There is a strange story in the Guardian this morning that has the headline "Blair called for BAE inquiry to be halted" which has court documents showing secret memos from Blair to the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith effectively ordering the end of the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations. The reason I say it is strange is because apart from the published memos, the news is not news at all. On January 18th 2007, Blair told Parliament,
"[The British public] can already judge for themselves because we have made it clear the reasons why my advice— certainly —was that the investigation would do enormous damage to our relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said that because I believed then, and believe now, that it would do enormous damage to our co-operation on terrorism, and to issues to do with security and the broader middle east—quite apart from the thousands of jobs that would have been lost as a result of the loss of that contract, although that was not the reason why the decision was taken.So what's the revelation here? Blair told Parliament he gave advice, in other words he wrote a memo, that said that investigation should be halted. We've known that "Blair called for [the] BAE inquiry to be halted" nearly a year ago. If you read the memo what you actually see is that Blair was totally consistent on his advice and what he said in Parliament and was already on the record.
I believe that that was right then, and I believe that it is right now. Sometimes, in government, I have to give such advice and take responsibility for acting in the interests of the country as a whole. The Government have to put those views forward. I put them forward then; I believed them to be right then and I believe them to be right now."
Oooooh! That feels weird, I just defended Tony Blair.