David Ledden: Blair Talks Peace but Walks War as Approval Rating Sinks

British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that he understands “the concerns of the thousands who marched on Saturday.” But, he added, “There are certain situations when you have simply got to say to people: this is what I believe and this is what I think is right.” Exactly what Mr. Blair thinks is right was made all too clear in his insistence on “military action” in Iraq, with or without United Nations endorsement.

2003.02.20

Tony Blair has once again attempted to wrestle the initiative away from the anti-war movement sweeping across Britain.

The Prime Minister stated that he understands “the concerns of the thousands who marched on Saturday.” But, he added, “There are certain situations when you have simply got to say to people: this is what I believe and this is what I think is right.” Exactly what Mr. Blair thinks is right was made all too clear in his insistence on “military action” in Iraq, with or without United Nations endorsement.¹

The Prime Minister’s hardened stance comes as a new poll released today [2003.02.18] indicates that support for his leadership has fallen to its lowest in years.² According to the Guardian / ICM survey, Blair’s approval rating now stands at minus 20, a fall of 62 points in the last 15 months.

Today’s poll also showed that Tony Blair’s hard line on Iraq is at odds with the anti-war sentiment sweeping across Britain. Opposition to the war now stands at 52%, up by 5 points, while support for war is down to 29%

The poll concluded that 1.25 million households in Britain took part in Saturday’s historic Stop The War on Iraq demonstration, contradicting the Prime Minister’s assessment that merely “thousands” had taken part.

The organizers of Saturday’s demonstration (Stop The War Coalition: http://www.stopwar.org.uk ) estimated that 2,000,000 anti-war supporters braved the bitter cold in Hyde Park to voice opposition to Bush and Blair’s plans for war on Iraq. The Metropolitan Police issued a conservative figure nearer to 750,000.


¹Blair stands firm on Iraq, Evening Standard, 18 February 2003, ( http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/3435787?source=Evening%20Standard ).

²Blair’s popularity plummets, Guardian Unlimited, Tuesday February 18, 2003, ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/thewrap/story/0,1188,897987,00.html ).

Author: David Ledden

News Service: TheExperiment

URL: http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1906