Tony Blair’s memoirs were released today and as you may know by now, Tony Blair has pledged to give all the profits from his memoirs, all £4m ($6m) plus of it, to the Royal British Legion, in an effort to help pay for the recovery and rehabilitation of soldiers injured in combat. This has, unsurprisingly, provoked huge media interest in the UK. Some have described it as a PR stunt, others have even gone as far as to allege that it’s a tax avoidance measure! Though the most popular denunciation of his actions has been that it is borne of a guilty conscience and that the money is tainted with the blood of the soldiers who died in his “illegal” war in Iraq.
Describing it as ‘blood money’, one mother wrote an article in The Independent, explaining that she would feel ‘let down’ if the Legion were to accept money from Blair. Well, God forgive, don’t have his £4million then. Let him keep it and fritter it away on champagne, caviar and fake tan instead. I understand the families are incredibly frustrated and angry with Blair but their sons, daughters, nephews and nieces did join the army. Unfortunately, during a war at least, death is an occupational hazard.
I note that, in the debate currently running on our site Debatewise.org, one contributor asks us to “forget our cynicism” for a moment, and I’m with him on this one. In the cold light of day, when passions are calmed and egos put aside, there are only two things to weigh up when judging someone’s action: the preceding motive and the succeeding consequences. Firstly, it is, if not likely, at least possible that Blair really does want to honour the sacrifice that soldiers make on the front line every day. Secondly, whatever his motives, surely the consequences of this money outweigh them. No one can argue that this vast sum of cash is going to harm the British Legion or the soldiers it helps.
I wondered whether our American cousins would have reacted in a similar way had it been George Bush pledging a few million to a war veterans charity, or would you just have taken the money and run? I know I would. Money is money, is money and ‘aint nothin’ gonna change that.