As a public service, I have transcribed verbatim the interview with Tony Blair on the Today Programme on 16 September. You can read the full text here.
The interview touches on the Government’s draft anti-terrorism legislation, the UN summit, development, Iraq, and Tony Blair’s legacy of reform of public services.
If I have time, I will post soon about the Government’s proposed anti-terrorism laws. In the meantime, I will let the Prime Minister’s words speak for themselves:
let’s be absolutely clear: there will be all sorts of people who say for all sorts of reasons: "look, I understand why the terrorists do it, and you know, you can sympathise with their motivation." Now I happen profoundly to disagree with that, but I am not suggesting that you make that a criminal offence. Er, what I am suggesting should be an offence is somebody who in effect by glorifying is inciting and is saying to people – particularly impressionable people – and we know, look, that this is a modern phenomenon that we have, this extremism based on a perversion of Islam – is in effect saying to impressionable young people: this is something you should do.
I remain unclear what statements the Government wishes to make illegal. Are there statements which are not incitement, which is already illegal, and which are not merely expressing sympathy with a terrorist’s motivation, which Mr Blair does not think should be illegal. Can anyone think of an example of such a statement?