Saturday, March 04, 2006

Judgement Day

What do Saddam's WMD and Tony Blair's God have in common?

Boom boom.

In truth, even as an atheist who thinks Blair should have resigned in disgrace long ago, I find it difficult to get too worked up about the God reference per se. OK, I think religion has no place in politics and he should not have said what he did. But if you read exactly what he said, he did not imply that the invasion of Iraq was God's work as Bush has. That Bush position of unshakable belief in the rightness of one's own actions is extraordinarily arrogant and is religion in it's most dangerous form. It's the way bin Laden thinks.

Blair, on the other hand, simply said that he made the decision and that he believes God will judge him for it. That's not an unusual position for a Christian to take. And it is substantively different to that of Duyba. Blair shouldn't have said the G word at all but what he did say was relatively moderate.

Neverthless, and unsurprisingly, I am extremely worked up about what he said. It just isn't the fact that he believes he'll ultimately be judged by God which I find so irritating.

First of all, what's he doing on Parkinson in the first place? He complains that people concentrate on personalities instead of policies but then he goes on a celebrity chat show. And we're all supposed to be reminded that he's just a decent honest human being trying to do his best in a very difficult job.

Piss off. Here's a tip for you Tony. When we see you sincerly opining on the difficulties of being Prime Minister, it does not create feelings of sympathy. That's because the overwhelming majority of people in this country don't want you as Prime Minister. When we see these feeble attempts to toy with our emotions, we just think "why don't you just resign then like we all want you to, you dishonest, untrustworthy, shallow, power crazed, self-obsessed arse?" That's free advice by the way.

The second problem with Blair's statement is accountability. Here's the sentence which encapsulates what he said.
The only way you can take a decision like that is to try to do the right thing according to your conscience, and for the rest of it you leave it, as I say, to the judgement that history [and God if you believe in him] will make.
He can be judged by God and history for all eternity for all we care. (Like this (via). Most satisfying. Keep that mouse button held down for full effect.) I'm OK with that.

The problem is that he will not submit himself to be judged by his contemporaries now. As an excuse to absolve himself in the real world of the here and now, this is weak indeed.

Exaggerated hypothetical.
PC Copper: Well Mr Stained. We have quite a bit of evidence to suggest that you may have been involved in a murder. Do you have anything to say to that allegation?
Mr Blood Stained: What I say is this. The only way you can take a decision like that is to try to do the right thing according to your conscience, and for the rest of it you leave it to the judgement that history, and God, will make.
PC Copper: That's fair enough. On your way then sir.
PC Copper: He said God would be his judge so I let him go.
Mr Prosecutor: Ah, he's right enough. Come to think of it, my job's completely redundant. Hey, Mrs Judge, Mr Lawyer, it turns out we don't need to do all this law nonsense. We can leave this judgement stuff for history and God to make.
Mrs Judge: Oh goodie, it really is rather tiresome. I'm going to retrain as an astronaut.
It's not the fact that Blair thinks God will judge him which is so odious. It's the fact that he believes his contemporaries should not. Blair has made himself unaccountable to the people and now he tries to rationalise that with this talk of history and God.

That is not good enough. We, the people, must hold the government to account. The first step is that we must be provided with the facts. Come on, Christian Tony. Thou shalt not bear false witness. If it was good enough for Moses, it's surely good enough for Tony too.

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