ON a famous occasion when a journalist asked Tony Blair a question about his religious beliefs, his press secretary Alistair Campbell intervened bluntly, saying “We don't do God”. Mr Campbell obviously knew the dangers that lurked if Mr Blair began to answer the question.
Mr Campbell is no longer part of the Prime Minister's close entourage so he presumably was not present in the TV studio during the Prime Minister's recorded interview with Michael Parkinson. If the advance reports of last night's Parkinson programme were correct it is clear that left to himself Mr Blair does “do God”, and in a very big way indeed. Asked by Michael Parkinson how he was able to live with his decision to go to war in Iraq, the Prime Minsiter said: “If you have faith about these things then you realise that judgement is made by other people. If you believe in God, it's made by God as well.” Writing before the interview has been shown, I do not know what response Parkinson made, but I know that if I had been doing the interview I would have asked Mr Blair how he could reconcile that statement with the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury was opposed to the invasion of Iraq and refused to say that it was a “just war”. Do the Archbishop and the Prime Minister communicate with different gods?
Frankly, I think that Tony Blair's time in Downing Street must now be very short.
I cannot see how he can survive after he has virtually acknowledged that, like George W Bush, his decisions are influenced by the judgement of higher powers than his political peers.
It is preposterous that this should be so, that Mr Blair has never even hinted at it before, and that he should choose to make the revelation on a programme like Parkinson where he knew he would be given an easy time.