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A ceasefire in days?

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Nick Robinson | 19:43 UK time, Saturday, 29 July 2006

San Francisco: I've just been interviewing Tony Blair about his plan to bring peace to Lebanon (you can watch it here). He claims that there could be a ceasefire within days if the UN can reach agreement on a new resolution and the principle of setting up a new stabilisation force. If you think this sounds like he's being - in his own words - "an incurable optimist" there are two straws in the wind that may - and I do stress may - suggest you're wrong.

Firstly, an Israeli official has told my colleague Paul Adams that the guns may fall silent when the UN reaches agreement if - and it's a big if - Hezbollah stops firing rockets and does not use a ceasefire to re-arm itself. Secondly, Hezbollah itself last night said it backed the position of the Lebanese government which includes support for Resolution 1559 which calls on foreign forces to withdraw but also calls on militia to be disarmed. Do they mean it? Does this suggest that both fear the consequences of this conflict continuing? The next week should tell us the answer.

I also asked the prime minister about split in his Cabinet - a split which he said he wasn't aware of. It has now emerged that the man who was his foreign secretary until a few weeks ago - Jack Straw - has publicly attacked Israel and, by implication, his own government. Mr Straw told Muslims in his constituency that "Disproportionate action only escalates an already dangerous situation". He went on to say that "one of the many serious concerns I have is that the continuation of such tactics by the Israelis could further undermine destabilise an already fragile Lebanese nation".

A fear many people have is that Britain's position could make us a greater target for terrorist attacks. Tony Blair's answer was blunt - "when people stand up and fight, people will come after you".

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 09:29 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Rachel Mawhood wrote:

Please write down in your blog the question you asked Tony Blair about why he didn't call for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon and - verbatim please - what Blair said in reply. From what I have just heard on the 9.00pm bulletin on Radio 4, Blair appears to have totally bought into Bush's idea that the prophecies in the Book of Revelations are about to be fulfilled: eg that a ceasefire now (which would save some lives at least) = the "false peace" that is organised by the Anti-Christ (according to the Book of Revelations). As a Christian, I can say with complete confidence that Bush is peddling gibberish, which would be hilarious if thousands of innocent Lebanese were not dying as a result. And I think that Britain would be better off without a brain-washed prime minister. I can hardly believe Blair's cruelty.

  • 2.
  • At 10:09 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

You make me want to be sick Nick.. Your obviously too close to the labour executive to really put Blair on the spot.. If you can't ask the tough questions then you shouldn't be a political jornalist.

  • 3.
  • At 10:14 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

I understand that many people have short memories, but tell me, is Blair ignorant or disengenuous? How many thousands of people is Israel holding in prison without trail or access to anyone? How many of those people are children? How many people has Israel killed during Hamas' ceasefire? How many of those were children? And isn't it the case that the soldiers who were attacked were INSIDE Lebanon at the time? Tell me, from the original terrorist attacks and ethnic cleansing by Irgun and their ilk, through the invasion of Egypt at Suez, fifty years of illegal occupation, the development of nuclear weapons, via the massacre at Shabila and the extra-judicial slaughter that has murdered and mutilated hundreds of innocents bystanders, right up to the building of a vast prison camp around an entire People and the sabotage of Hamas' planned vote on recognising Israel, who are the aggressors here? Who are the terrorists?

Britain's hands are bloodier than most, and the curse of this thrice promised land will keep returning to haunt us until we put it right. Israel exists and must continue to do so, but the World should not allow her Governments to continue to blackmail us into supporting war crimes, barbarism and piracy.

  • 4.
  • At 10:56 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

"when people stand up and fight, they will come after you"

Is Mr. Blair insane ? They will come after the British people, not him personally.

I'm from N. Ireland Nick. If this was proposed as the start of the our peace process do you think it would have worked ???!!! The killing must stop 1st.

It has to start with a ceasefire on both sides. :o(

  • 5.
  • At 11:04 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Andrew Norris wrote:

The arrogance of Mr Blair, and his total unwillingness to take into account the views of the people that he purports to represent, even his own party, merely to impress his friends in Washington appears to be leading to further unease in the British Muslim population, which could in turn easily lead to a repeat of the events of July 7th last year. And the man appears not to care. This macho stance can only go so far before this nation's own self-interest should kick in and we should stand in line, not with those in Washington who use British support merely as a badge of alleged international acceptance, but with the rest of Europe. The man, once again, could end up with blood on his hands.

  • 6.
  • At 11:31 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • James wrote:

Did you question Blair's response about "when people stand up" etc?

Did you question his assumption about the root cause of the conflict (if I recall that interview correctly he just repeated what he insists -- that we look at the "root causes" and must understand the "deeper history" and that this started because Hezbollah kidnapped that soldier.)

Did you question his ridiculously poor historical analysis? I find a lot of journalists do not seem to have the guts to refute such things. Did you not say to him "I think you are wrong: what about the beach bombing, the targetted assassinations leading up to this" and all the other such incidents I am SURE you know about as a journalist...

And what did he say?

  • 7.
  • At 11:38 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Tim Casey wrote:

Hmmm
Nice of Mr Blair.
Maybe he should have to endure the Piccadilly line for a couple of hours each day. Might focus his mind on the reality of life rather than the surreal neo-conservative nonsense that pours out of the Bush White House.
Why do we not have a viable opposition?
TC

  • 8.
  • At 11:39 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Stuart LeVine wrote:


The key to the UK position should be what is moral and not "what makes us a greater target for terrorist attacks". Failure to stand up to Islamic fanatics abroad will not protect Britain from fanatics at home.

  • 9.
  • At 11:46 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • s. smith wrote:

Nick, it is a great shame you spend too much time embedded with the politicians in the westminister/entourage bubble asking questions about relationships, personalities, rumours, trying to be too clever by half. If you had talked to ordinary british people for ten minutes you would have asked the question most people are thinking: Why britain is supplying weapons to the conflict through a british airport?

  • 10.
  • At 11:49 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Keith Donaldson wrote:

Recent responses to your diary entries, Nick, make it quite clear that the vast majority in the UK don’t buy into this theory of, ‘a ceasefire only in due time - when it can be based on principles.’ There was never any reason why an immediate ceasefire should not be called for, while at the same time agreeing the need to work urgently for a long term solution – the two are not mutually exclusive and, I am afraid Messrs Blair and Bush, we are not stupid enough to believe it. Consequently, it is patently obvious to almost everyone that the recent USA / UK stance has been merely a ploy to buy time for the Israeli action, because it seems to fit in with the ‘War on Terror’ agenda.

Their instant tacit support (manifest initially by silence) of Israel’s action makes it equally obvious that the USA and the UK were aware well in advance that the Israeli action was coming, the nature of which, in any case has been such that it had to be pre-planned; hence the ‘capture’ of the two Israeli soldiers was just the excuse to start it off – ring any historical bells? But it is the scale of the destruction, particularly in south Lebanon, which has caught Bush and Blair off -guard and has resulted in their ridiculous rhetoric (not to mention Condoleezza Rice’s obvious discomfiture on our TV screens – she’s not stupid enough to believe it either!)

Now I do think that Blair’s present mission to the US is having some effect in shifting the Whitehouse position. However, the apparent open cynicism and lack of humanity in the recent US / UK position has left me ashamed and sick to my stomach. I deplore the suffering of Israel at the hands of Hezbollah, but imagine the outcry in Washington or London if 400 US or UK citizens, 200 of them children had died in the last 2 weeks as those in the south of Lebanon have. The only conclusions that the world can draw are firstly, that the USA and the UK - these two great Western Democracies put a greater value on the lives of their own citizens than those of the people of south Lebanon and secondly that they are not prepared to acknowledge the democratic voice of the people of their own nations, in the UK at least, who are crying out for their leaders to take a properly principled stand.

“When people stand up and fight, people will come after you.” This is one of the most openly honest things Tony Blair has come out with for a good while and I can accept it, as long as we’re standing up with integrity to fight on the right principles. I fear that the last two weeks will result in more ‘people coming after us’ than was ever necessary and that an opportunity for Western Democracy, and in particular the UK, to lead by example has been lost. Note also that the majority of the population of south Lebanon were not looking for a fight and look what has happened to them anyway!

So for Bush and Blair, not to mention the people of northern Israel and southern Lebanon there is an awful lot riding on ‘a ceasefire in a few days,’ particularly as the last 17 days have been disastrous all round. There do seem to be an awful lot of ‘ifs’ attached, though.

  • 11.
  • At 11:52 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

Soz Nick, me again, but its like the old saying, and it needs to be asked.

"putting the horse before the cart"

  • 12.
  • At 11:55 PM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Scott Graham wrote:

Of course people will come after you...if you are a poodle of a war-mongering fundamentalist. The difference between bush and islam is only right and left..

  • 13.
  • At 12:12 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Steve Ollington wrote:

Do you propose he does call a ceasefire pointlessly? Like he said, if he calls a ceasefire, Israel may listen but Hezbollah wont.... so what is the point in calling it? Just to stop Israel, but not Hezbollah??

You did that interview with Blair, did you actually listen to what he said? Did your brain process the information he gave you? Because it seems that you didn't listen, or didn't understand it.

I listened, and I understood... made perfect sense to me. I believe he is right. And if he is right, then that would make Bush right, and if they're both right.... that would mean that by agreeing with someone who is right because you know they are right makes you a poodle yes?

Or maybe you should just accept that they believe they can make a difference if they work together on these things, and that if they agree, it's because they agree, and not that one is the others master.

You're like a child.

  • 14.
  • At 12:16 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Tom Reeve wrote:

Interesting, if in fact it's true, that there are straws of optimism in the wind and there might be a ceasefire in Lebanon next week.

However, as far as I'm concerned, Tony Blair has already revealed the colour of his soul, and it's very dark indeed. By failing to call for an immediate ceasefire as soon as the Israeli Defense Force crossed into Lebanon, Blair missed his chance to demonstrate his humanity.

If I had the power that Blair has, I would be standing on the rooftops, screaming for a ceasefire, but Blair opted instead to wait as more than 200 children were killed in Lebanon - and many more maimed.

I'm not saying Blair could have single-handedly stopped it from happening, but if intent is the acid test of morality, the fact remains that he didn't even try.

  • 15.
  • At 12:20 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • David wrote:

Nick... did you challenge Blair about negotiating a ceasefire with their friends... as Bush has said on a few occasions...?

Surely you negotiate a ceasefire with the enemy as well, for peace to ensue, all surrounding nations needs to be included and not just their friends.

If Iraq is what Bush & Blair calls democracy as we hear so often, it sure well has become pretty unstable I fear that Lebanon may end up the same.

As far as Jack Straw is concerned I just don't trust anything he say's anymore just like the rest of the party the number of people who you can trust is virtually zero, let him be heard to speak out in public.

David
Nr Manchester

  • 16.
  • At 12:29 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Mubarak wrote:

Very important questions asked Nick.

When Mr Blair said that he was saying the same thing as the rest of the world in getting a cease fire on both sides, I would of loved if you asked then why doesnt the rest of the world not agree.

Doesnt he know that the longer he takes doing what he saying he is doing, the more innocent people die. It makes get into a big sweat knowing that if i was in his position, I could lessen the suffering but conciously decided not to.

On another note, this could be what Mr Murdoch envisioned for Blair - finishing on one final achievement, if thats what Blair wants, he certainly can go out with a bang.

  • 17.
  • At 12:51 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • David M wrote:

People will come after you, but when you are embroiled in an exercise involving countries tied to other countries which have oil reserves that we in the West desperately need to maintain our standard of living, it's a risk worth taking, especially since there is no chance of Tony Blair or anyone closely related to him losing his life in the process.

  • 18.
  • At 12:57 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Tony Barry wrote:

Nick though Blair was getting defensive at points in your interview I thought you let him off the hook somewhat. The talk of a ceasefire can be and was immediately deflected by talking about does this include Hezzbollah (even though before the invasion they weren't firing rockets at Israel). No the key (and indefensible) point to hit home is the proportionality aspect - did he think 400+ civilian deaths, massive destruction of infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes is fair retaliation for the initial soldiers kidnapped. The answer is of course "no", unless you admit the goal is to wipe out Hezzbollah in the south and if that was the goal then why was this not persued via the Lebonese government and UN, ie. peaceful methods?

  • 19.
  • At 01:02 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • David M wrote:

"It has now emerged that the man who was his foreign secretary until a few weeks ago - Jack Straw - has publicly attacked Israel and, by implication, his own government." Give it a rest!!! According to the BBC News website: "Foreign Secretary Jack Straw...has Jewish ancestry." Please credit us with some intelligence.

  • 20.
  • At 01:51 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Harry Palmer wrote:

" Hezbollah itself last night said it backed the position of the Lebanese government which includes support for Resolution 1559 which calls on foreign forces to withdraw but also calls on militia to be disarmed. "

Why would Hezbollah sign up to something which aids their demise ? It doesn't make sense. There is no way Hezbollah are going to disarm and Tony Blair is dreaming if he and George Bush think that the UN are going to be peacemakers. The last UN peacemakers got blown to bits.

  • 21.
  • At 01:59 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • wdk wrote:

I watched this interview just to realise that Mr Blair has a very selective perception of events.
The sequence of events was as follows:
1) Hisbollah attacked IDF soldiers across the border - kidnapping 2 after killing others.
2) Israel IDF forces started bombarding Lebanon with disproportional force, killing mostly civillians and not Hisbollah they claim targeting.
3) Hisbollah started firing rockets into Israel.
Both sides (IDF and Hisbollah) are committing war crimes and Mr Blair utters such a drivel.
It is revolting.
WDK

  • 22.
  • At 02:20 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

Hezbollah stops firing rockets and does not use a ceasefire to re-arm itself.

And America's rearming of Israel? and Israel's destruction of Gaza?

...Tony Blair's answer was blunt - "when people stand up and fight, people will come after you".

And hopefully the least you get, under Labour's Respect Agenda, is an ASBO. But you might, in a world without rule of law - and remember that international law is being flouted extensively in this - find a mob of outraged locals decide, when you're least ready, to teach you a lesson you'll never forget. Did the PM understand the question?

  • 23.
  • At 02:36 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Stop the bombing, Hands off Lebanon wrote:

I totally agree with Mr. Jack Straw. I am a Muslim, and I can tell you that the Muslim sentiments are aggreviating with the position of the UK government on what's happening in Lebanon. The continuation of the war, and the level of destruction by the Israeli army, increased the popularity of Hizbullah (which is supposedly a terrorist organisation) among even the most moderate Muslims, Sunni and Shiites. For the first time in years, both Muslim sects have united on their position regarding a political issue. I am worried that the conflict might expand to include not only Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, as well as Iran and Syria, but also the shiite-dominated Iraq. By then, there will be no need for a cease-fire!

  • 24.
  • At 03:01 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • brightonian kosovar wrote:

I think Britain should not back the USA and Israel in this conflict. Why should British citizens suffer from any possible attack that this support might bring? Does British PM thinks about consequences that this support might bring to British citizens? No, he is not! Brits are happy people and have worked for centuries to enjoy what they have today. It is not right what Israeli is doing in Lebanon.

I have been refugee myself and suffered from Slobodan Milosevic's regime. It was Tony Blair and then USA President Bill Clinton that helped my nation gain the freedom. What Blair is doing now is so opposite to that. As kosovar, I admire Tony Blair...but as political scientist I think he is doing wrong to British people.

I have lived in Britain for a year...and this freedom and wealth that you have... you should protect for any price.. even if that means that it is time to change your policy of special relationships with the USA.

It is not difficult to now that what the USA and Bush Administration are doing in the Middle East is so wrong. Many empires have fallen during the course of history...Britain was one of them. If the USA an present empire or superpower is to fall ... I am sure, it would be or anything else but because of its wrong policies towards the Middle East... God save the British citizens and all other peace loving nations.

  • 25.
  • At 05:00 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Greg Heibel wrote:

Appropos of nothing, I heard your interview on KCBS (all-news radio station in San Francisco) while driving in Napa this afternoon.

I politely asked my wife to please be quiet during your piece, telling her: "He's the BBC political editor with the black glasses that I like..." (she had seen you on BBC America and ITV News).

Her response was "Just because he wears big glasses doesn't mean he's interesting."

Oh well, no accounting for taste.

Interesting interview - too bad that the KCBS weekend anchor had neither the interest nor the knowledge to do a particularly in-depth piece with you about the PM's trip and what he's doing hanging around with 250 News Corp execs.

Enjoy Pebble Beach.

Greg

What is Tony blair standing up for? In this particular instance, surely it should be standing up for the innocents on both sides of this conflict. Not offering survivors compensation and new homes. I am surprised that Blair seems to prefer his support of all things Bush American, his actual job is Prime Minister of this country. Blair is our Prime Minister, he is not supposed to be a renegade freedom fighter doling out his version of what he stands for, but what we as British Citizens want and stand for. I don't stand up for bombing innocent people on either side, all life is precious and Blair is not representing me in any way. And he is not hearing argument properly anymore, and how dare he choose to put us under more threat for his own views and not those of the country!

Frankly, Blair has not only undermined his own PM role, but more than likely that of his successor from within New Labour.

I suppose the truth is Blair is ending his Premiership by his unswerving resolve to keep faith with an ally who has made as many mistakes as he has. And history will be their judge, not me.

  • 27.
  • At 07:56 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • fj wrote:

Tony Blair is probably right: "when people stand up and fight, people will come after you". The important thing, therefore, is to pick your figths carefully. It's one thing to have brainwashed terrorists come after you; quite another for ordinary folk to start contemplate violent action in a desperate attempt to get your attention.

Does Blair still understand the fears and desires of ordinary folk?

  • 28.
  • At 08:03 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • PW wrote:

Mr Blair's answer to Nick implies he is standing up and fighting. What do I think I see? I see him showing every sign of ignoring the death and destruction being caused in the Lebanese population, and opposing a cease fire for over two weeks as part of his greater 'war on terror'. The 'war on terror' seems to make everything else acceptable? Something like that? Yet this isn't acceptable and nothing that Blair can say will make it so. What must it be like to be part of a government and a party led by a man behaving like this, and holding these views?

  • 29.
  • At 08:04 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Mary Powell wrote:

Very easy for blair to blithly say 'when you stand up and fight people will come after you'. Does he and his family ever travel on the tube or bus in london? how many security vehicles does he have when he saunts around this country pointificating aimlessly? so when someone inflamed by the israeli acts in lebanon and justifiably angry about Britains stance blows himself up in London, it not blair and his family who will be in the firing line. it will be joe public. Blair, you keep blabbing on about making this world a safer place. As we saw last summer, you failed us once with Iraq. and not having learnt from that, you have failed us again with your spineless stance on the humanitarian tragedy israel has caused in lebanon.

  • 30.
  • At 08:44 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Rod Gray wrote:

"when peopls stand up and fight, people will come after you."

Yes, Mr Blair. But the trouble is, they don't come after you. You don't even walk the couple of hundred yards from Downing Street to the Commons. You never go anywhere without extensive expensive protection that we pay for.

Instead, your mistaken policy results in vastly increased risk for the guy who has no option but to use the underground or the bus

  • 31.
  • At 08:49 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Ray B wrote:

Tony Blair has never stood up and fought in his life: he has stood up and delivered fine words, much as Laurence Olivier played Henry V. Mr Blair has had an easy ride, from the moment he and his cohorts hijacked the Labour party with promises of a bright new tomorrow. He was the Napoleon of Animal Farm, Alistair Campbell his Squealer.

Whenever the going has got tough, Mr Blair has beat a hasty retreat. On domestic matters, by his own admission he has never undertaken a public service reform without wishing he had gone further. His foreign adventures have been disasters. He took the decision to invade Iraq only because he was confident it would be a pushover.

And it is not Mr Blair who ‘people will come after’. In Britain the prime minister’s skin is protected by the tightest of security: not he in the front line of terrorism; not he who daily commutes on public transport. In Iraq it is not he doing the fighting: not his life in mortal danger. What brand of courage is that?

On the Middle East crisis, what is puzzling is a deafening silence from the one Cabinet voice that might by now have been raised in support or criticism of Mr Blair’s stance. We have heard from Mr Howells and Mr Straw. What says the Crown Prince?

  • 32.
  • At 08:55 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • K.T. wrote:

I've never agreed with the PM as I do with him on this issue.Isreal should continue until it feels its population are no longer at risk.Europeans have become very anit-semitic & I feel if another BBC employee interviewed T.B. the content of your article would have been very much the same.I feel BBC presenter can be replaced by robots & we would not feel the difference.

..."when people stand up and fight, people will come after you".

Which translates as "when I stand up and fight, people will come after the public"

  • 34.
  • At 09:41 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Trevor Wood wrote:

I read with utter disbelief the comment from the Prime Minister ; "When people stand up and fight, people will come after you." Blair "stands up and fights" all right, but "people" don't come afer him, they attack innocent Londoners on the tube and on buses.

I am ashamed to say that as with his refusal to advocate an immediate ceasefire, our Prime Minister is demonstrating a contempt for human life. He has become an evil man.

  • 35.
  • At 10:02 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Stephen Segal wrote:

James Naughtie seemed last week genuinely surprised that a member of the Egyptian 'oppostion' group should admit to wanting to see Israel wiped out that he asked 3 or 4 times if the spokesman really meant it! - are you equally surprised?

Until BBC comprehends that Israel faces an existential threat, unlike Lebanon or the Palestinians, there will be no proper debate about the future.

If the shelling of civilian positions in order to hit possible terrorists is so acceptable, then why didn't the UK government do that in Northern Ireland? And why do we condemn the practice when its Russia in Chechnya? cWhy are US political allies exempt from charges of humanitarian abuses, and further more, why does the UK stand by and talk them down?

It's good to see the political leader of Britain showing that a "special relationship" with the USA simply means being told what to do. Thatcher , for all her faults, at least was a strong enough person to have influence, rather than simply be influenced.

John Simpson is right - the only long-term achievement of the current actions is greater hatred of the West by Muslims, and increased Islamic Militancy. When we're so damn hypocritical in our foreign policies, is Tony Blair really going to be genuinely surprised when it returns to the UK?


  • 37.
  • At 10:26 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • trish wrote:

At last, some common sense from a member of the Cabinet - well spoken, Jack Straw. He has the courage to say what most of us think - Tony Blair should be listening to the voice of the majority, not just blindly following George Bush ..

  • 38.
  • At 10:39 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Sarbo Sen wrote:

Jack Straw's comments may be, and probably is, nothing more than an attempt to ensure he doesn't lose Blackburn come the next elections.

Sarbo, Calcutta, India

  • 39.
  • At 10:39 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Paul D wrote:

Could it be that the Bush/Blair proposals have emerged from this summit rather than at the G8 - when they could easily have been put forward - because they want to exclude Russia from the process? Russia's good relationships with Syria and Iran, their willingness to talk to Hamas and other Palestinian groups and their even handed approach to the situation may not sit comfortably with the US political establishment, but the fact is that these could be valuable tools in a negotiating process. Even if Bush and Blair believe they are right and are not merely seeking the credit for any solution which may be found, what of the numbers of people who have died or been displaced in the time that elapsed between St. Petersburg and the Washington summit?

  • 40.
  • At 11:05 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • william willis wrote:


Funny how there are no comments following this insipid diatribe. Is this what we are now paying our licence fees for? Tony Blairs official spokesman? Blair's position is yet again putting British lives at risk. You have a responsibility to press the prime minister a little more than you have on this matter. If you don't start asking real questions, don't bother asking any at all.

  • 41.
  • At 11:12 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • D Ewing wrote:

That the US and UK grovel to Israel makes me sick.

Israel is committing acts of terrorism.
It is as simple as that. What they are doing in Lebanon is exactly the same thing as 9/11, exactly the same thing as the London Tube bombings.

The West MUST act and it MUST act now!

  • 42.
  • At 11:24 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Sam Badham wrote:

Tony Blairs statement of 'when you stand up and fight people will come after you' is ironic seeing as the whole point of this is we aren't standing up and fighting thats the problem.

No we are standing buy and watching, our silence and lack of condemnation shows support for these actions. So really what he should of said was 'when you stand around and do nothing other than support the killing of arab civillians people will come after you'.

Blairs arrogance is behond belief. I somtimes wonder whats in this for Blair, theres certainly nothing in it for Britian other than a escalation of the problems of terrorism. So maybe theres somthing in it for him? A directorship in one of the U.S companies being paid to rebuild iraq after he stands down from politics perhaps?

  • 43.
  • At 11:25 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

Straw is more concerned about appealing to the voters of his constituency.

  • 44.
  • At 11:45 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Iain wrote:

"...when people stand up and fight, people will come after you."

How true.

Those most likely to be harmed are inadequately-equipped British troops (another 600 sent to Afghanistan conveniently during the recess) and civilians using the Tube or shot by police in error.

Those least likely to be harmed are the cowards who put others in harms way and shelter in armoured limousines.

Blair is doing no fighting, and none of the Cabinet have military experience, or family serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Conservatives, by contrast, has a number of reservists - one of whom is en route Afghanistan at the moment as a bomb disposal officer. Perhaps if Blair (who mocked the Army Cadet Force at Fettes) or his Cabinet colleagues had experience of warfare, they would be less blood thirsty.

  • 45.
  • At 12:16 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • mr whitworth wrote:

when mr blair said "we got syria out of lebanon" what did he mean?
how did "we" do this?
i always thought it was the car bomb(blamed on syria) that resulted in it's removal from lebanon.

im ashamed to say that after iraq i just dont trust tony any more, and it dismays me that the party i've voted for all my life is getting worse than the tory's on sleaze,not telling the truth and unethical foriegn policies.

  • 46.
  • At 12:37 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Martin Ryan wrote:

Jack Straw has always seemed to me to be a very capable, well-informed and balanced politician. His latest comments only add to that impression. I am quite surprised at his apparant sidelining within the government in the last reshuffle. My only hope is that he can come back to challenge Brown for the leadership. I can think of no one better to lead Britain during a period of world crisis than Straw.

  • 47.
  • At 01:03 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Robert Bartlett wrote:

Why do the British reporters not have the courtesy to stand when the PM or President enters the room at the White House or when asking questions. Others, probably Americans do. It really is bad manners and not at all subservient to do so just an indication of respect for the office they hold.

  • 48.
  • At 01:04 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Sean Kelly wrote:

"when people stand up and fight, people will come after you".

Sadly they dont kill you PM, they will kill the general public.

Nick next cosy chat ask him if the huge bomb killing 40 + ever landed in Scotland.

  • 49.
  • At 01:21 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Paul T Horgan wrote:

Jack Straw's constituency has a lot of Muslim voters.

To hold on to his seat, and stay in Parliament, perhaps a successor to Tony Blair he needs to reflect his voters opinions, opinions which are probably anti-Israel, no matter how much Israel is avoiding collateral damage in its campaign.

Jack Straw as future PM? Stranger things have happened. After all who would have thought it a year before he did that John Major would succed Margaret Thatcher?

  • 50.
  • At 01:37 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Liam wrote:

This seems to be typical Blair, he was warned that invading Iraq would help anti-western terrorist recruitment and make the UK a target. Now he is supporting the Israeli actions that many believe to be war crimes. The comment "when people stand up and fight, people will come after you" shows a terrifying lack of care for the consequences of his support for the American / Israeli axis.
Will this become another of the 'completely unjustified grievances' he can tell Moslems to stop complaining about in his foreign policy?
Is he really so stupid that he does not recognise that this makes the UK even more of a terrorist target, or is his support for Bush so blind that he is happy to join the Palestinians and Lebanese in the dead civilians count?

  • 51.
  • At 01:52 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Siim Vatalin wrote:

Nick Robinsons interview with Tony Blair proofed to be triumphant not only in disclosing Blair's lack of moral consistency, it also pointed out Blair's stubborn public disinterest towards alternative evaluation of the whole conflict.

While Nick Robinson approached the issue with genuinely human concern, Mr. Blair said he "can not accept the whole fraim of the interview." Too bad for him, since we all know where it is going to end - another international PR disaster for Blair's Cabinet.

Oposition against Blair needs to make even less efforts to make its point that Blair is losing his mandate as a Prime Minister for the Country. The reason beeing, however blunt it might sound, that he openly just don't care how his own people, not speaking of the global community, feel about his "slightly" anglo-american imperialist attitudes.

It is ultimate time to read some Chomsky, Mr Blair.

  • 52.
  • At 02:20 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Nick Thornsby wrote:

Lets just hope that this ceasefire does take place because this situation has been pretty stupid just when people thought some stability was arising- as for that split in the cabinet it just seems to me that jack straw is saying just what everybody else is thinking (including tb) but is too scared to say

  • 53.
  • At 04:49 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Basil wrote:

Nick,

I sometimes wonder why states are assumed to be coherent wholes while we all know that they comprise of various, often competing institutions and individuals with clashing agendas. If one official from Israel says it is willing to accept a ceasefire, it does not follow that this view is shared by all others in the Israeli government. Couldn't today's massacre in Qana have been an attempt by the Israeli military to prevent the politicians from accepting a ceasefire deal?

  • 54.
  • At 04:59 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Mike Hinds wrote:

It’s about time there was some dissent within the Cabinet to Tony Blair’s blind and ill judged support of the US line on Israel’s disproportionate response to the capturing of two of its soldiers. The microphone incident has shown just how creepily sycophantic Blair is to Bush and as usual Blair pursues his own interests regardless of the feeling in the country he is supposed to represent. (So after Iraq, what’s new). Perhaps if more members of the Cabinet had the moral courage to challenge him – or better still demand that he goes now before he does even more damage to this countries reputation – we might have some independent policies that reflect Britain’s interest and not those of the US. How do they sleep at night when they see on their TVs the carnage being wrought on women and children in Lebanon and do nothing to press for an instant cease-fire? Meanwhile, whilst more innocents die in Lebanon, Blair socialises with Rupert and his chums in California and Margaret polishes her caravan!

Yes, Tony. "When people stand up and fight, people will come after you."
Perhaps Israel should stop fighting. The way for the Israelis to live in peace is to start making friends with its neighbours. Concessions, not aggressions.

So Tony Blair said, "when people stand up and fight, people will come after you". No, they will come after US - we who travel on the buses and trains. Blair is extremely unlikely ever to be involved in a terrorist attack. I am so disgusted by Blair's abnegation of his leadership responsibilities.

Jack Straw is worth 50 of Tony Blair - Straw at least shows signs of having a personal moral compass.

You don't seem to like having comments on your blog, Nick.

  • 58.
  • At 08:58 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • RSH wrote:

Interesting that Mr Blair's "people will come after you" comment has been cut from the web version of the interview. Why would that be?


  • 59.
  • At 10:43 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • nyrone wrote:

Did you ask him if he has met any of the parents who have had to scrape their children off their windows in Lebanon?

Tony Blair is a self-delusional gangster who leap-frogs the subject with beautiful and articulate words, that are few removed from the rest of us mere mortals that see Israel taking a country back 30 years because of an extremist faction within that country that kidnapped some soldiers.

I'm not defending Hizbullah for a moment, but Mr Blair has ZERO credibility. This is the same as 7/7 and yet he is such a coward that he wont even shift from his masters position. How on earth did we elect this guy?

Mr Blair, if the BNP fired a missle into France, would it then be acceptable for France to bomb all he women, children, hospitals and power plants in the UK as retaliation? Didn't think so.

Nick, having conducted an interview with him, do you feel he genuinely believies what he says?

  • 60.
  • At 09:48 AM on 31 Jul 2006,
  • Simon McKeown wrote:

Nick, You report that Blair said "when people stand up and fight, people will come after you". What does this mean?

  • 61.
  • At 10:58 PM on 01 Aug 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

Robert Bartlett, the answer to your question is that British reporters are British and, thank God, have a healthy disregard of pompous politicians, who are already sufficiently self-regarding and hubristic to destroy entire civilisations (sic) without us feeding their pre-pubescent egos.

  • 62.
  • At 11:49 AM on 02 Aug 2006,
  • nadim wrote:

The sooner Balir goes , the better will be the lifes of british people. Why does UK have to support US! I mean we have nuclear weapons and a good economy and can defend our nation. Why support US?

  • 63.
  • At 03:46 PM on 02 Aug 2006,
  • X XXX wrote:

Sounds like Nick has been got at. Just as everybody else is jumping off the TB bandwagon (& calling in the favours), Nick seems to trying to bask in some perverse reflect "glory". Makes me want to vomit.

  • 64.
  • At 03:51 PM on 02 Aug 2006,
  • Chris Dare wrote:

Any ceasefire will simply allow the terrorists to re-arm and re-group. Then they will simply continue to attack Israel who they want to "wipe off the face of the Earth" The do-gooder peaceniks who want a cease-fire are obviously so stupid not to realise this fact that they shouldn't be allowed the right of "free speech" when they so demonstrably don't have a clue what they're talking about.

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