Sunday, March 16, 2008

How mad was Tony Blair?

A few years ago, I wrote a piece called how mad is Tony Blair about narcissism and hubris
It is always gratifying to have your suspicions confirmed: thanks to reader Derek for emailing over this fascinating extract in today's Sunday Times from a forthcoming book In Sickness and in Power: Illness in Heads of Government During the Last 100 Years, by David Owen.Lord Owen was a doctor before he became foreign secretary.

A senior official recalls that when Blair was advised about the difficulties ahead, he would respond: “You are Neville Chamberlain, I am Winston Churchill and Saddam is Hitler.” It is difficult to conduct a serious dialogue with a leader thinking in this emotional and simplistic way.

A secret memorandum dated July 23, 2002, published in The Sunday Times, described a meeting on Iraq at which, inter alia, the chief of the defence staff, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, told Blair that the military “were continuing to ask lots of questions”. Yet in conversation with me over dinner the day after this meeting, Blair was dismissive of any difficulties and trying to give me the impression that it was all being dealt with. This was not ordinary incompetence, it was hubristic incompetence. He was becoming immune to all arguments about the practical difficulties that might ensue.


He doesn't seem any better these days: today's Observer has Andrew Rawnsley on the post-PM's office still manic Blair, who by all accounts, just can't say no.

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Blogger Simon said...

The answer Rachel is 'VERY'. Anyone just looking at the facts surrounding the build up to the Kosovo invasion will see the Mr Blair's actions were directly responsible for high speed whole mass rape and murder.
From that time forward, few military people had any faith at all in Mr Blair.
It is sadly one issue I get extremely animated over – as do many soldiers.

March 16, 2008 10:21 am  
Blogger Old Fogey said...

The effect of the possession of power on individuals is fascinating. My gratitude for living in a democracy is that the exercise of power can be questioned by people like you and Owen - and they can be got rid of - unlike Stalin, Mugabe and Mao. On the evidence of this extract I think Owen's conclusion about Blair "hubristic incompetence" should not be taken at face value. Owen himself showed much the same trait when he deserted the Labour party to set up the SDP.

March 16, 2008 10:32 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I think most politicians are egotistical, it goes with wanting power, but the ones who are externally-focussed applause-junkie 'performers' tend to be more narcissistic than most.

It was interesting that Blair wanted to be a rock star and then a QC, both grand-standing professions.

March 16, 2008 1:27 pm  
Blogger Henry North London said...

I have left a lovely piece over at Cif thanks for the hat tip

One really does wonder if he really is totally unwell.

Or in the old vernacular he's just a boy who can't say no

March 16, 2008 2:12 pm  
Blogger DAVE BONES said...


March 19, 2008 2:38 pm  

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