- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2003

Nobles: Tony Blair and the Tory party.
The truest test of a leader is not when he is surrounded by friends, but rather when he is encircled by foes. When he stands true to his purpose despite scorn from his enemies and silence from his allies. When he puts aside personal interest for the sake of what he believes is right regardless of how unpopular it makes him.
Tony Blair met that test on Tuesday, when he secured the support of Parliament through a rhetorical performance rarely matched in modern political history. The moment could not have been more critical. The course he had chosen had cost him a great deal of support in his party three of his cabinet ministers had already resigned in protest. Few thought he would have survived a vote against the war.
He rose on the floor of the House of Commons, to address a party in revolt and a Parliament in an uproar. He stood and delivered the most powerful speech he had ever given, mixing eloquence with emotion, passion with a precise enunciation of irrefutable facts. He stood for long hours while the debate raged around him, calming fears, answering foes and fulfilling his duty, not to his party or to his friends, but rather to honor, to country, to freedom.
Though deserted by 139 members of his own party, he won the day by a vote of 396-217.
Mr. Blair's finest hour never would have happened had it not been for the support of his political opposition the Tory party. Few opposition parties have ever acted so loyally, since few Labor leaders have been as effective against the Tories as Mr. Blair. Since Mr. Blair's rise, Tory stature has diminished, Tory numbers have dwindled. Their fat days under Margaret Thatcher have been followed by long years of political famine under Mr. Blair.
Those lean years could have ended in a second. The Tories had Mr. Blair at their mercy. They could have destroyed him with a single stroke, with a single vote. In a moment they could have ended Mr. Blair's long tenure as prime minister, put a permanent stain on his legacy and possibly even restored Tory fortunes.
They stood with Mr. Blair. They stood with him against every political instinct. They stood with him although it will cost them years as secondary players on the political stage. They stood with him although it means that they will be forgotten while Mr. Blair is remembered.
While it is unusual to name Co-Nobles, much less to name the same Noble two weeks in a row, the leadership of Mr. Blair and the selflessness of the Tory Party were simply extraordinary.

Knaves: Mouthpiece of the monster, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
If Saddam Hussein is just heartbeats away from Hitler (in this world and probably the next), then Tariq Aziz is just as close to Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister.
The parallels are striking. Goebbels studied literature at the University of Heidelberg, Mr. Aziz studied English literature at Baghdad University; both became editors of their party's newspapers; both served as information ministers; both had a weakness for costly foreign objects where Goebbels favored foreign starlets, Mr. Aziz favors Cuban cigars.
Perhaps most terribly, both Mr. Aziz and Goebbels voluntarily became mouthpieces for autocrats who committed unspeakable atrocities. Mr. Aziz may have a more genial face than Goebbels, but his long, loyal service to a monster is no less grotesque.
During the last Gulf War, Mr. Aziz made no apologies for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Despite his eloquence in English, Mr. Aziz is not known to have discussed Saddam's crimes against the Kurds. During his private audience with the pope last month, Mr. Aziz claimed that he was speaking for peace and cooperation probably because there was no point in talking about non-compliance or torture chambers.
Goebbels committed suicide as Allied forces were entering Berlin. Fate will determine whether Mr. Aziz punctuates his parallel career with Goebbels by sharing a similar end.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide