Attacking Tony Blair through Cherie

Cherie Blair’s comment on suicide bombers seemed to me (and many others) perfectly unobjectionable; and now that it has at long last become quite unacceptable to treat married women as mere appendages of their husbands (however exalted), I can’t believe that people are still saying that she has no right to express her own opinions on whatever subject she likes without being in any way inhibited by the possibility of not following the government’s or party’s line. Most of those murky parts of the media which assailed her (including incidentally The Times) craftily refrained from quoting her actual words: "As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up you are never going to make progress." The Guardian was right to describe this as a "truthful and appropriate response to a question about terrible news". The Times distinguished itself with the front-page banner headline: ‘Cherie Blair’s suicide bomb blunder’, with the sub-heading starting: ‘PM’s wife and Foreign Secretary voice concern for young bombers…’ (19 June 2002). Some of the newspapers and other media will exploit any excuse to attack Cherie Booth, aka Blair, as a means of getting at her husband. Good luck to her! Her only error was to have apologised. She could usefully have responded to the hubbub by saying: ‘That’s my view, and I stand by it, whether the Prime Minister agrees with it or not — and if you want to know whether he does, I suggest that you ask him.’

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