Simon Carr:

The Sketch: A great healer who talks in double negatives

Share
Related Topics

Who is Tony Blair any more? Who is he in the Middle East? Is he anyone? What answers does he have to the three big regional questions?

Those questions are: Have you got any power? Have you got any money? All right, how about rich, powerful friends, then?

He's a bit lacking in those essentials, I fear. No power, no money – and his only friend is George Bush. It's really all down to him. Blair alone. He is the catalyst, the magnetiser, the charismatic Mahatma who brings people of good faith together in a spirit of reconciliation to change the world for the better.

I was once asked to settle the bill at a restaurant and I said I didn't have any money but I had a great idea for a sitcom which they could have. That didn't work either.

Mr Blair appeared at the International Development Committee yesterday and, understandably, he looked a little worn. He's started talking in double negatives. "There isn't any reason why they cannot go ahead." And, "If there was a ceasefire, there'd be no reason not to open the crossings."

And, "The situation is uncertain but unacceptable." By the dynamics of the Middle East, a double negative doesn't produce a positive, it produces another negative. A double negative is a treble negative. It's the region's largest export after bananas.

But whatever Tony is or isn't, he isn't negative. Or do I mean he isn't not negative? I want to say he's positive. But when his positive meets their negative, it turns into a long, articulated nothing.

Thus, he told us: "If you got a process going with real progress then Hamas would be faced with a choice." Which isn't to say anything at all.

But let's be positive with him. As he puts it, "What each side says about the other is essentially true." That's a double positive. And by the regional grammar, entirely negative. Is there any real chance of peace? "We need thesituation to ease."

Granted, that would be a step in the right direction. "Until we get a period of calm, we won't get a chance for sensible dialogue." Patience, then. "We need to show what the benefits are if people have a different attitude." He's put his finger on it there. "Israel could do more to help." We'd all agree with that, or mostly agree. But then again, "Hamas is using the situation to provoke the Israeli government." And many of the rest of us would agree with that. What to do?

This is only a stage in the later career of Blair. His ultimate plan is to reconcile the great religions, and bring them together to make the world a better place. Big job. Let's hope he doesn't fall at this, the first hurdle.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Bid Writer – Energy Markets

£35000 Per Annum DOE: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Com...

Data Analyst (Requirements gathering)

£23000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Data Analyst vacan...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am interested in speaking to Data Migr...

Web Services Developer

£200 - £450 per day: Harrington Starr: Web Services Developer Web Services, WP...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Brazil fans are devastated while watching the first half on Copacabana Beach during the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final match between Brazil and Germany on July 8, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The winner advances to the final at the famed Maracana stadium.  

The response to Brazil's defeat has been a surreal exploration of loss and tragedy

Timothy Kennett
The Daily Prophet newspaper - closer to fact than fiction?  

The response to the new Harry Potter story by the muggle media is fantastically ironic

Anna Leszkiewicz
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil