Blair and Save the Children

I write this more in sorrow than anger because I do understand the difficult position Save the Children were put in by the decision by their American branch to give Tony Blair a global legacy award. Indeed I was one of those who signed the petition objecting to the award.

But I am afraid they have resorted to the bureaucratic evasions that usually characterise the utterings of the institutions they so rightly attack.

Justin Forsyth, the chief executive of the UK branch of Save the Children, said he was sorry the award had “upset so many people” – a classic case of a non-apology apology. And he insisted that the award was specifically for actions carried out on economic development in Africa. It was not anything to do with Blair’s wider legacy.

Earlier the organisation’s international chief executive Jasmine Whibread apologised for not consulting staff, but pointedly did not apologise for giving Blair the award.

It seems to me that they should either defend the award or criticise it rather resorting to such verbal tricks. It is so much harder for a body like Save the Children, which is so much on the side of the angels, to condemn politicians and bureaucrats for deceiving us, when they use the same tricks themselves.

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