works of Art Committee has been discussing plans for a bust of the man who it seems faces an attempt at a citizen’s arrest almost every time he appears in public, to feature in the Member’s Lobby.

Since this proposed Orwellian tribute to a man that numerous leading international law experts are indeed working to have tried in The Hague will be at the taxpayers’ expense, the taxpayer should surely have some say in the matter.

Last year, sculptor May Ayres held an eye watering exhibition of her work at St John's Church, in London’s Bethnal Green. ‘God's Wars’, was dedicated to the victims of Blair's lies, the broken lives, broken bodies, broken babies, accompanied by chilling depictions of Blair, Negroponte and the worst of deviant military might.

Ayres’ Curator, Michael Perry encapsulates the wickedness of the assault on Iraq, largely enabled, argue the lawyers, by Blair's duplicity and ‘dodgy dossiers.’ Perry writes: ‘May and I both regard this lawless war as also the strangest and most sinister conflict that our country has ever been involved in.’

Writing in the Observer newspaper on 2 September 2012, outlining the horrors Blair’s duplicity had wrought in Iraq, Archbishop Tutu commented: ‘…in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in The Hague.’

If history is not again to be a ‘chronicle of lies agreed on’, and if there must be a statue in Parliament as there is of all other 20th century Prime Ministers, Ayres’ exhibition's presentation of Tony Blair could not be surpassed as the real man behind the orange perma-tan and seemingly ceaseless grin. The Committee surely needs look no further for a belatedly accurate replica.

Oh, and given that he has also made a potential target of the British people whereever they travel and of British interests at home and abroad, for years, if not generations to come, perhaps it would be more aptly placed by Traitor’s Gate, at the Tower of London.

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