Archive for the ‘Tony ‘King Blair’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at 23 August 2010

Category: The War on Stupid, Tony 'King Blair

Let me do you the courtesy of explaining why I think Patrick Mercer’s ‘Tory conference terror alert’ story is a crock of beans.

To begin with, Patrick Mercer claims his sources are retired police and Army intelligence officers:

Sources in Northern Ireland said that the October conference in central Birmingham had emerged as the prize target on a hit list drawn up by resurgent republican paramilitaries. Patrick Mercer, ex-chairman of the Commons subcommittee on counter-terrorism, said former senior police and army intelligence officers had informed him that dissident splinter groups had discussed targeting David Cameron’s first conference as prime minister. (source)

Elsewhere this is reported/repeated as “sources in Northern Ireland” or even “police/intelligence sources in Northern Ireland” but really this should carry the health warning “according to Conservative MP Patrick Mercer…” because as Mark Townsend and Toby Helm (authors of the original Observer article) noted at the time;

Sources for West Midlands police said they had no intelligence of a specific threat against the Tory party conference. (source)

So this is not from the official song sheet and we only have Mercer’s word to go on that anyone sang otherwise. As far as the police charged with policing the event are concerned, there is no evidence of a specific threat. (You may wish to add ‘that they wish to discuss at this time’, which changes little about what follows, even if true.)

This leaves us with the possibility that this is (a) a leak, (b) the opinion of one or two retired officers, or (c) wholly imagined bullshit

(a) Exploring the possibility that it is a leak from the active police/intelligence community, we encounter the minor problem of Patrick Mercer’s recent embarrassments. Anyone in the loop will be aware of criminal investigations into/involving (hopefully former) associates of Patrick Mercer who, crucially, turned out to be conspicuously if not spectacularly discredited as sources of terrorism ‘intelligence’. Any proper cop on the job should also be aware that Mercer very recently involved police in a childish and damaging tabloid claim about his former mistress. Similarly, no serving soldier can afford to be associated with Mercer’s HIV bomb fantasies/alarmism. Ultimately, Mercer offers as much integrity and discretion as a pair of crotchless panties. If there’s a genuine threat to the Tory party conference that needs to be leaked for some reason, there are far more credible channels at present (if not in general). I’d sooner believe the NHS were issuing leaks through Nadine Dorries.

(b) If this is the opinion of one or two retired officers, years of anti-corruption regulation and legislation are working against them in an effort to keep them out of the loop, so at best they are making a judgement based on material in the public domain… or passed on in a public house. If they are privy to anything beyond that, they are most likely breaking the law if not the terms they agreed to upon employment and then retirement. If so, then to what end? One has to ask what the purpose of such whistle-blowing might be if the threat is real and it is not the wish of the authorities that it be known (see ‘a’ above). If it is as Mercer implies and there’s a pattern of senior police and army intelligence officers privately expressing concern about a specific threat to the Tory party conference, why is this specific threat not being dealt with through the usual channels? Most probably because it doesn’t exist:

Laurence Robertson, a Conservative MP who chairs a British parliamentary committee on Northern Ireland, told Sky he had no information that dissident nationalists planned a mainland bombing campaign…” (source)

(c) This leaves us with the possibility that Patrick Mercer’s sources have succumbed to bullshit or fantasy, or (more likely, in my view) Patrick Mercer himself introduced/positioned mention of a specific threat (while simultaneously leaving himself some wiggle room for later);

[Mercer] said: “They want to kill by the end of August in order to get themselves poised for whatever operations they can mount in September leading up to the Tory party conference in early October. There are doubts over whether they have the capability, but the aspiration is certainly there and West Midlands police would be crazy not to take the threat seriously.” – (source)

“I have no doubt there is an aspiration, a hope, a desire to bomb the mainland (Britain) and probably the Tory (Conservative) or indeed any of the party political conferences,” Mercer told Sky News. – (source)

In short, I fail to see how this is any different to past media alerts by Mercer that threaten to do more harm than good, and I suspect the primary component of this alert is Mercer’s wish to gain some positive publicity and re-establish himself as a credible spokesperson on terrorism.

[Psst! If CCHQ plan to play up the perceived threat in order to pressure police into providing added security for their conference that the taxpayer will have to pay for (i.e. neatly keeping anti-Tory protestors at bay at no cost to them while simultaneously associating them with militant elements), then Cameron may as well start rolling tanks into Heathrow and be done with it.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at 13 January 2009

Category: Tony 'King Blair

As reported by the BBC and in the Guardian, Times and Daily Mail, Tony Blair received his Medal of Freedom today, but did not receive his long-delayed* Congressional Gold Medal at the same ceremony.

(*Phew, I almost said ‘overdue’ then; like he was actually due anything other than a war crimes trial.)

He may yet receive the additional medal in a further charade in Washington, but until that second medal appears the results of this competition cannot be announced.

However… while we wait to discover what is actually on the medal, we do have what appears to be a pretty clear indication in a hopefully-accurate report from this previously-trusted newspaper:

Independent – Unveiled at last: Tony Blair, medallion man: The medal – unlike the standard Ruritanian presidential medal of freedom that Mr Blair will receive from his old buddy George Bush on Tuesday – allows the recipient “input” into its design. This may, in the case of Britain’s own pretty straight kinda guy, have been a mistake. The design features, on the reverse, a pair of clasped hands symbolising the closeness of two allies who shared even the same brand of toothpaste. On the obverse is a quotation from a speech Mr Blair made to Congress in July 2003. This circles a likeness of the former prime minister, which is approximately right, save for the shock of Bill Clintonesque hair. It was aspects of this medal’s design that ruffled the shirt front of the US Commission of Fine Arts, and prompted its secretary, one Thomas E Luebke, to write to the US Mint. In a letter dated 28 November 2008, he wrote: “The commission members expressed dissatisfaction with the design of the medal honouring Mr Blair and requested that it be revised and resubmitted, commenting that his likeness on the proposed obverse is awkward and does not convey his vitality. They emphasised that the direct adaptation of a photograph – the method used to generate this design – is not appropriate for developing numismatic sculpture… For the reverse, the commission questioned the inclusion of several elements of equal prominence, suggesting that the clasped hands be deleted.” The response of the Mint – which has the final say – is not known, but it is understood that the final look of the medal will be close to that illustrated here.

Those who are (theoretically) in the lead on the accuracy front are those with suggestions that Blair would put his own face on it, his own words, and/or some form of religious statement – with the last option depending a great deal on the context in which the “clasped hands” are presented, if indeed they appear at all.

(Psst! In other news, Little Johnnie Howard has ideas well above his previously-held station.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at 6 January 2009

Category: Humanity, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Tony 'King Blair

Next week Tony Blair will return from holiday and rush to Gaza and actually do his job as special envoy to the Middle East rush to the White House to collect not one but two medals for his stellar work in the use of troops, torture and tits against terrorism… and a sovereign nation by the wayside that was just asking for it.

BBC – Blair to get US Medal of Freedom: In his last week in office, President Bush will award the medal to Mr Blair, former Australian PM John Howard and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. All three leaders had been “staunch allies*” of the US, particularly against terrorism, said the White House. (via)

The word ‘circle jerk‘ springs to mind, but let’s move on to that second medal…

Telegraph – Tony Blair chooses image on medal from George W Bush: Since he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by George W Bush more than five years ago for being a “staunch and steadfast ally” during the Iraq war, Tony Blair has failed to collect the gong. The former prime minister is, however, taking a keen interest in the medal’s design before it is specially made by the US Federal Mint. The spokesman declines to say which images Blair wants, but points out that it will be made to his specifications: “It is not a standard design. The Dalai Lama had his face on his medal.”

In my mind, the only way they could devalue the trinket any further with this charade would be to put Tony Blair’s face on it, go for the full circle jerk with the medal at the centre, and televise the money shot. The whole thing could be set to music.

– — — | — — –

COMPETITION: GUESS THE WORD(S)/IMAGE(S) TONY BLAIR HAS (FINALLY) CHOSEN FOR HIS CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL

As the BBC article notes; each Congressional Gold Medal is individually designed and minted and it took Tony Blair many years to decide on the words and images it would feature.

(Hm. Maybe he was stalling. Perhaps he was waiting for ‘history’ to kick in. Who knows?)

I am offering the choice of any available prize from the prize shelf to the person who comes closest in their guess of the word(s) and image(s) that actually appear on the medal.

A special prize will also be awarded to the most amusing guess/suggestion.

Entries will be accepted via comments (including b3ta), email, and/or links to bloggage.

Entries close on the 12th, or at the moment some spoilsport leaks substantial details.

Good luck to you.

– — — | — — –

[*Oi! Where’s Karimov’s medal?]

UPDATE (13 Jan) – That’s one medal down… but we’re minus the all-important money shot. Hang in there.








1. Joseph Obi is on the warpath.

The attack on Louise Redvers is particularly appalling… and actionable. Sadly, The Obi One has yet to reveal what he’s really angry about (i.e. what triggered this greatly delayed outburst).

2. Thank you, Gordon.

(That is what you’re fishing for, yes? Next time, try to take the lead before you’re backed into a corner, eh?)

3. Independent – Clive Stafford Smith: Why has the Government forsaken Binyam Mohamed?: Why would the British Government refuse to disclose this kind of critical information? Here, we are left to speculate, since they won’t give an explanation. Sadly, the most likely reason is that there is much more evidence that they would rather remained hidden – such as proof of systematic British co-operation in the US rendition process.

If you’d like a hint as to the most likely outcome, here it is; Jack Straw still holds a cabinet position.

4. BBC – Blair ‘to devote life to faith’: Former prime minister Tony Blair has promised to “spend the rest of my life” uniting the world’s religions

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh, do excuse me. That’s unforgivably rude. I should kn*…. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

5. Emptywheel – George Bush Authorized the Leak of Valerie Wilson’s Identity: Scottie McC doesn’t know it yet. But that’s basically what he revealed this morning on the Today Show…

See also: Scott McClellan on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Oh, and Matthew Norman’s description of Bush as an “an arrogant, self-deceiving fantasist” reminded me of this little item.

6. LayScience and Septicisle on the recent Standpoint nonsense.

(Speaking of right-wing magazines, someone has a tough job ahead of them.)

7. I had four beers last night, and I’m seriously considering breaking my curfew on Saturday night so I can see a movie with the missus.

I’m a bad boy…. but you ain’t seen nothing yet:

8. Manticore. Monday.

SPECIAL BONUS LINK: An incredible timesaver for 98% of the remaining* regular contributors to Iain Dale’s website. (*Most of the sensible people have grown tried of being ignored, censored, abused by anonymous cowards or told to “piss off” by the great man himself.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at 17 March 2008

Category: Tony 'King Blair

1. How many jobs does an ex-PM need?

2. I don’t mind so much myself; whatever keeps him out of trouble.

3. But I like this lots.

4. And LOL-BLAIR rocks!








Posted by Tim Ireland at 8 February 2008

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Sign the petition against the nomination of Tony Blair as “President of the European Union”

I just did. I’m #7012, me.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 6 February 2008

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Remember when some of us were trying to ensure that Iraq was addressed as an issue during the 2005 General Election and Tony Blair responded to those efforts by (a) timing his response to suggest that it was a purely Conservative effort and (b) claiming we were playing the man and not the ball?

What laughs. Good times.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 22 December 2007

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Guardian – After 30 years as a closet Catholic, Blair finally puts faith before politics

Justin McKeating – BREAKING NEWS: Blair anointed Left Footer: It’s official: Tony Blair has converted to Catholicism in time for Christmas… Apparently Blair, when giving his first confession as a Catholic, took with him a crib sheet of his sins to help him remember them. It took six Hercules military transport planes to deliver it.

You may as well add this to the current list of theories:

I reckon the sneaky bugger was waiting until Cherie reached menopause. He is, after all, a five-times-a-night man.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 5 December 2007

Category: The War on Stupid, Tony 'King Blair

The government has responded to the ‘Repeal SOCPA’ petition.

The response includes a timely reminder for me to get my two cents in on the relevant consultation paper.

(The government has yet to respond to my call for the PM to stand on his head and juggle ice cream, but they’re probably working on a ‘funny’ response, so they deserve a few more months.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at 23 October 2007

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Flying Rodent, Garry and Justin already have this well-covered.

All I wish to add is; “I told you so!”

Oh, and this from Pandora:

Tony Blair, return to sender

Best to take a few precautions if you are a Prime Minister who has invaded Iraq and is now an envoy to the Middle East. Horrible, after all, to think about the sort of extremists and unwashed crazies who’d turn up on your doorstep if you told them where you worked, and the security “ishoos” this could throw up.

Since demitting Downing Street, Our Tone has set up The Office of Tony Blair. It wisely hides behind a Post Office Box Number. (60519 London, W2 7JU, since you ask.) MI5 should be happy. But say you really did want to find Our Dear Departed Leader, you could send him fan mail. Then, when you get a reply, you check out the franking on the envelope containing his letter: “If undelivered, return to [address in St James’s]”. Over to Inspector Knacker!








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