By a Newsnet reporter
Tony Blair’s endorsement of the anti-independence campaign is a boost for Yes, the SNP has said.
The former Prime Minister, who evokes strong opinions for his role in the UK’s involvement in the illegal invasion of Iraq, has thrown his support behind the anti-independence campaign at an event in London today, marking 20 years since he became the leader of the Labour Party.

Speaking to a think-tank in London, Mr Blair claimed there was a “sense of optimism” about the campaign led by Alistair Darling.

He added: “I think the arguments of the Better Together campaign have got stronger as time has gone on.  We will see.”

However, the SNP has called the intervention by Mr Blair “an embarrassment to the No campaign” and a “big boost” for Yes.

The timing of Mr Blair’s intervention could not have been worse and coincided with news that he and former Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw are to receive warning letters from Sir John Chilcot who is heading an inquiry into the Iraq War.

According to the Independent newspaper, Mr Blair and Mr Straw are to face criticism over their respective roles in the lead-up to the UK joining George Bush in the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Angus Robertson MP, SNP Westminster leader, commented:

“Getting the support of Tony Blair – on the day it is reported he is to receive a warning letter from the Chilcot Inquiry as the architect of the illegal war in Iraq – can only be a huge embarrassment for the No camp.

“Mr Blair has been kept well away from the referendum debate by the No campaign for obvious reasons – until now.  His illegal war in Iraq was a calamity, and an avoidable one at that – and the people of Scotland will not forget it.”

He added: “A Labour government – with the full support of the Tory opposition – taking the country to war on the basis of false pretences, with enormous loss of life, displayed the absolute worst side of the Westminster system.”

Mr Robertson said a Yes vote in September would ensure Scotland avoids future illegal Westminster wars.

The findings of the Chilcot inquiry have been delayed as negotiations take place in order to decide what can be published.

However the SNP MP insisted the findings should be made public before voters in Scotland take part in September’s independence referendum.

He said: “I have already called for the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war to be published as soon as possible – and this should be done before the referendum. We need to get as close as we can to the truth about Tony Blair’s war.

“With less than two months to go until the referendum, there can be no further delay. Before people in Scotland cast their vote in September, they simply deserve the truth about how Westminster and Tony Blair – now a part of the No campaign – misled the country into a disastrous and illegal war.”

In 2011, a Malaysian War Crimes Commission – a tribunal consisting of five judges with judicial and academic backgrounds – reached a unanimous verdict that found George W Bush and Tony Blair guilty of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and genocide as a result of their roles in the Iraq War.

In its declaration, the tribunal said: “The invasion and occupation of Iraq was and is illegal. The reasons given by the US and UK governments for the invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003 have proven to be false.

“Much evidence supports the conclusion that a major motive for the war was to control and dominate the Middle East and its vast reserves of oil as a part of the US drive for global hegemony…

“In pursuit of their agenda of empire, the Bush and Blair governments blatantly ignored the massive opposition to the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarked upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history.”


2014-07-21 20:34

The final nail in the BT coffin.

An endorsement by Mr Blair.
2014-07-21 20:57

A warning letter! Is that it when they should be hauled in front of a UN War Crimes Court!!!
Alien Act
2014-07-21 21:02

I am sure that the people of Scotland will be glad to hear that the man who sent their sons to die in an illegal, contrived war is now refusing to support their right to self determination.

That alone would make me vote Yes.
Ian Brotherhood
2014-07-21 21:02

I did a genuine double-take upon reading that it’s now 20 years since TB became Labour leader.

For two decades this repulsive character has had a prominent role in public life. And for half of that time, in a sane world, he would have been behind bars.

In just two months we get the chance to declare what makes us different from TB and his ilk – and we will surely win even more convincingly with his involvement.
2014-07-22 07:14

Ah! the Grinch is back to tell us what to do.
If ever there was a mistake by BT this is it. The most reviled of men .
2014-07-22 08:15

Just when we all thought that TB had been eradicated,it comes back to remind us that we have to be constantly on guard.
The NT lot are really scraping the bottom of the barrel and must be getting desperate having to resuscitate this particular zombie.
A reminder to Scottish Labour voters that this is what happens to Labour when it has to chase middle England votes in order to seek power at Westminster.
2014-07-22 08:56

Let’s see who is ranked against us. Tory millionaire toffs utterly remote from the real world, the Great British Establishment, Secret services, vested interests, Labour warmongerers, failed Chancellors and Prime Ministers.
Well, don’t they make a motley crew peddling their myth and slander about the place and of course there is always the BBC to rely on – to spit in our face whilst it stretches out its grubby hand for our money.
How sorely deluded we have been for generations to support these rogues.
It’s time.
2014-07-22 13:37

Nothing will happen to Blair.
The UN can survive the rampant hypocrisy of Israel flouting one UN resolution after another, while other nations less well connected can expect armed intervention and regime change on trumped up evidence which wasn’t even convincing at the time.
All this Middle East instability has a common thread of Western hypocrisy and complicity with double standards. If the UN isn’t to go the way of the League of Nations, then I don’t see any option but to go back and impliment these historic UN resolutions. Until that happens, how can any young person raised in the West bank ghetto have any faith in justice?
2014-07-22 13:58

Read the weegingerdug blog. Excellent thought that in an Independent Scotland we could arrest him for war crimes, no Westminster or Whitehall civil servants to hide behind. What a great reason to vote YES!

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