The tide of opinion is firmly against former PM Tony Blair at the moment, our survey reveals. 37% of Brits think Blair’s newly-released autobiography is ‘self-serving and dishonest’, compared to just 17% who consider it a ‘frank and honest report of his time in office’.
Blair cancelled his London book signing for autobiography ‘A Journey’ this week, following angry protests at the Dublin signing over his decision to take Britain's troops to Iraq. 55% of the public think that the former PM should apologise for involving Britain in the invasion, but Blair has so far refused to express regret for his decision – and 29% of the population don’t think he should.
The death of David Kelly
Blair’s book has also been criticised for a ‘lack of feeling’ in its treatment of the death of weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly, who was the source for a BBC report on weapons of mass-destruction in Iraq. Over half of the population (52%) believes that a new inquest should be opened into the death of Dr. Kelly, compared to 26% who accept Home Office pathologist Lord Hutton’s verdict of suicide. This corroborates the results of our previous poll on the subject, conducted on August 17th 2010, which showed that 55% think there should be a fresh inquiry into the weapons expert’s death. The same poll showed that 30% of Brits believe Kelly was ‘murdered’.
Another highly-anticipated feature of Blair’s memoirs was his account of the feud with former Chancellor and PM Gordon Brown, who he describes as a ‘disaster’. While almost half of the population (48%) agree with Blair’s judgement of his successor, a further 38% think this is an ‘unfair’ portrayal of Brown’s premiership.
Blair has certainly faced criticism for cashing-in on his own premiership since leaving office, and public opinion is divided on how fair this is. While 45% think that Blair is unfairly ‘profiting off the back of his time in office’, 43% of Brits don’t have a problem with the former PM exploiting his experience for gain, saying ‘there is no reason why he shouldn’t earn all he can’.
More on Tony Blair
The legacy of Tony Blair - Opinion split over former PM legacy in wake of book release and Labour leader contest
Blood money for Blair? - Former PM's book sales donation to Royal British Legion sees heavy criticism on TellYouGov
Commentary John Humphrys asks 'Blair’s largesse: Genuine gift or ‘blood money’?'