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August 29, 2004: Blair Does Not Have the Political Skills of Bush (or maybe he does)

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MPs plan to impeach Blair over Iraq war record
David Hencke, Westminster correspondent, The Guardian (UK), Thursday, August 26, 2004

It seems some Members of Parliament are getting frisky -


MPs are planning to impeach Tony Blair for "high crimes and misdemeanours" in taking Britain to war against Iraq, reviving an ancient practice last used against Lord Palmerston more than 150 years ago.

Eleven MPs led by Adam Price, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, are to table a motion when parliament returns that will force the prime minister to appear before the Commons to defend his record in the run-up to the war.

… The MPs' decision follows the commissioning of a 100-page report which lays out the case for impeaching Mr Blair and the precedents for action, including arguments laid down in Erskine May, the parliamentary bible, on impeachments dating back to medieval times.

… Under the ancient right, which has never been repealed, it takes only one MP to move a motion and the Speaker has to grant a debate on the impeachment. This means, at the least, Mr Blair will have to face a fresh debate on his personal handling of the war and there will have to be a vote in parliament on whether to institute impeachment proceedings.

In effect, impeachments were discontinued after Lord Palmerston, accused of concluding a secret treaty with Russia, survived an impeachment debate in 1848. The proceedings were replaced with a convention on ministerial responsibility, with ministers being forced to resign if they misled parliament. The last two cases involved the Home Office minister Beverley Hughes, over immigration clearances in Romania and Bulgaria, and Peter Mandelson over the Hinduja passports affair.

Mr Price said he believed the case was compelling. "To dust off Victorian constitutional histories and examine precedents from the time of Charles I and Chaucer may seem bizarre. But the conduct of the prime minister has left people and parliament with no alternative if we are to preserve the very basis of democracy."


Cool.  It takes only one member of parliament to get the ball rolling on this?  How quaint. 


On this side of the pond we need a House committee hearing to see if the issue should even be raised - the House has to form a committee that itself then has to vote to then ask the full House of Representatives to vote to recommend that the Senate then consider acts of impeachment, which the Senate then has to consider, nor not.

Poor Tony.  Things are a bit looser over there in the Mother Country.

And then this convention on ministerial responsibility where ministers are forced to resign if they misled parliament?  What’s up with that?  What an odd concept.  Powell and Rumsfeld would be in big trouble if we believed in ministerial responsibility.  And Bush?

We don’t do responsibility that way.  Here every four years the general population gets a shot.

So Blair will be on the hot seat, maybe.  I bet he wishes he were even more of an American.

Or maybe not.

Blair snubs Bush's war honour invite
Exclusive by Paul Gilfeather Political Editor, The Sunday Mirror (UK), August 22, 2004

Blair is no dummy -


TONY Blair has snubbed George Bush's pleas to fly to the US and pick up his "war medal" ahead of the Presidential elections.

The US President knows the PM, who is massively popular in the States, would provide his flagging re-election campaign with a much-needed boost.

And he is putting huge pressure on Mr Blair to pick up the Congressional Medal of Honor, awarded by America for his unswerving support in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But Mr Blair's closest aides have warned him to resist the plan, insisting that a meeting with President Bush would torpedo Democrat rival John Kerry's bid for the White House.

A senior Government source said: "There has been a lot of telephone traffic between the White House and Downing Street over the medal in recent weeks. George Bush wants the Prime Minister to come to Washington and pick up the medal, which is the highest honour America can bestow on a foreigner.

"But he has refused for more than a year now and for good reason. He cannot possibly accept an award for the Iraq War when British and American troops continue to risk their lives there.

"The Democrats are watching the situation very carefully and there would be uproar if Tony travelled to Washington to meet Bush so close to the Presidential elections.

"But Bush isn't letting up. The White House has already let it be known that they feel slighted because of this and believe they can use this to put pressure on Blair to get him out there."


Pressure?  He may be impeached for the whole business - and George says he needs him and is, well, feeling slighted.  What sort of pressure can the White House put on Blair?  They tell him George is all depressed and feeling so disappointed and sad?

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!" King Lear - Act I, Scene 4

Blair was due to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor in Washington but the Mirror says “following intense negotiations” the ceremony was scrapped.  It would be fun to have a transcript of those negotiations.

"After all we’ve done for you, Tony…."

"Yeah, like what, George?"

The Mirror adds that Blair is now not expected to pick up the award until he leaves Downing Street.

On the right over here NewsMax is reporting it this way -


While many world newspapers are reporting the situation as a snub to Bush, The Economic Times suggests that Blair feels a visit to the U.S. now would be tantamount to support for Bush in the 2004 presidential election, and Blair doesn't want to be seen as partial.


Ah, Blair is just being fair and impartial.  That must be it.

Or maybe he just doesn’t want to be the happy “good dog” playing fetch, endlessly.  Maybe being a subservient, obedient puppy for a dim-witted master is finally getting to him.

Hell, add too that it must be hard being the articulate one to the bumbling smirking fellow standing next to you who can’t quite explain himself and doesn’t ever quite get the concept.

Maybe enough is enough. 


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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