Here’s Tony Blair saying we should build bridges with a known white supremacist

Tony Blair and Steve bannon
Fréa Lockley

Former prime minister Tony Blair thinks we should “listen to” and “build bridges” with ultra far-right Steve Bannon. No, really.

It seems that Blair’s not content with continuing to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Because he also thinks we should listen to a known white supremacist and racist.

“Listen to them”

On 15 September, Blair was interviewed for the Economist’s Open Future festival. He brought up criticisms levelled at the Economist for interviewing former Trump advisor and Breitbart executive chair Bannon. But far from challenging this, he said:

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My view is you’ve got to engage with the people who disagree with you. And you’ve got to be prepared to go out and argue your case and listen to them, and build bridges to them.

Perhaps this shouldn’t come as any surprise.

Dialogue can be positive. But building bridges with racists is another matter. And it seems to have become something of a theme for Blair. As The Canary reported, Blair recently met with Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini. Salvini’s also leader of the League, a far-right party which pushes a staunchly anti-immigrant platform. Critics claim his policies are reminiscent of Italy’s fascist past.

Then there’s the Tony Blair Institute For Global Change, which recently struck a £9m deal to advise Saudi Arabia. A country also known for human rights abuses and perpetuating the devastating war in Yemen.

But many people were swift to criticise Blair’s hypocrisy:

War criminal?

Many people can’t and won’t ever forget that Blair also ‘led’ the UK into the invasion of Iraq. The war killed hundreds of thousands of people, and the Chilcot inquiry concluded it was unnecessary. Both the US and the UK knew it could lead to a rise in terrorism – as it did. This is the same man that many think should be prosecuted as a war criminal.

And now he wants to ‘build bridges’ with the far right. So Blair’s shown – yet again – why his wing of the Labour Party is morally bankrupt and needs to just shut up. He’s also shown – yet again – why Labour and this country so desperately need a leader like Corbyn, who has spent a lifetime standing firm against the far right.

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Featured images via Chatham House/Wikimedia and Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

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Fréa Lockley