openDemocracyUK

Is Blair unhinged?

A response to Alex Holland's analysis of Tony Blair's testimony to the Iraq Inquiry
Stuart Weir
2 February 2010

An OurKingdom conversation [history: Alex Holland > this post]

Alex Holland does Blair an undeserved compliment by analysing his fantastical performance before Chilcot so scrupulously. My own response after sitting through the full six hours was that hubris has entirely taken Blair over and of rage that he regards the whole tragic and shameful enterprise of the invasion of Iraq as his own personal crusade, give or take a mate or two. He raised his own 'belief' and ability to take 'decisions' above any other political, factual or moral consideration, allowing only that others may have had different views, but so what! I don't believe any of it, least of all his ridiculous tan.

The man is surely unhinged. His actions have already contributed to humanitarian disaster and huge political instability in the world, a sharpening of lethal anger among a minority of Muslims and a continuing, brutal and illegal over-reaction among western nations, both internationally and domestically, but he wants to make it worse by taking on Iran. And he exhibited not the slightest sense of regret for the victims in the invasion or for the wider consequences of war itself. In his coarse language, he and our military leaders were 'up for it'!

Just think. This is the man who is a peace envoy in the middle east. This is the man whom our Prime Minister, honestly or not, felt was 'up for' being the new president of the EU. Forget trying to have him put on trial for war crimes. That is beyond our reach. But let's at least seek to make those who still hold him in this absurd regard think again. He should be removed from his post as envoy. And while we are about it, we could make it clear to Brown that the idea that he should be part of the Labour party's election campaign is both stupid and repugnant to a degree that would stain the party's hopes for the future.

 

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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