Keeping faith with Blair?

By Simon Barrow
June 14, 2008

Over on the ever-stimulating OpenDemocracy, Anthony Barnett offers an acute assessment of Tony Blair's recent blandishments on faith and the global order.

In a wide ranging analysis of a recent interview with the former PM and self-styled envoy for religion, globalisation, Hamas-free Middle East peace, and general armed niceness, he writes:

This is Blair's game, if I may be allowed to decode it. He wants us to attach ourselves to his sincerity and evaporate arguments over judgement. I don't doubt that he is a sincere believer. But so what? In politicians it is judgements that matter. Blair tries to get us to feel differently: "The worst thing in politics," he [says] "is when you're so scared of losing support that you don't do what you think is the right thing. What faith can do is not tell you what is right but give you the strength to do it."

[...] [W]hat Blair is saying is that "faith" permits him to do the wrong thing well. It does not matter so much if the decision itself could have been better or different, provided it is sincerely done and the sincerity is drawn from a true spirit of belief. But isn't this just what the fundamentalists argue in their own way? Maybe innocents do die in an indiscriminate terrorist attack, but if the faith of the believer is pure... the virgins await."

The whole piece is here:

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