Across the Table (The hitherto unpublished interviews with Anthony Blair conducted by Polonius Wilberfalse in private at a secret location,)
PW: Welcome to the “den” Mr Blair.
TB: Please call me Tony.
PW: Very well, if you insist. Welcome to the den, Tony.
TB: The pleasure is all mine.
PW: I was almost sure you would say that. Now let’s get down to business.
TB: Fire away.
PW: First question. What made you leave politics in 2007 ?
TB: Well, it is true I resigned as a UK parliamentarian but of course that is not the same as abandoning politics. I am very much a political animal, you know, and like the zebra I should find it virtually impossible to abandon my stripes!
to ne continued . . .
WENDY & TONI
Wendy: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Toni.
Toni: Thank you for inviting me, Wendy.
Wendy: I should like to start by establishing a few facts. First I want us to agree what we both understand by a nuclear deterrent.
Toni: Fire away, Wendy.
Wendy: In general terms, as I understand it, a nuclear
deterrent is a so-called weapons system employing
nuclear warheads. Correct?
Wendy: As to the fire power. Is it agreed that nuclear
warheads, bombs or whatever you care to call them, now have an explosive capacity greater than the atomic bombs used on Japanese cities towards the close of the Second World War?
Toni: I am not a technical expert on these matters, you understand, but there is a range in warhead capacity. At the upper end, the answer to your question is yes.
Wendy: In the case of Britain's Trident system of nuclear armed submarines, it would be accurate to say that
the total fire power is considerably greater than that of the explosive capacity of the atomic bombs to which I have just referred?
Wendy: By how much?
Toni: I can't answer that precisely. The word considerable is appropriate enough.
Wendy: Very well, then. Would you describe the destruction caused by, say, the Hiroshima bomb, as catastrophic?
Toni: I am not sure I would select the word catastrophic. The physical damage was widespread I will agree there.
Wendy: And catastrophic for anyone caught up in it, surely?
Wendy: To return to the present. We agree, then, that what we
have referred to as a deterrent is in fact a weapons system employing extremes in destructive or
Toni: More or less.
Wendy: The emphasis has to be on more rather than less, I would have thought.
Wendy: I shall now be specific. I am referring to the case
here in Britain. The reason for calling this system a deterrent is presumably based on the notion that it
will prevent a military attack upon us? By us, I include British interests of worldwide course.
Wendy: Do you see a distinction between deter and prevent? Take your time to answer.
Toni: I suppose what you are driving at is that to prevent
suggests a definitive state whereas to deter might infer
a delaying of intent?
Wendy: Precisely. The deterrent is no guarantee against
attack by a foe who couldn't care a toss for their
own physical safety. However, what I am saying to you most crucially is the fact that in order for this weapons system to function as a deterrent there has to be intent to use it at some time if the occasion arises. Would you agree?
Wendy: If you were in the position to have to authorize the firing of nuclear warheads would you
be prepared to do so?
Wendy: What is your understanding of the term Mutually Assured Destruction, MAD for short?
Toni: There are states that seek world domination and who might be prepared to take a first strike.
Wendy: Presumably, then, such states would not be deterred by the prospect of MAD?
Toni: Quite possibly.
Wendy: In that case, your deterrence theory falls apart.
Toni: Not quite. The object would be to prevent such states
or countries from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Wendy: A condition which you bring about by military
intervention - as in the case of Quari*?
Wendy I suggest to you that had Quari been in possession of an
effective nuclear arsenal the military invasion of that
country would not have taken place.
Toni: I am unable to comment.
Wendy: You agreed at the commencement of our discussion that you would be prepared to unleash a nuclear attack in
retaliation to a first strike aggressor. You have admitted
to the fact that this would lead to massive destruction and carnage. Would you describe such actions as those of a
Toni: Such questions over simplify the situation.
Wendy: You think so? Isn't it more the case that you are just not prepared to allow a moral or ethical dimension into the debate? I suggest to you that without an effective and abiding moral code to guide mankind's actions, the ability
to produce a nuclear weapon has to be seen as the signing of the death warrant for this planet.
Toni: I have to act and live in the real world.
Wendy: Precisely. The nightmare world you are helping to
construct. Make the most of it, sonny Jim!
Note: *Quari. Iraq backwards, but with a slight adjustment to the spelling in order to conform to the convention of following a "q" with a "u". The pronunciation of this hybrid word should take on some resemblance to Curare, a crude plant alkaloid extract whose pharmacological action is to block neuromuscular activity by competing with the body's acetylcholine at the synapses.
The font for the cover title is appropriately named SMASHED.