What’s the one question that British novelist John le Carré would have asked Tony Blair, if he had had the chance? John le Carré answers in a recent interview with Democracy Now:
I think I would have asked him one question, perhaps, and I’d have asked it repeatedly. I’d have asked him about his faith, because we were told, when journalists asked about Blair’s faith, the reply was, “We don’t do God here.” Well, of course, he does do God, and he reports that his actions have been put before God and confirmed, as if somehow God has signed a chit for him. I think that the question of somebody’s religious faith is absolutely central to what we think of them, if we are members of the electorate. We have to know. If it is, for example, somebody’s conviction, widely held among Christians in the United States, that the second coming of Christ is not possible ’til the Greater Israel is established, we need to know that. That’s an important political perception. In Blair’s case, I would have asked him that question, and I’d have pressed him on it. I’d have asked him whether God had ever restrained him. I find it very strange that we elect a politician who then claims to serve a higher deity who guides him: “I did what I believe is right.” Well, will you tell us, please, how that relates to the Christian ethic? Do you believe in war first and negotiation afterwards? Exactly how does this work?
The problem with this though, is that Blair never said “we don’t do god here”. Alistair Campbell once said “we don’t do god” as a rebuttal to a journalist who kept on asking ‘one more final question’ – eg “no, we don’t do ministerial cars, no we don’t do god, no we don’t do number 10’s cat, now please go away” etc