"This is what I say to my colleagues in the West: the fact is, the Muslim Brotherhood tried to take the country away from its basic values of hope and progress. The army have intervened, at the will of the people, but in order to take the country to the next stage of its development, which should be democratic, we should be supporting the new government in doing that". - Tony Blair, on Egypt.
You and I aren't struggling to work out what Tony means here - he means, for real, that if an elected government does something that Tony doesn't like, then the army should depose it then shoot or jail its supporters*.
Remember this, because Tony's defence is one of those high comic moments that exposes the nudity of the Emperor. Military coups for democracy exist on an elevated plane of logic alongside such gems of wisdom as Let's drink ourselves sober or Fuck for virginity.
Simply, we're not struggling to grasp what Tony means, because our entire worldview does not depend upon the idea that he is a good and moral man who passionately believes in democracy.
Now, imagine that you're John Rentoul, whose entire belief system actually is premised upon this very idea. The news blows his circuits; he jerks robotically; his eyes swivel maniacally as sparks shoot from his ears and he bellows over and over, Does not compute, Does not compute.
In his original response, our John had proclaimed himself satisfied by Tony's wisdom, because the Egyptian public recently voted in favour of the military government's referendum on a constitution.
And indeed, they did - 98% of them in fact, a result that would've pleased such beloved democrats as Saddam Hussein or Colonel Gadaffi.
Called on this hilarious nonsense by commenters, Rentoul backs up and bitches thusly:
"I have deleted the bit about last week’s referendum in Egypt; apparently
it wasn’t entirely free and fair.
"I don’t pretend to be an expert".
"I don't pretend to be an expert"! "Wasn't entirely free and fair"! We might toy with this phrasing thusly:
I've changed my mind about the Pope - apparently, he's been known to dabble in Catholicism but you know, I don't pretend to be an expert.
All of which appears to overwhelm our John, who then goes on the attack:
"The one thing I could be sure of when I posted this was that the easily
outraged would have a considered alternative to Blair’s position, and so
it turned out: “Whatever he said: the opposite.”
Magic. Let's note that the country's most fervent eulogiser of our former Prime Minister is now reduced to bitching about people who have the temerity to dislike military coups, in order to defend him.
Bonus points are also due for JR's Twitter thread yesterday, which was full of Tweets and Retweets all saying essentially the same thing: Anyone who has a problem with coups and shooting protestors is totally backing the Muslim Brotherhood LOL.
Which is an awesome assertion - like, if you don't think that having an extremely violent military putsch in the UK tomorrow would be a good idea, then you must be some kind of hardline Tory rightist.
Anyway, I note all this just to point out the hilarious levels of bathos to which our John is now reduced, and to assure you all that Tony Blair hasn't suddenly gone insane or anything. He was just like this when he was in charge of the nation's nuclear warheads as well.
Sleep tight, everyone.
*You might quibble that Tony didn't say he advocated shooting protestors, but let us be clear - if you're arguing in favour of the Egyptian military's coup, you are arguing in favour of shooting protestors.