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”.