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The New Leader of the Free World
by Brian Christensen Marievej, Svendborg, Denmark
February 13, 2004

For Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in Great Britain, recent weeks have been filled with politically charged events, from fierce debates in The House of Commons and face to face encounters with committees, to the publication of the Hutton Report on the Governments handling of intelligence related to WMD's in Iraq. This is such a time to assess real leadership and determine whether the government is committed to play by the rules of democracy. In my view, the verdict in Britain is clear - Tony Blair has demonstrated responsible and honorable leadership and his Government can be fully entrusted to act according to the true values and principles of democracy.

You may not agree on the PM's policies or interpretations of the findings in the Hutton Report, but you have to give him credit for his honorable, front line public defence of the Governments position and its extraordinary openess and willingness to answer for its actions. This is leadership - standing by your views, then answering all the questions presented to you and when confronted with the facts, you can readily admit that you were wrong and take responsibility.

Now, travel across the Atlantic to The Leader of The Free World. How does George W. Bush and his Administration compare to the leadership qualities of Tony Blair and the transparency of the British Government and how do the democratic traditions in America fare compared to the free and democratic political climate in Britain? To me, sadly, it looks like a voyage to Mars.

To begin with, the President does not have a popular mandate and during the presidential debates in 2000, Candidate Bush only entered the debates on the condition that the contenders could not ask each other questions -incomprehensible in Britain.

In Britain, Tony Blair doesn´t attend scripted press conferences offering one-liners and refusing to answer questions designated as "trick" questions - no, Tony Blair is a master of the English language, speaking eloquently and authoritativly, often during impromtu sessions with the press, commanding complex issues as well as providing insight into his thoughts and judgements that often reveal a caring and compassionate side.

The Bush administration, unlike the British Government initiating the Hutton inquiry, has acceded only to pressure and will now allow an independent investigation of the intelligence gathering and the handling of intelligence information on Iraq. No apology yet for the Presidents false statements in the State of the Union Speech in 2004 or acceptance of the evidence that the grounds for going to war with Iraq were based on erroneous information.

Furthermore, on an other issue, Tony Blair would certainly never choose not to cooperate with any parliamentary committee on any matter or withhold information about any government policy issue, including energy policy, that is not classified

In Britain, the media is agressive and relentlessly probes into all matters of government not letting any stone unturned. The Government accepts this and would never support legislation that would limit diversity of the media, concentration of media ownership or restrict media access to Government information. However, a Cabinet Minister or any other high ranking government official in Britain committing the serious crime of exposing an intelligence officer to the media would face serious repercussions - the matter would be dealt with swiftly, with grave concern and those responsible for publishing such things would instantly be prosecuted.

There should not be these discrepancies and differences in two democratic societies that are bound together by historic ties and ideals. Unfortunately, this is evidence of the current State of the Union in America. The very foundation of democratic principles and values in America layed by the great men of the American Revolution and years of battles to protect the freedom and properity of all Americans is being undermined and destroyed in an instant by this presidency. Clearly, George W. Bush and his administration has not provided the moral and ethical leadership of Britain the world can admire.

The arrogance and lack of depth and empathy that has become a tademark of this President was evident in the recent Meet the Press interview - no admittance of misleading the public, no apology for the carnage and destruction that has effected so many lives in Iraq and in America and no clues as to why so many people hate him. Therefore, until George W. Bush is removed from the White House, I hereby declare Tony Blair, The New Leader of The Free World.

Posted: February 13, 2004


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