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Blair On UK Tv Takes A Hammering - Very Funny!  
User currently offlineVirgin744 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 919 posts, RR: 4
Posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1573 times:

Did anyone in the UK watch the program last night on BBC2?
It was an audience of people and Jeremy Paxman questioning Blair.

One man, asked Blair a question and managed to keep a straight face when he labled Blair 'the righthonourable member of Texas-North' and......Mr. Vice President! To which, Jeremy rubbed it in by asking if he felt embarrased being called Mr. Bush's poodle and also asking if he & Bush prayed together.

Blair just looked so stupid, you could see he was cringing, and was obviously out of his depth for most of the questioning.

EXCELLENT!

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNJTurnpike From United States of America, joined May 2000, 580 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1545 times:

That classic in full...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/cta/progs/newsnight/smil/blair_03/blair.ram

or read the transcript here

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/2732979.stm


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13254 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1517 times:

I would argue that Blair put on a determined and often passionate defence of his position, at least he had the balls to confront the 'attack dog' interviewer Paxman, and an audience of people opposed to war with Iraq.
I did not see any really embarrassing moments at all, Blair was never really caught out or made to look stupid, on the other hand, those jibes aimed at him just made his opponents look petty and rather childish.
Whatever you think of Blair's Iraq policy, he is totally sincere in his belief that he is doing the right thing, compare that to Chirac, who for all he says now, may well send French forces to fight in the Middle East, (more French combat aircraft have arrived in Qatar, and their aircraft carrier is heading that way too).
As for Bush, well he's never had any kind of aggressive interview has he?


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1492 times:
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I watched it, the Prime Minister got a hammering, overall i think he got away unscathed. Blair is an expert in answering awkward questions and he showed yesterday, and i applaud his guts to answer direct questions from his own people especially from the ruthless Paxman. This is proper democracy.

Now, how about doing the same with Mr.Bush, with a selected audience of ordinary Americans? would be interesting.



In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlinePacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2734 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1485 times:

US politicians answering unscripted questions from Joe public ... never happen.

I thought TB did extremely well considering the hostility of all around. He seemed sincere and passionate about his line of thinking. The audience and interviewer seemed very petty and childish. Paxman is a light weight !



" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21522 posts, RR: 53
Reply 5, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1479 times:

The biggest problem is that he wasn´t able to substantiate his claims.

When trying to drag your country into a war (or a series of wars, as he basically admitted) you need more than just a (shaky) appearance of self-confidence.

The "dossier" that seems to be the basis of british participation in the planned attack (and an explicitly quoted part of Mr. Powell´s presentation earlier this week) has just been exposed as being, in 10 of 19 pages, an uncredited compilation of previously published works by several analysts back down to 1997, much (if not most) of it obviously without any basis in the actual state of the crisis.

And apparently, british intelligence has just found that there was no discernable connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

So is this heading any way but south? I doubt it.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13254 posts, RR: 77
Reply 6, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 1436 times:

The thing about Blair and Iraq is that it's worth remembering is that his policy towards Saddam is not out of line with his general thinking.
He believes, passionately, that it is right for the West to intervene, not only for perceived threats to our security, but also for moral reasons.

Since 1997, he has sent British forces to Sierra Leone, to stop a brutal insurgency that threatened a Rwanda-style slaughter, (which embarrassed the more powerful local states like Nigeria to start pulling their weight for once and helping to solve regional problems), to aid the independence of East Timor, he was quite prepared to send half the British Army in to resolve the stalemate in Kosovo, fortunately the Serbs finally broke, but no oil there, no economic benefits at all in fact, played the leading role in stabilizing Macedonia, was the only nation that joined the US in the 1998 'Desert Fox' airstrikes when Saddam kicked the weapons inspectors out and of course contributed greatly to the effort in Afghanistan.

Mugabe should be grateful that the UK armed forces are heavily stretched and will be for the foreseeable future.

This is why calling him 'Bush's poodle' is wide of the mark, taking out Saddam is in line with his thinking, he really wants and cares about getting a UN resolution though.
He also wants a settlement at least attempted with Israel/Palestine, when he was questioned about it during this interview, he looked downcast, the look on his face said 'I tried to convince Bush on how importance of this, really I tried, sorry I failed'.

You many think he is foolishly idealistic, (apparently Cheney cannot stand Blair), but Blair is for real about this policy, for a man who has been accused of pandering to the whims of public opinion and newspaper headlines, his determination to buck this trend now, is rather admirable, whether you agree with it or not.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21522 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1427 times:

GDB: This is why calling him 'Bush's poodle' is wide of the mark, taking out Saddam is in line with his thinking, he really wants and cares about getting a UN resolution though.
He also wants a settlement at least attempted with Israel/Palestine, when he was questioned about it during this interview, he looked downcast, the look on his face said 'I tried to convince Bush on how importance of this, really I tried, sorry I failed'.


It´s the "...but then I went along anyway" part that´s bothering me.


GDB: (apparently Cheney cannot stand Blair)

Why, there´s actually a point in favour of Tony!  Wink/being sarcastic


GDB: but Blair is for real about this policy, for a man who has been accused of pandering to the whims of public opinion and newspaper headlines, his determination to buck this trend now, is rather admirable, whether you agree with it or not.

What a relief that this doesn´t keep him from screwing his neighbours and fellow europeans at his master´s bidding.


But then, who cares about "them".


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13254 posts, RR: 77
Reply 8, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1423 times:

The Anti War lobby (who I have some sympathy with), would do better not to resort to lame slogans.
Blair is the most pro-European British PM since Edward Heath.
But when the British are out of line with the 'Franco-German Axis', we are 'bad Europeans', when one of those does something the rest of the EU does not like, they are somehow still 'good Europeans', (at least in their own minds anyway).

However, he thinks that by engaging with Bush, he has a lot more influence with him than he would do if he just complained from the sidelines.
And this is what grates with some, he DOES have a lot more influence than France or Germany, no one was going to stop Bush going after Saddam, he did however persuade him (with Colin Powell) into at least trying the UN route first.

Blair is the truer internationalist, it may not look like that right now, but see my previous post.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21522 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1418 times:

GDB: The Anti War lobby (who I have some sympathy with), would do better not to resort to lame slogans.

In face of the almost overwhelming war propaganda it´s pretty difficult to always keep up the highest level of differentiation.


GDB: Blair is the most pro-European British PM since Edward Heath.

Just a few days ago he had a chance of proving it. By simply having his dissent made clear in the european foreign minister conference instead of feigning assent to the common declaration and in parallel secretly organizing the public shooting down of that same declaration.

It is very, very, difficult to make a clearer statement on one´s priorities than that. (Same for Aznar and Berlusconi; The eastern countries´ situation is a bit different, but it´s still a mortal embarrassment.)

Sorry, but game´s over on that point.


GDB: But when the British are out of line with the 'Franco-German Axis', we are 'bad Europeans', when one of those does something the rest of the EU does not like, they are somehow still 'good Europeans', (at least in their own minds anyway).

It "just" takes open betrayal to earn this level of doubt. I don´t see how this can be "explained away". The minister conference was open for dissent or criticism. The chance was there. It was discarded, apparently on US pressure.

There will be grass growing over these matters, in time. Thank god that it´s "just" the governments, not really the nations. But on the governmental level, it doesn´t get much worse than that.


GDB: However, he thinks that by engaging with Bush, he has a lot more influence with him than he would do if he just complained from the sidelines.

I even think that he´s actually succeeded, to some limited degree. Not really regarding the direction, but at least somewhat regarding the timing. Could still be worse, indeed.


GDB: And this is what grates with some, he DOES have a lot more influence than France or Germany, no one was going to stop Bush going after Saddam, he did however persuade him (with Colin Powell) into at least trying the UN route first.

Sorry to disappoint, but the fascination with power is actually overrated. Germans currently are much more fascinated with making things work. The "continentals" have had enough experience with power plays...


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13254 posts, RR: 77
Reply 10, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 1403 times:

But at least Blair actually believes that he is doing the right thing.

If France does join an attack on Iraq, and their are signs that they may very well do just that, what will Chirac say to the French people and the rest of the EU?
He could try being honest (for once in his life), and say that he fears France's current and potentially much bigger commercial contracts with Iraq will be lost, and he needs to build some bridges with the US, after the frankly rather tedious, kneejerk, 'non' attitude, just to play to the domestic gallery.

As for Germany's Chancellor, he at least can say he was always against dealing with Saddam, regardless of the fact he blatantly used this most serious situation just to get himself re-elected.
So the cohesion of EU and NATO is less important than his political career?
And they wonder why they don't get listened to in Washington.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21522 posts, RR: 53
Reply 11, posted (11 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 1396 times:

GDB: But at least Blair actually believes that he is doing the right thing.

The iraqi civilians about to be killed will surely appreciate that.


GDB: If France does join an attack on Iraq, and their are signs that they may very well do just that, what will Chirac say to the French people and the rest of the EU?

He´d have a bit of explaining to do. But there´s a point when walking over the smoldering remains of the UN might not be the big issue any more. Still, Russia and China don´t seem to see themselves among the raiding party.


GDB: He could try being honest (for once in his life), and say that he fears France's current and potentially much bigger commercial contracts with Iraq will be lost, and he needs to build some bridges with the US, after the frankly rather tedious, kneejerk, 'non' attitude, just to play to the domestic gallery.

It might well be down to that. But I don´t see the point, really. With the abundance of opportunism all around, that won´t really tip the scale. One snip of a finger in Washington, and half of Europe´s leaders are on their knees... Most excellent, really.  Sad


GDB: As for Germany's Chancellor, he at least can say he was always against dealing with Saddam, regardless of the fact he blatantly used this most serious situation just to get himself re-elected.

He blatantly said and did (and continues to say and do) what the overwhelming majority of his population thinks is right. How dare he!


GDB: So the cohesion of EU and NATO is less important than his political career? And they wonder why they don't get listened to in Washington.

I think you´re making the same mistake that has contributed a lot to the US reaction: This is more than just looking for gains in popularity. We´re witnessing the dismantling of the UN. And it is indeed possible that modern Germany is more serious about the rule of law and more suspicious about the rule of power than anybody else. Experience can be an asset, at times.

It is a big mistake to believe that this is just "Gerd´s private show". It most certainly isn´t. Gerhard Schröder´s popularity has actually reached unprecedented lows right now (mainly due to the perceived economical situation, by the way), while his green foreign minister - who, if anything, has a more pronounced position on the Iraq matter - has his approval ratings soaring ever higher above every other politician in Germany and hardly anybody advocating the submission to the Bush position.

The contemptuous statements coming from Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Perle have not really helped matters at all. The question is getting louder: "Do they want allies or vassals?" And it seems it´s becoming a purely rethorical question.

These things are not as superficial as you might think. I think there is a strong element of self-deception in many premature reactions from the outside. Just please keep looking for what´s really going on...


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