Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more likely to drive me into the sort of apoplectic rage that makes me levitate off the sofa and attack the television set with blunt instruments, than seeing President Bloody Blair on it. Supercilious and superior git.
You can imagine therefore, the grating sense of irritation that enveloped me when I learned that his memoirs will be published in September. "Tony Blair: The Journey aims to 'describe the human as much as the political dimensions of life as prime minister'" Oh just fvck off......... I mostly won't be reading it and I'll never again buy whichever newspaper serialises what will inevitably be a self congratulatory and indulgent work of fiction. I can only hope it'll be the Guardian.
Some demented and delusional fool has paid a fortune for the rights. Up to £5m was the number banded around when the deal was struck with Random House. £5m? I'm bloody speechless. The chap at Waterstones isn't though, "This is a book that people have been anticipating since the moment Tony Blair left office, and should be the bestselling political memoir since Margaret Thatcher's," said politics buyer Andrew Lake. If you needed an explanation as to why Waterstones is doing so badly and dragging it's parent HMV down then look no further.
The thing is, and this is the real point here, Blair committed our Armed Forces to years of conflict in different theatres resulting in many, many hundreds of dead and thousands who will live with the legacy of life changing injuries. You can find the stats for Iraq here and Afghanistan here. In doing so, he presided over a government that whittled the Army down to the smallest it's been for 160 years. Just for the record, Morrisons Supermarket has more employees than the British Army which is now so small you could fit the whole lot into Wembley Stadium and still have plenty of room to march what little there is left of our bands up and down the middle.
Has Mr Blair donated or does he plan to do the right thing and donate any part of his £5m to the charities who are left attempting to pick up the pieces from the damage he's wrought? Well, no word of it yet but there is a moral responsibility on this man to contribute in some way to the lives he was happy to risk. Profiting from his time as Prime Minister during these campaigns is simply distasteful. It's been fashionable for years to think of Field Marshal Haig as a "butcher," or "donkey," after the slaughter on the Western Front. Haig though, devoted the rest of his life to the welfare of those who served and was held in very high esteem by his former soldiers. I know that Blair won't be the recipient of similar sentiment.
Fortunately, we breed better men in this country. Despite having the appalling affliction from birth of being a Yorkshireman, former L/Cpl Adam Douglas is one of life's winners in the game of, "lets make it as tough as it can be for ourselves." Mr Douglas forgot to duck when some Iraqi with anger management issues fired an RPG round at him in the second Gulf War.
“I had two spinal injuries, a badly damaged bladder and bowel, could only walk with the help of two sticks, and cannot walk up stairs. I had to wear incontinence products and had scars over my body but I was told I did not qualify for benefits because I wasn’t disabled enough. It makes you sick to think that I had fought for this country and this is the best they can do.”
He is 70% disabled but it took two years for his wife to get carer’s allowance.
Rather than sit around feeling sorry for himself he has set up the Forgotten Heroes charity to support injured soldiers and their families who are being failed by the system.
Mr Douglas isn't a professional charity administrator. He's simply an ex TA NCO who was sent to do a job and came back with his life changed forever, but rather than moaning, he's getting on with helping others. Just think what a fraction of that £5m would do for Mr Douglas's enterprise. Forgotten Heroes is might I add, one of a number of charities which I know of started by returning soldiers.
What did you do in the war Mr Blair?