One of the more surprising news stories this week was Tony Blair’s decision to give his multimillion pound advance to the Royal British Legion.
Today a spokesman for the former prime minister, who is understood to have already received a £4.6m advance for his memoirs, said he would hand over all the money he makes – including the advance – “as a way of marking the enormous sacrifice [the armed forces] make”.
Blair’s spokesman said: “Tony Blair recognises the courage and sacrifice the armed forces demonstrate day in, day out. As prime minister he witnessed that for himself in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone and Kosovo. This is his way of honouring their courage and sacrifice.”
The reaction to this has been decidedly mixed. I’m no Blairite, but it seems to me that the hostile reaction this has provoked in some quarters says more about the protesters than the supposed crimes of Blair himself. Still, it has spawned a Fantastic Headline on one blog. It’s a play on words quite like Tony Benn: an old ‘un, but a good ‘un:
Tony Blair’s Cunning Stunt