This video shows over a hundred thousand people demonstrating in London against Bush’s and Blair’s Iraq war on 19 March 2005.
From British daily The Independent:
Two words sum up why I cannot accept my MBE: Tony Blair
An exclusive report by Joseph Corre, co-founder of Agent Provocateur
Published: 21 June 2007
I am not a politician. I am not a political commentator. I have never been a Conservative, on one hand, or a hippie on the other. I have certainly never hated the Labour Party. I’m simply a businessman who co-founded a company called Agent Provocateur, which makes knickers and has had the good fortune to be successful.
Three weeks ago, I was sent a letter saying that I’d been nominated for an MBE. I thought it was a nice gesture and signed a form saying that I would be happy to accept. But after news of the MBE came out in the press, the idea began wrestling with my conscience. Yesterday, I decided that I cannot accept this honour.
My reason for turning down the MBE can be summed up in two words: Tony Blair. In 1997, I voted for Mr Blair. It was a time of hope and I was hopeful that he would be a good prime minister. To a degree, his party did good things in office. I agreed with the minimum wage, and I have admired his tax regime, which created an environment in which my business could thrive.
However, I believe that the way and the methods with which Tony Blair took Britain to war in Iraq and Afghanistan alongside George Bush were dishonest. They were based on a lie. We did not enter these conflicts for moral reasons; we entered them for economic ones. That much has now become clear.
I would have admired Tony Blair, or at least respected him, if he’d have told me that we were going to war because he thought it would be good for our economy, regardless of the human cost. I would have respected that honesty, even if I strongly disagreed with him. But instead, Mr Blair dreamt up this thing called spin, which is effectively organised lying, to convince the British public that his reasons were just.
The result has been that hundreds of thousands of people have now suffered intolerably. They have suffered death and torture, and they now live in hopeless situations as a direct result of Tony Blair’s invasion. What is going on daily in Iraq is a tragedy. I have seen the death and the sheer human misery. I have seen pictures of whole families being blown to pieces. It is the greatest scandal of our time.
Someone has to be held responsible for that. Someone has to stand up and hold up their hand and say sorry for the lies, and sorry for that dodgy dossier. Instead, we have had silence. The UK has become a more dangerous place, and a bigger target for terrorists. Whole communities have been alienated and still nobody from Tony Blair’s government has said sorry.
What happened to the old-fashioned concept of honour? What happened to people being prepared to accept they were wrong, and to apologise or resign? In London, a poor innocent commuter was shot seven times in the head, and not one person said sorry. In Parliament, Tony Blair has been like John Gotti, the Teflon Don: he has refused to allow anything to stick to him.
People are disillusioned with democracy. They feel helpless and powerless, and the reason has been Mr Blair. There was a huge march against his war. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets, and he took no notice. No wonder people feel disenfranchised from the political process, when he will allow nothing to stick.
Mr Blair has caused many miserable deaths, and tortures. He has presided over extraordinary rendition, and has been happy to see people imprisoned without trial, on barely a scrap of evidence. In his Britain, habeas corpus is no longer sacrosanct, and at a personal level this means that I simply cannot accept this honour.
I could have said all this differently. I could have sent Tony Blair a private letter. But I have chosen to make my feelings public because I want them to be known. If you are given an honour, you are given a chance to speak out. You are recognised as being of importance culturally, and this makes it important to speak your mind. I couldn’t accept that I am part of Tony Blair’s system. I would have felt that I was being untrue to myself.
That is why I have decided to reject this honour.
The other refuseniks
The playwright declined a CBE for services to literature in 1988 and a knighthood eight years later. He also turned down an honorary doctorate from Oxford University in 1998, because it had accepted funds from Rupert Murdoch [see also here]. …
The poet wrote in 2003: “OBE me? Up yours! I get angry when I hear that word ‘empire‘: it reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality. Stick it, Mr Blair and Mrs Queen, stop going on about empire.”
Torture by British soldiers in Iraq: here.