Controversial former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II this week, sparking outrage from Brits who argued he should be in prison for his involvement in the Iraq War instead.
Blair was knighted in the 2022 New Year Honours list, alongside Covid-19 response officials Chris Whitty and Jonathan Van-Tam. Blair received the Most Noble Order of the Garter – one of the most prestigious royal honours and the highest order of knighthood – and It will be “Sir Tony” after the Queen’s award.
Tony Blair knighthood “an honour”
In a statement, former prime minister Tony Blair said it was “an immense honour” to be knighted.
“I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen. It was a great privilege to serve as Prime Minister and I would like to thank all those who served alongside me in politics, public service and all parts of our society, for their dedication and commitment to our country,” he declared.
In its own statement, the Royal Family said it was “graciously pleased” to knight Blair.
Notably, the BBC, known for its propaganda, although did not hide the story, it did bury it, leading with the nominations for Chris Whittu and Jonathan Van Tam.
Order of the Garter
The order, instituted by Edward III in the 14th Century, was rooted in the idea of medieval chivalry and monarchs surrounded by their most senior aristocratic companions.
The modern criteria, according to Buckingham Palace, is to “honour those who have undertaken public service, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the sovereign personally”.
The Duchess of Cornwall’s new year gets off to a flying start with her appointment as a Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Baroness Amos and former prime minister Tony Blair are also honoured by the Queen. pic.twitter.com/hbk7IzAVld
— Majesty/Joe Little (@MajestyMagazine) December 31, 2021
Brits outraged at the inclusion of a ‘war criminal’
Many Brits, however, were outraged by the announcement, with Blair remaining extremely controversial in the UK due to his involvement in the US and UK invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been likened to the Butcher of Congo a Belgian imperialist savage who literally inherited his name from his actions. King Leopold II of Belgium was brutal in his conquering of Congo killing approximately 10 million Africans.
Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist was kidnapped and detained by the Taliban and expressed her disdain to the decision to knight someone who has so much blood on his hands. She is one of the few people worldwide who witnessed the catastrophic destruction the Blair leadership caused in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Tony Blair knighted for services to imperialism. The man should be in the dock of The Hague. What a shameful day,” tweeted political commentator Liam Young,
While writer and activist Femi Oluwole questioned, “If I help create the next ISIS by destabilising an entire region under false pretences, can I get a knighthood too?”
Another former prime minister, Sir John Major, is among the current members of the Order of the Garter, along with businessman and philanthropist Lord Sainsbury and former MI5 chief, Baroness Manningham-Buller.
Appointments are usually made in April, but they have been brought forward this year.