BLAIR CONFESSA, VERITA’ ‘DISTORTE’ HANNO PRESERVATO IL PROCESSO DI PACE
In uscita l’attesissimo libro memoriale di Tony Blair, ex Primo Ministro inglese
Tony Blair, Primo Ministro inglese dal 2 maggio 1997 al 27 giugno 2007, ha sicuramente giocato la sua parte nel processo di pace che sta attraversando l’Irlanda del Nord, così come ha scelto di farsi da parte al momento giusto.
L’attesissimo libro memoriale “A Journey” ha finalmente visto la luce.
Ben 8000 parole del suo contenuto sono dedicate all’Irlanda del Nord.
Tony Blair ha infatti affermato tra le righe, che nel 2006 è stata la “distorsione” di alcune verità a salvare il processo di pace nel momento in cui si trovava ad un passo dal tracollo a causa dello stallo nei colloqui tra Sinn Fein e DUP.
“I politici sono tenuti di volta in volta a nascondere la piena verità, a piegarla e a distorcerla, laddove l’interesse del grande obiettivo strategico richieda di farlo”.
“Senza l’impiego di qualche sottigliezza a questo livello, il lavoro sarebbe quasi impossibile.”
Per assurdo, Tony Blair svela come l’Accordo di St. Andrews Blair abbia rischiato di andare gambe all’aria per la scelta del tavolo in vista di una riunione decisiva a Stormont.
Il DUP avrebbe voluto le parti a sedersi l’uno di fronte all’altro, “per dimostrare che erano ancora avversari”, mentre il Sinn Fein avrebbe voluto che tutti si sedessero l’uno accanto all’altro “per dimostrare di essere uguali”. La soluzione fu la proposta ‘vincente’ di un funzionario di Downing Street che propose l’utilizzo di un tavolo a forma di diamante.
L’Accordo di St. Andrews. Proprio attorno ad esso ruota la giostra dei commenti alle dichiarazioni contenute nel libro di Tony Blair. “E ‘sempre stato chiaro ad alcuni di noi che l’accordo emerso da St Andrews è stato uno fatto in fretta e per le ragioni sbagliate”, accusa Sir Reg Empey leader uscente dell’UUP.
Ma la mano più pesante è quella di Jim Allister, membro del TUV fortemente contrario alla condivisione di poteri con lo Sinn Fein, “Queste memorie danno uno sguardo nella profonda immoralità che si trovava al centro del ‘processo di pace’ e di come alcuni Unionisti, che si vantavano le loro prodezze, siano stati truffati”, ha detto.
“Ora si scopre Blair ha mentito a Paisley su ciò che aveva accettato di Adams”. “L’Accordo di St. Andrews non vale la carta su cui è scritto”.
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- Tony Blair: “I took horrendous chances in what I was telling each the other had agreed to…” (sluggerotoole.com)
- Tony Blair ‘lied to stop Northern Ireland peace talks collapsing’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Tony Blair: I liked Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness ‘more than I should’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Tony Blair: I liked Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness ‘more than I should have’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Tony Blair ‘concealed full truth’ to save Northern Ireland peace talks (telegraph.co.uk)
- Tony Blair: A Journey – the cast (telegraph.co.uk)
- Tony Blair’s kiss-and-tell memoir a smacker (worldblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- Blair on Northern Ireland (politics.ie)
Blair ‘bent truth’ for NI peace (U TV)
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has admitted that he sometimes “distorted” the truth to prevent the Northern Ireland peace process from collapsing.
Writing in his eagerly-awaited memoirs, Mr Blair said he took “horrendous chances” over what he told each party the others had agreed to.
The truth was on occasion “stretched past breaking point” in 2006, when talks to restore the power-sharing institutions were deadlocked between Sinn Fein and the DUP.
Around 8,000 words of Mr Blair’s memoir ‘The Journey’ are devoted to Northern Ireland.
He defends “bending” the truth by saying it was necessary to keep the peace talks alive.
“Politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even distort it, where the interest of the bigger strategic goal demands it be done,” he writes.
“Without operating with some subtlety at this level, the job would be well-nigh impossible.”
DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell says the revelation will not come as news to most Unionists.
“When negotiating with Tony Blair our emphasis always lay on actions not words,” he said.
“We never accepted words because we knew how easily they had been ditched in the past.
“Indeed, that is why we ensured upfront delivery by the Government and Sinn Fein before we entered government.”
However UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said the comments reveal that the St Andrew’s Agreement was “built on lies”.
“It has always been clear to some of us that the deal emerging from St Andrews was one done in haste and for the wrong reasons,” the Ulster Unionist said.
“The Belfast Agreement was subject to a referendum in which the people of Northern Ireland were able to cast their judgment on what we negotiated.
“St Andrews was not like that, and we are suffering the consequences of having a deal done behind such smoke and mirrors.
“The DUP, sadly, had their eye wiped in part to satisfy Ian Paisley‘s vanity. We are living with the very real mistakes that were made in the then Prime Minister’s approach.”
TUV leader Jim Allister, who opposes power-sharing with Sinn Fein, says the St Andrews agreement is “not worth the paper it is written on”.
“These memoirs give a glimpse into the deep immorality which lay at the heart of the ‘peace process’ and how some Unionists, who prided themselves on their prowess, were conned,” he said.
“Now it turns out Blair lied to Paisley about what Adams had agreed to, resulting in a pledge of office not worth the paper it is written on.”
Former SDLP leader Mark Durkan said: “Tony Blair knew that I didn’t believe a lot of what he told me at the time.
“He didn’t like it when you told him you didn’t necessarily believe any of it.
“He would often say: ‘Do you not trust me?’ I would say:’ Even if I wanted to trust you I couldn’t rely on you.”
Mr Blair also says the deal in 2007 almost collapsed over the choice of table for a key meeting at Stormont.
He explains that the DUP wanted the parties to sit opposite each other, “to show they were still adversaries”, while Sinn Fein wanted everyone to sit beside each other “to show they were equals”.
A deal was only reached, Mr Blair says, when a Downing Street official suggested the parties sit around a diamond-shaped table.
“Would it have broken the deal if it hadn’t of happened? Probably not”, DUP North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Jr.
“But it is one of those details, there are many details in all of this which at the end of the event now seem bizarre but at the time…kept the process moving.”
Mr Blair also recollects an incident which occurred before the Assembly elections in 1997.
“I remember before the 1997 election a leading Orangeman describing me as unfit to be prime minister because my wife was a painted jezebel who claimed her allegiance to Rome,” he writes.
The former Prime Minister also speaks of his relationship with his former chancellor Gordon Brown in the book.
He describes Mr Brown as “maddening” and “difficult”, but also praises him for being “strong, capable and brilliant”.
He adds that Mr Brown lost the general election in 2010 because he deviated from the New Labour message.