How did Justin Welby’s much publicized Tony Blair toast fail to mention the word “morality”?

“After 9/11, I decided that we had to be with America right now. You know, the whole issue is about the use of chemical, biological weapons, the development of nuclear weapons, etc. We had to take a very strong stance on this. Now, I may have been wrong, but in making these decisions, I had to do what I thought was the right thing.

He added that “after leaving office, and as I get older, I am constantly amazed at how much I don’t know”, quoting one of his heroes, Roy Jenkins, whom he once surprised by staring into the distance just before going on the air for questions. “Roy, what are you thinking?” ” He asked. “I’m just contemplating the vast expanses of my own ignorance,” Jenkins replied.

Overall, the interview was not so much an exchange of views in the manner of Welby’s two previous encounters (with novelist Elif Shafak and psychologist Susan Blackmore). It was more of a question and answer session. The Archbishop asked his polite and thoughtful questions, and Sir Tony answered where he could, and skilfully avoided where he could not.

Even so, some issues seemed cutting edge, such as when Welby, speaking of political decision-making, cited “the war in Iraq contributing in some way to the gutting of the Christian community in Iraq. So many deaths. What’s going on inside you?

Unsurprisingly, Sir Tony walked away from this detail.

As for the long-awaited morality, the word did not arise once. The closest we came in the final moments when the Archbishop asked another vaguely pointed question: “Can anyone in politics admit they got it wrong?” Can they ask for forgiveness? Where do you find forgiveness for guilt? »

Sir Tony had a ready-made answer on the importance of being ready to recognize when you are wrong – and that, according to him, ‘in politics you can do it’.

The real problem with politics, he explains, “is that in a very complex world, people are looking for simplicity”, before adding “the politicians who really should not be trusted are those who stand up and say simple slogans to you. ”

Not that he could ever be charged with that.

Comments are closed.