UK Politics

An unfashionable view

German magazine Spiegel has an interview (in English) with author Ian McEwan. A few tasters:

SPIEGEL: But isn’t the West providing the best advertisement for terrorist recruiters by being in Iraq and killing Islamic civilians, torturing Muslim prisoners a la Abu Ghraib and spreading pictures of the deeds around the world?

MCEWAN: I don’t think terror needs a breeding ground. I don’t buy the arguments in the Iraq war. What keeps getting forgotten here is that the people committing massacres in Iraq right now belong to al-Qaida. We’re witnessing a civil war that’s taking place in Islam. The most breathtaking statement was the one of al-Qaida claiming responsibility for the London bombings saying it was in return for the massacre in Iraq. But the massacres in Iraq now are being conducted by al-Qaida against Muslims. I also think it’s extraordinary the way in which we get morally selective in our outrages. When there was a rumor that someone at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down the lavatory, the pages in The Guardian almost caught fire with outrage, but only months before the Taliban had set fire to a mosque and destroyed 300 ancient Korans.

…..SPIEGEL: Let’s talk about politics for a few minutes. What do you make of the historic third term of Tony Blair, obviously having weathered all the accusations and standing bigger now than ever?

McEwan: Two months ago, he was the villain. The day after he won the election, the press erupted in a furious, spiteful rage. It was incredible. You would think he’d just been found guilty of child murder. He’d been returned with a reduced majority, which I think was actually a perfectly mature, democratic decision. It was about right. There was no other game in town, there was no other party that could actually reasonably take power. The Tories couldn’t do it. So to have him back with his power diminished in parliament seemed to me to be a pretty good communal decision — at least if you think of democracies as being like people at a séance, with a Ouija board spelling out letters that nobody can quite predict. I take a very unfashionable view of Tony Blair. I think he’s the least bad prime minister we’ve had.

Check out what he has to say about the Feb 15 ‘anti-war’ marches as well.

(Hat Tip: Clive Davis)