Monday 14 April 2008

Tony Blair continues to avoid the questions

Tony Blair’s office has replied to me (see my 4th April blog Blair in the cathedral and the “universal right to abortion” ).

In my original letter to Mr Blair I asked him if, in the light of his reception into the Catholic church, he would tell us if he now repudiates:

  • voting for abortion up to birth three times
  • personally endorsing his government policy of supplying abortion and birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parental knowledge or consent
  • his government’s commitment to the promotion of abortion on demand as a universal fundamental human right
  • personally championing destructive experiments on human embryos
  • his government introducing legislation which has led to a law which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and dehydrate to death vulnerable patients;

He has refused, point blank, to comment on, still less to repudiate, these positions.

Here is the reply in italics, interspersed with my comments on it:

9th April 2008

Dear Mr Smeaton

Thank you for writing about the important issue of pro-life.

Mr Blair recognises that this is a subject of great concern to many people around the world and on which a variety of deeply held convictions are held.

This kind of statement from a public figure all too often prefaces a letter which does not answer the questions raised.

However the Foundation inevitably has to focus on a limited number of issues, especially as it develops its thinking and builds up its resources.

I didn’t write to Mr Blair’s Foundation or to Mr Blair about his Foundation. I wrote to Mr Blair, at his office, to ask him whether he repudiates his anti-life record in parliament and government.

It plans to concentrate initially on the following four areas: how the different faiths might work more closely together to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals;

I did ask Mr Blair about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), specifically how the Labour government under his premiership (and under his successor) interprets the MDGs to include a right to abortion. Why can’t Mr Blair comment on that aspect of the MDGs, if the MDGs is one of the focuses of his Foundation?

educational projects, especially producing good material for school children here and abroad; an annual course at Yale University on faith and globalisation, with links to other institutions;

Can Mr Blair tell us whether this educational material and his course will teach students that almost all world religions not only recognise the intrinsic value and sanctity of human life but condemn, in general, abortion and euthanasia?

and support for The Co-Exist Foundation's plans to establish Abraham House, a meeting place for the Abrahamic faiths in central London. This means that, at the moment, the Foundation will not be able to address the issue of pro-life, weighty though it is.

Again, I didn’t ask the Foundation to address pro-life issues – I asked Mr Blair to address them.

Nor, I am afraid, will Mr Blair be able to enter into correspondence on his personal beliefs on this or indeed other issues.

I did not ask Mr Blair to enter into correspondence on his personal beliefs. I asked him, a public figure, about his public record on matters of current public policy – under which hundreds of thousands of unborn British people, and unborn people in developing countries, are killed every year. As I have mentioned before, as a Catholic myself, I do not believe that public figures can be allowed to protect themselves from public scrutiny simply by being received into the Catholic church.

I am very sorry to have to send you what you will probably find a disappointing reply

Yes, no reply at all is pretty disappointing.

but I hope that the above explains the reasons for it.

The letter singularly fails to explain the reasons for such a non-reply.