Monday, June 11, 2007

Why Blair is no Anthony Eden

Reader Keith Davis writes in the Morning Star a propos of my recent article likening Tony Blair to Neville Chamberlain:

"In trying to establish common ground between Blair and Neville Chamberlain, Neil Clark overlooks a more obvious parallel with Anthony Eden. The definining point of Blair's time as Prime Minister -overshadowing everything else- is, without doubt the unnecessary and unjustified pre-emptive and murderous invasion of Iraq, preceded by the lies about WMD and the 45-minute threat. The monumental act of folly is mirrored by the only decision Eden will be remembered for, namely his course of action after Egypt took control of the Suez Canal in 1956, when, in a display of hubris, he defied the UN, undertook secret negotiations with France and Israel and landed troops at Port Said".

But while Blair and Eden both launched disastrous and illegal Middle East invasions, there are however important differences between the two men, which is why I chose not to make the comparison. Eden may have acted wrongly at Suez, but he was no appeaser. (Back in February 1938, he had resigned as Foreign Secretary precisely because of the Chamberlain government's policy of appeasement towards the fascist/Nazi powers). Although Eden lacked judgement at Suez, he certainly didn't lack courage, as one would expect of a man who was awarded the Military Cross in World War One and who, at the age of twenty-one, became the youngest brigade-major in the British Army. Blair on the other hand is most certainly one of the least courageous Prime Ministers our country has known- a congenital appeaser who would do anything, however dishonourable, to curry favour with the dominant power of the day.

And of course, there's one more important difference between Eden and Blair. After the debacle at Suez, Eden did the decent thing and promptly resigned as Prime Minister.
In the words of Mr Davis, "how regrettable, in the light of his very own foreign policy disaster, that Blair has not had the guts to do the same long before now".

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