He may have reinvented the Labor Party, chained two terms as Prime Minister (1997 to 2007) and remain one of the most brilliant commentators on British political life, Tony Blair continues to arouse deep rejection in his country. The proof with this petition put online at the start of 2022 on the Change.org platform, which exceeded 635,000 signatures on Tuesday, January 4, and demands that he not be named a “companion knight” of the Order of the Garter, the most ancient and most prestigious of British decorations.
Created on April 23, 1348, St. George’s Day by King Edward III, this order of chivalry with the famous motto (“Honi be whoever badly thinks about it”) is awarded by the queen and includes only an extremely limited number. of “companions”: 24, in addition to the queen, an ex officio member, and her son Charles, the Prince of Wales. Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major was made a “companion knight” in 2005. In addition to Tony Blair, Elizabeth II distinguished at the end of 2021 the diplomat Valerie Amos, United Nations Deputy Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs. She should become the fourth “lady companion” (living) of the order.
At 68, Tony Blair may well intervene very regularly in the public debate (as president of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change) and offer stimulating analyzes (on social democracy or the pandemic), his decision to commit his country to the Iraq war in 2003, alongside George W. Bush, has still not been forgiven. The former prime minister has always defended himself, despite criticism and subsequent investigations, explaining that he acted ” in good faith ” and having been guided “For the sake of his country”.
“Tony Blair has caused irreparable damage to the UK and its society. He is personally responsible for the deaths of a large number of innocent people (…). He should be held responsible for war crimes ”, the petition claims on Change.org. His distinction “Is a punch in the face” Afghans and Iraqis, says activist Lindsey German of the British association Stop the War Coalition in the columns of the far-left daily Morning Star. On Tuesday, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson cautiously steered clear of the controversy, arguing that “It is a subject which falls entirely within the competence of the queen”. The latter is not supposed to consult Downing Street before appointing “fellow knights” and is unlikely to reverse her decision.
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Tony Blair, distinguished by the queen, unloved by the population