"The Trial of Tony Blair"

Another bit of English telly drama has arrived here in Oz, this time “The Trial of Tony Blair“, which first aired in Great Britain in 2007 before Tony had even left no. 10.

My reaction? I was bit taken aback that they could make such a thing in England. I mean – I got the impression that there must be just about as many people in the UK that hate Tony Blair just about as much as there are many people in Australia who hate our own ex-PM John Winston Howard.

For the record, I voted for “Little Johnny” (as he was known) in his first three winning elections. In the fourth, I voted Family First. With the same effect in the end, thanks to preferences. So I am not a Howard hater. I know that he was more a “Man of Clay” than a “Man of Steel” (as George Dubya dubbed him), but I guess since the longest serving Australian PM was known as Pig-Iron Bob, it makes sense that our second-longest serving PM should also have a mineral moniker.

One exchange in “The Trial of Tony Blair” I found especially funny was this:

Publisher: “You talk a lot about God in your memoirs.”
TB: “Well, I believe in God.”
Publisher: “But you didn’t say anything about him while you were in office.”
TB: “That was because of the focus groups.”


Speaking of our two ex-PM’s, what a hoot that they were both in the States recently receiving the “Medal of Freedom” from the only man who could possibly outrank them both in the hatred stakes. In a few days, the medal giver will join the medal recipients as an ex-somebody.

That is what I found really interesting about “The Trial of Tony Blair”. When an elected official leaves office, he becomes a nobody. It is the office, not the person, who is honoured. Sometimes, the person overshadows the office. Sometimes this is to the good of the office. Sometimes it is to its detriment.

Personally, I am glad that our Popes never have the chance to become “ex-popes”. The only one in history who did (Celestine V) did not have a happy time as an ex-somebody. In the mean time, let us remember another person who received the “Medal of Freedom” from George W. As my wife said, “At least he deserved it”.

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0 Responses to "The Trial of Tony Blair"

  1. Mikha'el says:

    In the case of ex-PMs/Presidents and an ex-pope, it is the office that is honored. But in the case of recipients of the ‘Medal of Freedom’, the converse is (or rather should be) true- the recipient is honored for their actions, and the Medal of Freedom itself falls into the shadows after it has drawn the spotlight onto those recipients. At that point, the recipient’s actions are turned over to the public for debate, and then approved or disapproved.

  2. matthias says:

    Your wife was right Schutz-are not all wives right everytime?!- Pope JP2 was a worthy recipient of the medal of freedom. He saw evil incarnate at close quarters twice in his life-Nazism and Communism-and is credited with saving quite a few Jewish lives.
    By the way Senator Fielding is not bad bloke,even though the church he goes to has been caught up in the Latter Rain Movement.

  3. Paul says:

    I watched the first few minutes of the "Trial of Tony Blair" last night, but gave up on it. The ridiculous opening scene of the confession wasn't enough to turn me off the programme, but I think the real behaviour of politicians is funny enough without inventing a story. Anyway, it was out of date, having been made a few years ago.

    Have you seen the video of the speech Tony Blair made in Westminster Cathedral…

    about faith in the world?

    It is none of my business of course, but I have a theory about what attracted Tony Blair to the Catholic Church. Even as a politician, he wanted to defend his decisions on the basis of reason and ethical behaviour, even if some of his decisions seem indefensible. In any case, I think he is attracted to a well founded faith that can be shared with all the generations of church (the "democracy of the dead" that Chesterton talked about) and also to the use of reason to seek understanding of that faith.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Weren’t Silverius (d. 537) and St. Martin (Pope 649-53; d. 655) ex-popes, too?

    William Tighe

  5. Schütz says:

    Were they, Dr William?

    I know the Emperor deposed Martin I in 653 – but when do we date the start of the papacy of St Eugene I? He was elected in 654, but the list of Popes in the Catholic Encyclopedia gives the starting date of his papacy as 655… So, while historically (from the point of view of his active ministry as Pope) St Martin was an “ex-pope” (and his experience bears out what I was saying about being an “ex-” somebody not being a pleasant experience), it appears that from the Church’s point of view his successor (St Eugene) only became the valid pope when St Martin died a few months after the election.

    The same goes for Pope Silverius, who was also deposed and exiled by military force. His successor was only recognised as pope by the Roman clergy when Silverius died.

    So, yes, effectively these two were “ex-popes”, but in truth, they remained “pope” in the eyes of the diocese of Rome until their deaths. Whereas, Celestine V was legitimately replaced by Boniface VIII.

    Thanks for bringing them to mind, however. Always helps to be complete.

  6. Schütz says:


    I read the Westminster speech when Tony Blair first made it, and I had a real chuckle last night when he referred to his grand idea of a “Blair Foundation” for interfaith dialogue as a way for making a name for himself.

    As to why Tony became a Catholic, I like to think it was a sincere conversion, but some English Catholic bloggers raise questions based on his words and actions.

  7. Past Elder says:

    There you go — let’s find an Emperor or somebody to effectively depose and install popes, then call it good later when the deposed pope dies and the great god Rome says yeah that’s cool you just kind of beat us to it with all those troops and stuff, we meant to do that.

    Tu es Petrus indeed. What an utter joke.

    As to why Tony became Catholic, why not leave that between him and God?

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