The British public has not forgotten the Iraq war, proven by the fact 1.2 million people signed a petition against his Knighthood

Credit: Peter Kennard

When you hear the name Tony Blair, what comes to mind?

For the majority of the public, it’s war criminal, the Iraq War and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians that died and are still dying – as a result of Britain’s involvement in the war.

Yet, draped in robes, gold and plumed hat, Blair will be given the red-carpet treatment and granted the highest honour the Queen can bestow, a Knighthood, on June 13th. That’s why Stop the War will be there, outside Windsor Castle to remind Blair he can never wash the blood off his hands.

The British public has not forgotten the Iraq war, proven by the fact 1.2 million people signed a petition earlier this year to stop the royal process in its tracks.

Tony Blair wanted to go to war and didn’t let facts stand in his way. So desperate to please the U.S, he actively lied over and over again, to bang the drums of war.

Under the false pretence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and fuelled by false revelations that they could be deployed in just 45 minutes, British troops headed to Iraq.

Those lies provoked the largest demonstration in British history. Millions marched against Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war. But when Tony Blair ignored the people on the streets, he taught us that the political establishment has an extraordinary ability to try and silence truth.

Despite the disastrous legacy of Blair’s foreign policy few lessons have been learnt. Blair is to be knighted by the Queen with the highest honour. Clearly the UK honours system is anything but honourable.

Mothers of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan wrote begging the Queen to rescind the knighthood. One said, “our misery is compounded knowing that the man responsible is being honoured.”

Responding to the levels of anger, Tony Blair said “The best thing is just to accept that of course there will be people who strongly oppose it and detest me for various reasons, and this is just what happens in politics.”

Waging war is not ‘just’ what happens in politics. Serving the American war machine is not ‘just’ what happens in politics. And, lying to the public is not ‘just’ what happens in politics either.

Now in 2022, Britain has another lying prime minister keen to promote war, this time in Ukraine, in his Churchillian guise to keep himself in office and in the US President’s good books. Despite Blair’s notorious and deadly foreign policy, history is being repeated.

Blair has never apologised nor sought absolution for these crimes, not even after the Chilcot Inquiry that confirmed he is a pathological liar. With no accountability it is easy to see why a YouGov survey published earlier this year, found that 63 per cent of Brits disapproved of his knighthood.

Usually as time passes, the more forgiving the public tends to be of former leaders. In Blair’s case, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Blair can walk no street, speak at no event, nor be awarded any accolade without the anti-war movement following and haunting him. Fifteen years after leaving office, Blair is still one of the most detested Prime Ministers in British history.

Our movement acts as a constant reminder that the UK says “not in my name” to foreign war. Join the Stop the War protest at the annual Garter Day procession in Windsor on 13 June, and let the world know there is only one court that Blair should be attending, and it’s not the royal one.

01 Jun 2022 by Shadia Edwards-Dashti

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